“This is Man”

“Is our blood brave enough to be spilt for something worth dying for?”

They rap it out, firm and sure, the conviction that the gospel means boys must grow into men.

Spotlights illuminate the two young African-American men. The scene on the steamy stage is projected on two large screens.

They alternate speech. Sometimes they rhythm the words together, voices in sync. They have found both harmony and melody in language. So, this is what is called spoken word?

I have never heard it in this way. One word artist after another coming onto stage. Their poems are not polite nor politic. Their words are eyes that pierce shields and walls, discerning the issues at the root of culture. Their culture. The artists have been many tonight:

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My heart, it swells with pride for their sake. Pride and joy. I love how it is their art form. Not only that, in this world that is increasingly dominated by image, their rhythmic and passionate words offer a welcome pleasure.

The men on the stage still speak. Word follows word, unfolding images in our minds. Their bodies jerk and sway. As if, somehow, they can physically accent what they want their words to embody.

These words…the form, the beauty, it is a fit vessel for truth.

They are not afraid of truth, these youth. Looking out on their peers, each speaks of how lust and porn was offered him as a young boy to grow up on. “When boys teach boys, we all stay on the playground” they speak in perfect unison. They believed that their worth is found inside a girl’s skin, that in her womanhood their manhood would be made full. They were taught to not look for marriage, and the tall one confesses to loving a girl but knowing it would crumple at the “whisper of commitment”, that he was a “wreck of tornado, destroying everything before it settles.” I hear applause. Somewhere in this audience, the same tension exists.

Love, they rap out, is not about lust, not about finding worth. Love is not for boys. Love is for men. Love takes sacrifice. Passionately, they hammer it out for us: blood, sweat, tears, lashed back, bruised hands, an empty tomb: this is Man!

When will our blood be brave enough to be spilt for something worth dying for? The question reverberates in the large room. I long for men to catch that vision.

It is time to stop being sons of Adam, they rap, “and look to the Son of Man.”

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Spoken Word.

Have you heard it? What is your impression? How has it affected you?

The performance I was privileged to attend was part of Legacy Conference 2015. Photos are courtesy of them.

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