Re-Creating Manhood

Ever had that one who got away? I mean, did you ever wish you said you loved someone before they left you?

If you’re like me… scratch that… if you’re a human living in the 21st century, and not under a rock, this has probably happened or probably will happen to you if you partake in the glories and the wreckage of the world of dating.

We open our post today looking at a young man who is both re-creating what it means to be a hip-hop artist, and what it means to man up, own your mistakes, and decide to take a different path forward. That man is Jason Derulo, and here is the work of art we will be focusing on for a few minutes. Take a look and listen.

(Even if you don’t like rap videos, close your eyes and listen to the words. It’s a great sample of an Imogen Heap song.)

Powerful.

For me, at least. And any guy who’s got any hopes of marrying a young woman someday soon. And in case you’re thinking of tuning out because you’re happily married… wait just one second. Are you currently in the dog house? Made a decision that affected your family poorly in the last year? Lacking direction in your marriage and your family, or your career, and it’s making things hard w/the woman you love? You might learn a thing or two here as well.

These words may sound proud, but if you listen to the heart you’ll find it’s something inherent in every man… that is, the desire to provide for his beloved. The desire to be exceptional, “when I become a star… I’ll do anything for you!” And these might cut you to the quick, “I know what I did wasn’t clever, but me and you were meant to last forever… so let me in… give me another chance, to really be a man!” Not your man… just A MAN. He has a desire to live up to his calling as a protector, provider, pursuer. Kudos to you, Jason, for boldly proclaiming your desire to live as God’s son.

Jason may not know that he wants to be God’s son, a man of strong character who is told at the end of his days, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Yet that is what he desires. That is what we all desire, whether we know it or not. We try and fill this desire w/many other lesser desires, but they don’t fill. Jason might be trying to fill his desire to connect w/his heavenly father w/a connection w/beautiful women. Probably a safe bet… yet I still hope that he and I might rejoice together some day because he found – to quote Bono – what he was looking for.

Thank you for reading. I welcome your comments, rebuttals, suggestions, etc. Be on the lookout next week for a survey which I humbly ask you to fill out so that I might better serve you by my writing.

Cheers,

Kyle

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3 thoughts on “Re-Creating Manhood

  1. Tripp

    Kyle,

    This is probably a TL;DR situation for everyone else. Sorry!

    Great thoughtful writing as usual. However, I can’t get behind your take on this song because the inherent premise of the whole song is the fact the he got caught cheating on the girl in the first place. It sort of cheapens everything else about the song, and subsequently, trying to find a deeper meaning in it, I think. Sure, sin is sin, but it’s a little tough to make a direct comparison to making a poor financial decision in a marriage, to blatant infidelity. Of course, no one is really above that type of mistake (cheating), but this song seems to be more of an “Oops I got caught; but wait! I promise money and fame are coming. That will make it better right?” Rather than a “I made a grave mistake and damaged our relationship; please forgive me” Most pop rap seems to repeat that message as well: Get yours, no commitments, if she isn’t down someone else will be, etc.

    I do agree with you that we men are on a quest to become MEN, and your characteristics were dead on for what our hearts yearn for. Unfortunately, the hip-hop (especially Top 40 singles) paradigm of masculinity rarely offers a vision for those yearnings. Every now and then it surfaces (Lupe Fiasco, some Kanye and Jay-Z stuff, Common), but mostly it’s the money, power, women mentality.

    I love rap, and I’m always waiting to hear something pseudo-redemptive that’s not from LeCrae, or Trip Lee, so I get what you’re trying to do here. However, with this song, I think your hopes are a little of a bit of a stretch.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    While it is commendable that you are actively interested in personal transformation, I am wondering if YOU actually listened to the words in this song. While I love Jason’s smooth voice and this catchy tune, it is about a man who cheated on his girlfriend, got caught, feels ashamed (that he was caught) and tries to win the jilted woman back by telling her to take him back because “when I become a star we be living so large… Watcha say?” (This is manhood?)

    What do I say?

