Does Eminem Get the Gospel?

In Contemplation, Culture, Desire, Discipleship, Formation, Habits, Purpose and Meaning, Resolution, Surrender by Bizgainey2 Comments

Does Eminem Get the Gospel?

Legend has it that The Times once sent an inquiry to famous authors, asking the question, “What’s wrong with the world today?”

To which G.K. Chesterton responded:

“Dear Sir,

I am.

Yours, G.K. Chesterton.”

Eminem’s 2013 smash hit, Monster, topped the charts in no fewer than twelve countries.

Featuring guest vocalist Rihanna, the heart-thumping rhythms and hard-driving vocals were greeted by worldwide applause and assault.

Many within the Entertainment industry applauded Monster, while many in the Christian community assaulted Monster.

Admittedly, his lyrics are often filled with images that ignore much of what those within the Christian community hold dear.

Yet, his lyrics also remind us of the hunger and thirst that both shape and direct desires.

It’s these desires that cause us to form and fashion a bevy of New Year’s Resolutions every time January rolls around.

Eminem isn’t the first to expose the truth that the human heart is fueled by desire.  Many of the world’s most prolific poets, artists, theologians, and musicians who’ve come before him have as well.

In fact, desire is a topic Jesus often addressed.

In that way (identifying what lurks within), Eminem gets part of the Gospel right.

It’s not all of the Gospel, mind you.

But, it is part of it and it’s a part of the Gospel that many of us wish to ignore!

Let’s Face It, There is a Little Monster in Every One of Us!

For example, Monster tells a powerful tale of what we tend to do with all the junk swirling inside our head:

“. . . I think I’m getting so huge I need a shrink
I’m beginning to lose sleep, one sheep, two sheep
Going cuckoo and cooky as Kool Keith
But I’m actually weirder than you think “

“I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed
Get along with the voices inside of my head”

Listening to the tune, one gets the idea that there are three options regarding what to do with the music that’s always playing inside our head.

  • Embrace it. To embrace the monster is to be aware of it and to accept – or even welcome – it.  Those of us who embrace the monster often say, “It’s just who I am.”  When the monster is something like anger, lust, control, fear, bitterness, etc. this response is one that entraps us personally and harms those around us.
  • Attack it. To attack the monster is to be aware of it and then work hard to figure out how to beat it.  Those of us who attack the monster take a ‘white-knuckle’ approach and fight for victory in our own strength.  This approach often leads to exhaustion and, ultimately, failure.
  • Ignore it. To ignore the monster is to refuse to acknowledge that it exists.  Those of us who ignore the monster tend to blame other people or situations for our problems, rather than scrutinizing what’s going on inside our head.

Mistaken Assumptions

A mistaken assumption when it comes to change – particularly lasting and life-long change – is to believe we possess tools to bring about the change we hope for.

A second mistaken assumption is to believe that the type of change we hope for is exactly the type of change we need.

Rather than scrutinizing these voices inside our head (voices that implicitly confirm what we want to be true of us), we embrace them.

Much like Eminem, we call them our friend!

“I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed
Get along with the voices inside of my head”

Once we embrace the monster, we then draw the unflinching conclusion that there is nothing so wrong with us that a little tweak here and there can’t repair.

When we get into the little-tweak-here-and-there mode, the two assumptions (I know what I need to fix and I am able to fix it) get the fuel they need to lead us to the devastating end of trying to change, yet failing once again.

That’s why I submit a fourth way of responding to the monster inside our head:

  • Awaken to it. To awaken to the monster is to become aware of it and surrender it to Christ and the power of His Spirit.  Those of us who awaken to the monster will engage in an explore-and-discover adventure that will go deep into the inner workings of our heart.   Here, in the deep cavern of our soul, we will finally come in touch with the presence of God’s abiding love and grace in the midst of all the grit and grime.

When we awaken to the mess within and around us, we become less likely to blame others for that mess and more inclined to scrutinize the part we play in making the mess!

When a Fast Becomes a Feast

The question then becomes, “Once awakened to the monster, what are we willing to surrender in order to starve it once and for all?”

You can starve the monster.

But you cannot starve it by willing (or tweaking) your way into a little better version of yourself.

You starve the monster by feasting on the Messiah and focusing on His kingdom.

Next week, we begin our journey into the majestic world of feasting and focusing on Him!

Disrupting to Renew!


To Break Apart and Restore to Life



  1. Wow, that’s so true. I did a lot of white knuckling it before I gave it up. It was a transformation when I finally began to learn more about God than about me.

    1. Hey Judy, Thanks for your comments. God is good. When we focus on Him we begin to notice how beautifully He transforms us. Does for us that which we cannot do for ourselves! Grace and peace!

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