Should Auld Acquaintances Be Forgot...

I decided to look up the verses of Auld Lang Syne and found its wikipedia entry to be quite helpful and it made me all reflective and sniffly and well, it wasnt pretty.

As i look back on this year and all the goods and bads done by/to me. I have realized that sometimes i'm the auld acquaintance that needed to be forgot and sometimes i have auld acquaintances that i need to forget. Either way both are painful.

But without pain, there is no growth, and sometimes there is no healing.

I was reading through Job and then switched to selected parts in Revelation. And i realized that there are some parts of the Bible that aren't meant to be read in winter...cuz they depress me. Well except for Revelation 21. The whole new earth, new life stuff....yeah i like that!

Getting back to pain...

Job was rewarded for his faithfulness, but he had to suffer. But some people suffer and aren't rewarded until they get to sit at the feet of Jesus. And some friendships are broken and never healed. There is all sorts of talk about being reconciled to one another, but if that's not possible, when do we pick up the pieces and move on? Especially when some people use silence as a form of punishment?

Ack, New Years always gets me moody and thoughtful. So anyways, this year sucked, lets hope the next year is better!


Here's to new life and new beginnings!

This past Sunday i taught 2nd and 3rd graders the Christmas story. Using Luke 2:1-20, I tried to get them to see how difficult life was. I tried to show them how far Mary and Joseph had to travel to get to Bethlehem, I tried to get them to see how hard it would've been for pregnant Mary to travel. But with the lure of a Veggie Tales video and coloring books, i lost the battle, and as one kid pointed out "we're not parents!".

And yet....

Afterwards, some kids shared with me their own anxieties about the times. Some have lost allowances. Some have noticed fewer presents. Some have heard their parents fight for the first time. I realized i'd missed my opportunity to make the Christmas story relevant to the kids. While they dont have to make long physical journeys they are making difficult emotional journeys this year. Some of my kids will have to grow up quickly, some have lost their comforts and privileges, and some will be happy with whatever gifts they get under the tree.

And so as we prepare to celebrate the coming of Jesus and the end of Advent. I hope that you have found comfort and friendship during your journeys especially on the difficult paths that some of you have traveled this year.I pray that you will be able to close some difficult chapters and find strength, energy and communities to help you with the new paths that await you in the coming year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


Its always darkest before...

In reading through all the newspapers online today i found myself increasingly depressed. With obvious corruption and depression and bailouts... oh my!

And here in the middle of advent, when i'm forced to reflect on the Christmas story, i have found it to be more relevant than ever before. The Jews were living in tough times. They had been through several revolts. The Romans had invaded, desecrated the temple. Now they had a corrupt and possibly insane ruler over them. A ruler who was not chosen by the Jews, but by the Romans. So on a warm spring night, Joseph loaded up his very pregnant fiancee, onto a donkey and headed to Bethlehem. ( I always found it interesting that the literal translation of Bethlehem is house of bread, but i digress...) Worse, the child wasn't even his. Joseph was facing not only a disruption in his life, but a major life change. Yet still he honored his obligations and headed back to the city of his birth to take part in the census.

Many of us are facing a similar circumstances. Its hard to find hope in the night and in winter its dark around 5pm! Today's reading for my advent devotional is Isaiah 11:1-5 An apt reading for these difficult times. There is a part of me that wonders if what we're experiencing is the hangover after a long time of partying without restrictions. Like the ancient Jews who read this passage, we are looking for a "shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse" who will
" ... will not judge by what His eyes see,
Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;
But with righteousness He will judge the poor,
And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth;
And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked."

For some that shoot is named "Barack". For those who dare call themselves Christians, we believe the shoot was named Jesus. (Christ is a title, not a name)

So where am i going with this... Well i do have hope that the new administration can change things around. But I also know that Barack is human and suffers from all too human limitations. He's just a hell of a lot smarter than me! But I also can settle into my long held belief and hope that God will interact with current events and show us not only the error of our ways, but his love and joy in his creation and moves us all safely into the house of bread.

In the meantime, i'll continue to pray for the idiots that got us here and hopefully the idiots who'll get us out!


Thanks in the darkness....