    I say, as a human AND a woman living in the 21st century, this attitude is frightening and patronizing. Shocking as it might sound to this blogger, most women (even Christian women!) aren’t looking for a financial provider in a partner or for the one who will sweep us off our feet. The relationship God describes in scripture is one of true partnership – he pursues our hearts and together we pursue him.

    The desire to provide for your family might be innate for men, but provision and pursuit do not define manhood – this is a very narrow view. Real men I know are strong enough to take a backseat to their wives careers for a season, they known that partnership is a give a take, they split the responsibilities of the house and raising the children, they don’t try to carry the load on their own.

    Do women want a man who’s got his ish together? Yeah! Buy it’s not so we can be swept off our feet by a knight on a white horse and taken away to a castle when we are provided for lavishly. No, most women, like most men, just aren’t attracted to building a life with people who are not sure of who they are and where they are going.

    Please, let’s stop perpetuating this boyish fairytale where men get to be a knight in shining armor and start strengthening the characteristics of real manhood and true partnership: loyalty, humility and respect.

    Reply
  3. admin

    Tripp,

    Much appreciated brother. I think the song speaks to me in part because of the Imogen Heap laced underneath and also because I often dream of success – not necessarily money – and when I go to church I think the culture that’s been handed down to my leaders teaches me to be ashamed of that desire. That’s where I think we need not decry the yearnings of hearts, simply re-direct them to the better things to yearn after.

    I am woefully ignorant of LeCrae’s or Tadashi’s or any other number of “Christian Rappers” stories, so I don’t know what they came out of… however, I find myself wishing that a Common or a Jay-Z or a Kanye might wake up one day. I wonder if anyone in either of their lives is willing to say, “Hey, what in the world are you thinking cheating?” And they wake up to the fact that they’re not operating in God’s reality. That would be awesome, because they’d probably make some great music.

    I don’t think I stretched it. My main point was kudos to Derulo for being honest about his desire. I do agree that most rapper’s desires are rubbish. However, I have to wonder if he started to get the point on this one, or if his producer’s just saw it as a good music video opportunity. I won’t know until I meet the guy.

    Anonymous,

    I’m not in to boyish fairytales. I appreciate your comment, and your fervor. I think you may have misread me or I may have overstated/understated what I wanted to say. I’ve shortened my blogs of late, so I get a little sloppy from time to time 🙂

    I had hoped to say, as I mention to Tripp, that as humans on this planet and people who have put our Faith in the God who created this glorious ball and us, we ought to live in alignment w/the desires he has put in us. Some of our actions are outworkings of our good desires gone astray. Some, on the other hand, are the good fruit of a proper desire in it’s proper place. Jason surely has some dis-ordered desires, which my friend Steve Garber could speak to you about at length. However, I want to challenge you a bit on the provision and pursuit bits.

    God created Adam first, then Eve. There is an order to that. And you are correct that he gave Eve as a partner… full partner. I would warn against assuming man and woman’s basal desire patterns are interchangeable. I don’t think that’s in line w/how God created us. Back to the order thing. God presented Eve to Adam and Adam said, “Woah, this is awesome.” And then he took a risk and got to “know” Eve, in the Hebrew sense of the word. I’d say that’s pursuit, and he did provide by working the ground. And women are built different… again an order thing. In God’s good wisdom he designed woman to be provided for, at least while she is pregnant. Her emotions run differently, her physiological needs are different, and the man is called to step in an provide by God’s good grace for her and his child’s needs.

    So I’m sorry, in conclusion I have to disagree with you. I don’t think Jason’s a great example, but he is putting a cultural product out there that makes many follow his example, and if I don’t know how to read and respond to his product, and/or make my own… I am not fighting the fight (as a guy – just a little tongue-in-cheek) that my heavenly father has asked me to fight. So I write, as a step in the right direction.

    I hope one day to make stories that are far better than this one, but for now I am a student of the culture around me.

    Thank you both for commenting. I truly appreciate your honesty and boldness in sharpening my thoughts.

    Please reply to the survey next week.

    Cheers,

    Kyle

    Reply

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