GET REAL, FOR REAL!
Ten years ago, I went with a few friends to see P.O.D. in concert. It was amazing. The opening band for P.O.D. was a band I had never heard of, named Project 86. Since then, Project 86 has become one of my most favorite bands. I love rock music, but I especially appreciate a lead singer with a unique voice such as Rage Against the Machine or OurLadyPeace. It never takes more than a moment to recognize the lead vocals of these bands. Well, anyway, I am not writing this week to teach you about great rock music.
I have looked for an opportunity for ten years to see Project 86 in concert again. I have missed them in my area many times because of my travel schedule. But last week, finally, I got to see them.
I went to the local Six Flags theme park for our annual Christian Music extravaganza. Their concert was great. There were only about 60 people at their stage when they performed, and most of them were in their late 20s and early 30s (whereas most of the people in attendance of the event were in their teens, so I figure that their taste in good music is yet underdeveloped.).
Again, I am also not writing to tell you about the concerts that I attend. Trust me, I am going somewhere in this blog, and we will get there! (Lol)
The most interesting part of the day was when Ben Valence and I went to the Christian Merchandise tent just out of curiosity. As I walked the aisles of main-stream books titles, promo tables for large Christian universities, upcoming youth events, and corny t-shirts; I realized that I am way out of touch with mainstream Christianity, Thank God!
While I was extremely repulsed by the nature of all this merchandising silliness, I wondered why any non-Christian would be drawn by this type of Christianity. This literally grieved my heart, because we have become so irrelevant to society. We are known only for what we boycott and we say stupid things like, “If God doesn’t judge America, then He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.” Sorry, but we are under the New Covenant and theologically speaking, that statement is a bunch of crap.
As my thoughts sank in, I realized that as Charismatics we have done the same thing. It is typical of Charismatic events to have product tables filled with Star of David jewelry, bottles of oil, tambourines, shofars and books. We have our own subculture of stuff. While I am not against selling products, I would hope that they are actually enriching people’s spiritual lives. It has always been my goal to only put out books and CDs that truly bring freedom and growth. That is why my website has a store full of these.
I think that at the very foundation of what I am saying is the reality that we, the Church, need to “Get Real”. We are irrelevant because of our trite answers to the world’s painful questions. We are afraid to be open-hearted, honest, and expressive. I know that even in writing this blog I am taking a calculated risk. I have mentioned the name of two “Secular” bands and I used the word “Crap”. These two things alone will cause some people to leave my email list, oh well.
It is time to put our big boy pants on and get real. This is Grown-up talk!
What if we approached people as people? What if we got real? What if we apologized for how people have been treated?
“I am sorry for the mean, judgmental, critical and condemning things that Christians have said. They said that because they are people in pain as well. This is not the heart of God. He loves you. I love you. I am truly sorry for how the Church has hurt you, even if what we said was right, we have said it wrong so many times. Will you please forgive us? Can I give you a hug?”
I know that “being real” can be scary and feels vulnerable, because it is.
The best Christian T-shirt I have ever seen read “You will know they are Christians by their T-shirts.” Unfortunately, that is about the only way to tell sometimes.
How about we get real and get back to, “You will know they are my disciples by their love.” (John 13:35)