As someone whose wandered through the bible a few times, mainly to write exegetical papers and impress professors. I originally wanted to do a post about praising in prison, connect the dots to the horrible situation in India, quote a few scriptures and leave you, the reader, encouraged.

Alas, that blog has been written to death, by many much more eloquent writers than I.

Instead i found myself meditating on my journey, through this life and my faith and realized that when times are dark, I'm not Paul, singing in the darkness with chains around my limbs. Nope i'm more like the desperate woman that's seeking Jesus to be healed of her bleeding. I then realized that as americans we are terrible at grieving. We eschew public displays of grief, we want people to get over it. We dont give them time to heal. This is reflected in the way we treat the Passion narratives. We get to Gethsemane and we skip over Jesus' crying, sweating blood in agony, praying with intensity and being frustrated with his disciples. We gloss over all that until he says "not my will, but thine" or head over to John, where there is no Gethsemane.

Americans are "Hope" addicts. We want the sweet, the reassurance that all will be alright, if we just keep living.

A cranky, but wise, old man told me he believed that hope was a substitute for action. As long as we have hope we dont have to do anything. When i read the prison epistles with this bit of wisdom in mind, i realized that Paul and his companions didn't have hope. They fully expected to die. But instead of sitting there, hoping for a change in their circumstances, they sang, they praised, they prayed, they wrote letters home. They acted.

So in these dark times, lets take action by first giving thanks for what the Lord has done, what the Lord will do and what the Lord calls us to do. Then lets get on with the business of doing it, even if the only thing we can do, is give thanks, pray, praise and sing in our prisons.


C hurch is for the pretty popular people

Lately i've been feeling kinda like the odd man out at church. I've bounced around a few churches in a few countries and have seen very few misfits sitting in the pews. When i hop on "evangelical" websites i see beautiful middle class white people. I am none of those adjectives.

I recently started reading a few other blogs and found out that i'm not the only one who's not fitting in! ( you can read the postings here: http://nakedpastor.com/archives/2420 and here: http://chickchaotic.wordpress.com/2008/11/17/futility-and-fugacity-or-future-hope/#more-218) I spent my younger years trying to fit into the box that i thought i should fit in. With age i gave up that futile struggle.


In looking around i noticed that pastors tend to be popular people. They tend to be the locus that the church is wrapped around. While we would like to believe that we picked our pastors based upon their sound doctrine and theology, the reality is that the deciding factors is their likability and public speaking abilities.

So where does this leave the outsiders. The people who arent "pretty". The people who ask hard questions and leave them unanswered. Who dont wear the right clothes or makeup. The people who have addictions/struggles/lost the battle for purity. Where do they go?

Should we attempt to make those people whole and pretty?Or should we love them as they are and move them towards healing and peace? Who should we be choosing to lead us? Or should we be choosing who to lead?

And sometimes, in the middle of the night, i think that we've got it all wrong. That Jesus never intended for the church to be a building that is lead by someone who has the title "pastor"who conceives and implements programs.

That, thought, more than anything else keeps me awake at night...


A prayer...

In light of the recent fires in Santa Barbara and the loss experienced by Westmont College, its faculty and students. The Fogster would like to encourage everyone to take a moment and pray for the victims and for the firefighters...



On Prophets...

So a couple of months ago a "prophet" visited the church. This caused quite a stir. Before i get too far let me confess, that i am a "prophet agnostic". Im not quite sure that i believe in the people who call themselves prophets. But given that this was a church event, i dragged myself away from my computer and books and headed to church.

When i walked in i could definitely sense an energy in the room. It seemed that people were expecting something to happen. I came a bit late and arrived after the 'prophet' had already started speaking. It was something rambling about prophecy and speaking for God. Obviously not memorable, cuz i dont remember what he said. I do remember that he was funny and relaxed. Afterwards he offered to pray for people and had us line up as the Holy Spirit called us to receive our blessings.

This is where my skepticism comes in... I did line up but as i was walking in the long line i noticed a theme in his 'prophecies'. Many centered around concerns of career, home and money. In front of me i noticed two korean women, who kind of reminded me of groupies. They were definitely from a charismatic background and frankly they weirded me out. When i got to the front i noticed his manipulation of my body. He did talk about some things that i could interpret as having to do with my life and circumstances. But then my skepticism got the better of me.

