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The Bible’s Version of “U Can’t Touch This”

MC Hammer released the album Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em in 1990. MC Hammer’s break through song was U Can’t Touch This. This song reached number one on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs Chart and number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 List. Back in the age of FM Radio, songs from the same album were released months apart. Subsequently, Hammer’s second smash hit Pray reached number one in November of 1990. The success of this album led to three separate awards: Top Singles Artist, Artist of the Year and Artist of the Decade.

If then you have died with Christ to material ways of looking at things and have escaped from the world’s crude and elemental notions and teachings of externalism, why do you live as if you still belong to the world? [Why do you submit to rules and regulations?—such as] – Colossians 2:20

While reading a chapter written by the apostle Paul, I stumbled upon the Bible’s version of You Can’t Touch This. Paul is laying the foundation for Colossians 3 as he wraps up Colossians 2. Apparently, many first century Christians were living double lives. Despite a confession of faith and public baptism, members of the church at Colosse were still acting like they belong to the world. Paul blames this spiritual slide on elemental notions, teachings on externalism and worldly influences.

Do not handle [this], Do not taste [that], Do not even touch [them], 22 Referring to things all of which perish with being used. To do this is to follow human precepts and doctrines, Colossians 2:21-22.

In a letter to a teenager pastor, Paul compares gossip to gangrene spreading through a human body, 2 Timothy 2:17. In this age of social distancing, gossip still acts as a spiritual poison whether you’re wearing a mask or not. However, Paul expands this do not touch list in Colossians 3:5-9. Paul provides a similar list for Christians in Galatia struggling with the same problem, Galatians 5:16-21. If you want to emulate Christ by imitating God, don’t touch the addictions, cravings and desires of your past, Ephesians 5:1-6.

by Jay Mankus

The Days That Music Died

In his prime, Buddy Holly produced some of the most distinctive and influential rock music of the 1950’s.  Inspired by Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly went from playing at a local roller skating rink in Lubbock, Texas to the top of the billboard charts.  Songs like Peggy Sue and That’ll Be The Day led to his stardom until a 1959 plane crash ended his life before reaching his 23rd birthday.  American folk star Don McLean was so touched by this tragedy he wrote the song American Pie in 1971 recounting the day music died in this disaster.

Music was reborn 10 years later on August 1st, 1981 as Music Television first aired in New York City.  As cable television went national in the early 1980’s, the art of music was brought back to life through on stage interviews, behind the scenes programs on upcoming album releases and the creation of music videos.  During my junior high days, I went to a friends every day after school until 5pm so I could be informed on my favorite groups and their new songs.  This was musics second hey day, spawning an entire generation, yet this too would come to pass.

While artists come and go, dying of natural and unnatural causes, the second death of music is more subtle.  Some where in the past 30 years, music has been corrupted by sex appeal.  In an attempt to hold an audiences’ attention, music videos continue to push the envelope, developing more into a 3-4 minute adult film than a music video.  Although must consumers download songs from places like itunes, album covers still exist.  Instead of a pissing contest, female musicians appear to be competing in a beauty pageant, seeing who can reveal more of their body without being accused of pornography.

Yes, music in America is on life support, waiting for the next Buddy Holly to rescue it.  While Super Bowl half time shows will continue, we need a true leader to arise, saying enough is enough with these wardrobe malfunctions.  Doesn’t any artist have some integrity or guts to save lyrics from sexual immorality?  God is waiting, like in the days of Ezekiel, for someone to stand in the gap of morality, Ezekiel 22:30.  In the words of M.C. Hammer, Pray!

by Jay Mankus

song writer of A Simple Confession, 1994

Ahead of Their Time: Kyrie

During the 1980’s, there was a spiritual wind that blew through the lyrics of several groups.  U2 ‘s The Unforgetable Album Fire album featured 7 songs with a biblical message.  Mike and the Mechanics created songs that spoke from their hearts, dealing with real life issues.  Even MC Hammer joined the fray with his hit Pray.  However, one of the most powerful song lyrics of this decade is Kyrie from Mr. Mister‘s album Welcome to the Real World.

As I work my daily 10 hour shift, music from the 80’s often echo throughout the warehouse.  Although the genres change from shift to shift, songs from this decade seem to be ahead of their time.  The title Kyrie is a Greek word which actually refers to a form of prayer, “Lord, have mercy.”   While kyrie if often a spoken prayer, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Anglican churches still sing these words as a part of their mass.

My first observation of Kyrie is why would a secular group write a song which means Lord have mercy.  Did the song writer foresee the error of his generation?  Was the lead singer trying to find forgiveness for something he regretted earlier in life?  Or did the group as a whole become aware of their own sinful and wrecked state, recognizing a need for God’s help?  Regardless of the answer to these questions, one thing is certain, Mr. Mister was comprised of  musicians ahead of their time, not afraid to proclaim Kyrie, Lord have mercy!

by Jay Mankus

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