Belknap, Bryan

SONG: “What It’s Like” (from the release Whitey Ford Sings the Blues)

THEME: Judge not lest you be judged

SYNOPSIS: The singer tells the stories of a homeless man, a pregnant teen, and a drug user and begs empathy, not judgment.

BACKGROUND: The former front man for House of Pain returns solo with a new lease on life after a heart attack and a conversion to Islam. These influences fill the album with a love for life and positive themes, such as “shining” God’s light. Its songs decry the evils of drugs, violence, and man’s selfishness and pride, but this is a rap album, and much of its good message gets obscured by vulgar language and the glorification of “gangster” life. Kids may believe Everlast is Christian due to Scripture references and his praise of “the Most High”-be sure to educate kids on the differences between Christianity and Islam. (For example, Jesus redeems us vs. being good to please Allah.)

STUDY: WARNING: Play the edited radio single of the song because the album cut contains foul language. Have kids form small groups; then play the song. Ask: What thoughts go through your mind when you see a homeless person? a pregnant teen? a drug addict? How does God see these people? Read aloud Matthew 7:1-5; 1 Corinthians 4:3-5; and 5:12-13. Why do we judge others? According to the song, why shouldn’t we judge? Do Christians have a responsibility to speak out about others’ sins? Does empathy toward a sinner imply that the sin is condoned? Why or why not?

Copyright Group Publishing, Inc. May/Jun 1999

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