Of course it doesn't help that i have korean friends and love to MST3K televangelists...

So i called a korean buddy up about his thoughts on prophets and prophecy. In korean christian culture there's a history of going to prophets, some think it may be a link with korean culture animist roots. (another blog post?) Its always nice to discuss things with a fellow cynic. One thing i pointed out is that he kinda reminded me of psychics and mentalists. Both of these groups are masters of what's called "cold reading" . I can do this to a degree myself. Anyways so i asked my buddy, what he thought about this prophet and prophecy in general. His answer confirmed my instincts. Be blessed but take it with a grain of salt.

When i was in seminary i remember studying the apocalyptic writings and prophecy. I remember coming to the conclusion that prophecy was not to predict the future or even JC's return, but was instead meant to either correct the church, send it in a new direction, or build the church up. I dont see how wandering prophets do either. Especially ones with vague prophecies on their websites about the downfall of the west. (This is one of the reasons i reject the doctrine of dispensationalism.) Further adding to my skepticism is that they seem to be able to control the Holy Spirit at will. My understanding of scripture is that the Holy Spirit is at the control of God, not man. (if was more caffeinated, i'd post the scriptures to support this contention)

So i guess the question is, "Are these wandering prophets real or just skilled manipulators?" The short answer is "I dont know". But if one these guys blows through town, sure go up for the blessing, but keep your money in your pocket.


President Elect Obama

I voted and by the end of the night another dream was realized and another barrier shattered and i find that in many ways i have nothing to contribute to the dialogue. What more is there to say? All the op-ed pieces and bloggers have beat me to it. All that's left to do at this point in time is to pray. Pray for healing. Pray for wisdom. Pray for direction. Pray that hope and excitement will continue.

So let us take a moment and pray, for the new president and hopefully a new era in our country.




Today as i watched TV i felt like i was being manipulated. In addition my friends from various viewpoints/convictions/unfounded opinions keep sending me forwards/propaganda. As a person/leader of the christian faith, i am tired of trying to be careful about what i say to people. In the end i just feel plain manipulated.

I realized that there are very few people in my circle of friends to whom i can really talk to about how im thinking of of voting. In most all of those cases, im preaching to the choir. We're all writing in Mickey Mouse and refuse to disclose how we truly feel about Prop 8 for fear of being tarred and feathered by our peers on both sides. In addition some of my friends are convinced that the only true christians are republicans. Im a registered independent and moderate. (maybe im not praying hard enough)

I'll be honest. I blame James Dobson and the Moral Majority. If you go onto their website they have handy voter guides. So the faithful can just check their brains at the poll booth. They dont have to be bothered to read the legislation/candidates positions/think about what scripture truly says. Oh no James and his cronies have done all the thinking for you! Just follow their party line and their interpretation/manipulation of scriptures and you can be rest assured of being a good christian. (when did Christians become lemmings who follow a leader just because they have money and a huge following? Saddleback/Crystal Cathedral/Willow Creek anyone?)

Honestly, i dont care who/what you vote for. I just dont like having my faith questioned over my voting choices. No one has the corner how Christians should vote. In many ways those decisions are between you and God. If you are going to vote, be honest with yourself about why you are making those choices. Dont do it because its the right/christian viewpoint. Do it because you have used the brain that God gave you. You read your ballot and did some research. Actually read the other viewpoints, not just the ones that affirm your own position/opinions/leanings.

Finally don't send/repeat/drone back propaganda. I've spent some time in a communist country. I can sniff out propaganda with a 10ft pole. For the most part i ignore/delete/patiently checkout while i appear to be listening. If you want to discuss/engage me with an issue. Lets do it civilly and in a spirit of exploration. The point not being to evangelize me/you to agree that im/you're right. But to explore the candidate/proposition and examine the consequences/fall out/benefits. Lets actually open our bibles and read not just the proof-texts that Dobson and his bunch trots out, but the whole passage. (imagine actually reading scripture, on our own, in whole chapters!!!)

Time and time again i have found that what appeared to be cut and dried and the "christian" way to be just sheer emotional manipulation, especially by the republican/democratic parties. So when you do your research please take the time to find legitimate/independent sources.

