Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ragamuffin Confession

For some reason, I've never been into the name "ragamuffin." I know, I know, it's British, and all things British are cool, and Saint Rich Mullins (who should be canonized, really) used it, and there's that worship leader guy with that great blog that I've been meaning to read but never have... And then of course, the Biggie: Brennan Manning's incredible book sits not four feet away from my computer... glaring at me as I type, like I'm the biggest heathen, back-sliden Christian since Amy went secular.

Honestly, it is so lame that I feel so un-Christian, proclaiming that I think Ragamuffin is a corny name. Alas, sometimes a man has to at least be honest with himself, if not with others.

Don't get me wrong, I don't blame people for using it, nor do I think that theeey are corny. Nay, I do not. The symbolism is great. It's just that I've always felt like I just had to like the word because of what it is suppose to represent.

HOWEVER!!!! NO LONGER!!!! HAHA!!!!

After doing a quick little search, I discovered the real meaning of "Ragamuffin," as opposed to the touchy-feely, "Oliver Twist" version. From Wikipedia:

In the 80's, particularly in West London and Brixton, the word took on a new meaning, that of a dangerous, disaffected, black teenage or young adult male. Ragamuffins or 'Raggas' prided themselves on violently attacking white males, often with knives, frequently on the grounds of fictitious claims of racism. Ragamuffins typically dressed in hooded tops, jeans and Nike or Adidas trainers, and listened to electro and early hip hop music.

Touche Salesman!

Man. What a difference huh? It would be like some British author writing a monumental, inspirational grace-centered book and calling it the "W.A.S.P. Gospel," or, the "KKK Gospel."

Still, with or without the Wikipedia definition, I think I'd still not be into the word. Maybe 'cause it has "Muffin" in it, and/or "rag." All I've ever thought of when someone says it is a dirty, pink-hair'd Strawberry Shortcake character... or a half-eaten blueberry muffin on the side of the road, crusted to a scroungy napkin.

Yet another one of my character flaws.

Pray for me, and don't forget to pray for Amy too.

7 comments:

The Cachinnator said...

I'm not into it either. My reasons may be even more cynical than yours. I just got pissed at all the faux poet friends I had who adopted the word as if they were the first to think of it. That turned me off to it. It may not be a great reason, but it's my reason.

Seth Ward said...

Yeah, for a while, it seemed like every guy with a guitar was a Ragamuffin and wore a beret.

I recieved a stiff reprimand from my wife for this post.

Amy said...

what is the Oliver Twist version? I sort of never got it.

Seth Ward said...

Thanks for asking Amy... Sorry.

The Oliver Twist Version goes something like this:

"The term ragamuffin (or raggamuffin) is used to refer to a child clothed in shabby, ill-fitting or dirty clothes. More generally it can also be used as a pejorative term to refer to a ragged, disreputable person. It is also used as a term of endearment - for example, when people refer to children as "little ragamuffins".


Brennan Manning uses the imagery beautifully in his book "A Ragamuffin Gospel." The book sort of changed Rich Mullin's life. Along with many, many others. However, there are a few other books that came before it that were eye-opening in terms of God's Grace. I recommend Chuck Swindol's book for those that are less into the Estrogen-heavy writing of Manning. I love both, but then again, I'm an artist.

Chaotic Hammer said...

Apparently "ragamuffin" is also a cat breed.

MamasBoy said...

Heretic!!!

How dare you bring into disrepute the the savior of Midwesterners, Rich Mullins. Don't you know who died to jolt American musicians back to reality? And I thought you were from Texas/Oklahoma... can New York be this corrupting in such a short period of time?

Go 'git him, FancyPants. You have the backing of all red, white and blue wearing, patriotic Christians who have just had our naive pictures of the word "ragamuffin" shredded and left in the waste bin of dashed ideals.

MB

Kelly said...

Lol! I enjoyed this statement: "Still, with or without the Wikipedia definition, I think I'd still not be into the word. Maybe 'cause it has "Muffin" in it, and/or "rag." All I've ever thought of when someone says it is a dirty, pink-hair'd Strawberry Shortcake character... or a half-eaten blueberry muffin on the side of the road, crusted to a scroungy napkin." Additionally, I do not see ragamuffin as a term of endearment at all. In fact, why don't we mark it obsolete for crying out loud?!