DiM | “No Man is an Island” by Tenth Avenue North

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

There has been a lot of movement in the Top 20 Charts. Today we will be taking a look at the #7 song “No Man is an Island” by Tenth Avenue North.

Official Music Video

[youtube http://youtu.be/Zlw3jG2pE8w]

Lyrics (via Tenth Avenue North Website)

NO MAN IS AN ISLAND

I won’t run, I will stay
I’m not leaving you
I know there’s friction here
The struggle makes us new

I wish you never thought you had to go
Wish you never thought you had to leave
Together we can lift each other up
We can build a shelter for the weak

No man is an island, we can be found
No man is an island, let your guard down
You don’t have to fight me, I am for you
We’re not meant to live this life alone

I see fear in your eyes
There’s no safety here
Oh, my friend, let me in
I will share your tears

I wish you never thought you had to go
I wish you never thought you had to leave
We can always lift each other up
We can build a shelter for the weak, come on

No man is an island, we can be found
No man is an island, let your guard down
Please don’t try to fight me, I am for you
We’re not meant to live this life alone

Through trouble, rain, or fire
Let’s reach out to something higher
Ain’t no life outside each other
We are not alone
Through trouble, rain, or fire
Let’s reach out to something higher
Eyes open to one another
We are not alone

No man is alone
Why you try to fight me
We don’t have to do it alone
We don’t have to do it alone
We don’t have to do it alone

Concerns

The song isn’t Christian. It is primarily humanistic with a degree of spirituality. While the song is indeed encouraging, inspiring, and even generally definable as “good”, the lyrics in no way point to Jesus Christ. This song is no more Christian than “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers.

Positive Elements

If we are playing this song on the Christian Radio Station, it must be due to Tenth Avenue North being considered a Christian Band. I have no reason to doubt the members are indeed Christians. While the song does not point to Christ in any way, it can be taken a song of reminder that Christians are all members of the Body of Christ and should therefore not islands unto ourselves. Let’s look at some Scripture that supports that understanding.

Hebrews 10:19-25 (ESV) | The Full Assurance of Faith

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Romans 12 (ESV)

A Living Sacrifice

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Gifts of Grace

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Marks of the True Christian

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Galatians 6:1-10 (ESV)| Bear One Another’s Burdens

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something,when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.

Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Conclusion

This isn’t a Christian song, but as far as songs go in general it’s not bad. This band isn’t a church worship band, nor do they market themselves overtly as Evangelists or pastors or teachers. They are a professional band making a living playing music well and keeping a generally positive message (from a humanistic/moralistic perspective) in their music.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

2 thoughts on “DiM | “No Man is an Island” by Tenth Avenue North

  1. In the song, he’s primarily addressing the church in this song. The body of Christ needs to come together, to BE a body. We need to work together so we can serve Christ as a body, and we need to be a community ourselves, because sometimes as Christians, we like to do things or go through things on our own. I was a huge culprit for this for a while.
    I went through the tough trial of losing a parent at 17 years old. I made the mistake of not reaching out to people. I decided that I WAS an island, and I did isolate myself. I remember when I heard this song I almost cried, because of how hard it hit me that I WAS trying to do things alone, and first of all, it was not Biblical, and second of all, it was not emotionally or mentally healthy.
    Sometimes, it’s a very scary and difficult thing to be vulnerable. You sometimes believe it’s not safe to confess how you feel about something and to confess what you’re going through. However, that’s not the spirit of God, and the writer of the song is trying to tell them this. They’re also trying to say to them, I understand, BUT, the Bible also says, “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” and 1 Corinthians speaks so much about being the body of Christ, and being a community. (Since I took an etymology course in high school, I’ve learned a lot about word origins, and this fact always blows me away. The prefix “Com” is latin for “With; together” and the suffix Unity is latin for “One.” So, community means “Being one together.” No room for any man being an island.) There’s so much more to this song than just simply taking it for face value, and I see the beauty of it, and I am encouraged.
    So while I understand that the song might not directly reference Scripture or reference Jesus, it is still very much a Biblical concept, and an important lesson for all of us to learn. We should definitely use discernment when listening to music, and use critical thinking when we listen to music, but we should also learn not to make mountains out of mole hills.

    Here’s the writer’s video journal based on the song.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story, and for sharing the artist’s background video. The song, when played on its own, doesn’t carry the meaning presented in the background video. As I said in the conclusion, it isn’t a bad song, it just doesn’t present a clear Christian message. The background video engages heavily in the “what if” in very strange ways. We don’t need to play in the “what if” because we have the “It is Written”. Thank you for sharing, and God bless.

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