Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Matisyahu - "Youth" - A Young Spiritual Revolutionary's View of The Education System

Matisyahu's new CD - "Youth" is an ecstatic blast of spiritual revolution. While U2 offers the airwaves a positive vibe and social consciousness, Matisyahu takes the same vibe to its ecstatic extreme.

In Romans 11:11, 14, Paul the Apostle proclaims his desire that the salvation of the Gentiles and our spiritual walk in the presence of God would provoke the Jews to jealousy. In a strange turn of events, Matisyahu makes me long for a Shabbat service at Chabad in Washington Square.

To put Matisyahu in context, it is helpful to read his bio from his web page. Matisyahu marries street beat box poetry to his Lubavitch-Hasidic worldview and challenges all of us to take a second look at the role of the poet in memorializing the experiences of our faith communities.

The Central Theme of the Education of the Youth
In the '90's, Kurt Cobain gave voice to a generation of bored and force fed youth, but failed to provide any solutions. In a similar fashion, Matisyahu speaks from the experience of a young vibrant mind thoroughly bored and demoralized by the educational system. As a parent, I reflect upon the poetic raps of "Youth" and have to ponder, "Do I want my children to grows up to be compliant or critical thinkers?".

Compliant or Critical Thinkers
In the title track, Matisyahu describes the effect of an educational system that fails to answer the questions that face adolescents.

storm the halls of vanity
focus your energy
into a laser beam streaming shattered light unites
to pierce between the seams and it seems
tear the world open, peer in the children see
rapid fire for your mind.
half the truth is just a lie,
they rub me the wrong way,
they say their way or fall behind.
seven subjects disconnect,
left out the concept as to why there's a spiritual emptiness,
so the youth them get vexed,
skip class and get wrecked fill with beer and cigarettes
to fill the hole in their chest

Secular education is incapable and thoroughly unequipped to answer the answers that plague the child as he awakens into consciousness in adolescence. Just at this time, the flame is beginning to spark and the seven subjects do not connect with the heart of the child. All this learning, but never the wisdom to answer "why there is a spiritual emptiness".

The first verse speaks also of this budding flame of the mind of the youth...

some of them come
some of them running
some of them looking for fun
some of them looking for a way out of confusion
some of them don't know what to be
some of them don't know where to go
some of them trust their instincts that something's missing from the show
some don't fit society, insides are crying low
some of them teachers squash the flame before it had a chance to grow
some of them embers do glow them charcoal, hushed and low
some of them come with the hunger suppressed, not fed them feel a death blow..

I remember when I was young. I was 100% alienated from society, and the only answer to the inner knowing that "something is missing from the show" came in my identification with the suffering of Christ and the beauty of the cross. Self-sacrificial love as the moral and spiritual principle (the logos) that defines the image of God that cries out to be heard and lived.

Such wisdom, the wisdom of the cross, is not taught in the schools, and how can they? They have no spiritual foundation.

So, how am I teaching my children? Are my children challenged to question and to seek the wisdom of the cross and the death to the ego as the path to true knowledge? Do we teach our children a compliance that doesn't question the moral insanity of the world system? Are they taught to deeply question the individualism and the materialism that drives the world and ends only in suffering?

Our Educational Motto - This is our conclusion.
We will raise our children to be critical thinkers first and foremost and to seek to answer the fundamental questions that plague humanity and that undermine the manifestation of the image of God in the people of God.

The kingdom is a spiritual revolution...
God Bless,
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