"But i'm too busy!" you say. But its being too busy to care that has gotten us into this quagmire in the first place. Isn't it worth it to take the time to think/protect our right to participate in our government?

Finally church is supposed to be a place of sanctuary. Jesus didn't only heal jews, but also gentiles. Need i remind you that he ate with prostitutes, hung out with tax collectors and his best friends were fishermen! So pastors, please respect this sanctity and the intelligence of your parishioners and leave the politics at the door.

Which brings me to my biggest gripe about the Moral Majority and Dobson and others of that ilk. Our churches are in trouble. Christians get divorced at the same rate as the general public. Many in the pews are wounded/abused/scared/in pain. Many of our next generation are leaving their communities of faith. Instead of poring time and money into voter guides, maybe we should instead be focusing on healing/building/restoring our faith communities? Once those are healthy, i have a feeling that churches will truly be "cities on a hill" and hopefully voting guides will be unnecessary/irrelevant.

We've already lost the culture war and if we keep trying to fight this war, we risk losing the faithful. Lets instead show the culture/political establishment the transforming/healing power of Jesus, not the political might of people who use the label Christian.


A Gut Check...

As we draw nearer to the election day i feel more and more like i'm watching a football game. People are democrats or republicans more out of loyalty or because they were raised that way, or because one team is winning. Very rarely do i read in the popular media a well thought out explanation of the differences/advantages/disadvantages of being a republican/democrat.

I see all sorts of commentary on Palin's sexiness and outfits and much made of Barak's Muslim heritage but no real commentary on why these things matter. I also haven't seen an unbiased account on the political history of America and just what was going on during the boom years. I've seen alot of facts spun to prove a point, or to sway a vote, but nothing to show the possible consequences of a policy or a historical view on the fall out from similar measures.

And then today i read a commentary in the NYTimes that cited a behavior scientist that made this statement "...but he does touch on many of the perceptual biases that distort our thinking: our tendency to see data that confirm our prejudices more vividly than data that contradict them; our tendency to overvalue recent events when anticipating future possibilities; our tendency to spin concurring facts into a single causal narrative; our tendency to applaud our own supposed skill in circumstances when we’ve actually benefited from dumb luck."

Granted this piece was on how we as human precipitated the financial crisis through our belief in deregulation. But i think it could easily be applied to politics. We tend to watch/get our news/hang out with people who support our biases. Very rarely do we deeply engage with the people across the aisle much less be honest with ourselves about our prejudices and where they were formed.

So why do you vote a particular way? Let's move beyond the "bible sez" cuz we all know the devil can quote scripture too. Besides I've read biblical arguments on both sides. And historically democrats were christians. Most of the southern democrats switched to the republican party over race. The evangelicals over the issue of abortion. Should we as christians be one issue voters?

I guess what i'm looking for is an engagement/discussion of, "is it your class/race/personal history that has led you to vote one way or another?" Because it is through those things that the lens through which we engage scripture/God/one another is formed.



Joe the Plumber and Spreading the Wealth...

Let me open with a verse from Acts 2:42-47

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

I confess i didn't watch the debate, but instead i watched the follow up news coverage and found myself intrigued by Joe the Plumber. I found some interesting news stories on the guy and watched a clip of the exchange between him and Barak.

I'm not going to argue about who's system is good or taxes being raised. That's a dead horse in my opinion cuz both sides think they're right and can predict the future. Instead im interested in the christian/biblical response to the notion of spreading the wealth around.

Lately i've discovered i can read boring books online and have decided to delve back into re-reading the works of Walter Rauschenbusch. For those of you who dont know, he is the father of the Social Gospel movement and greatly influenced MLK and a few others. Very important theologian of whom you've probably never heard of. But in his book "Christianizing the Social Order" he points out that capitalism is neither good or bad/moral or immoral. Instead its the values that we are taught by the church and school that form the morals that are applied to our business and economic systems. There is a tug of war between the two and they are constantly influencing one another.

Back to Joe, who may not be a plumber... One thing Barak said is that he thinks we should "spread the wealth around" Which brings me to the verse above. Several times in the New Testament we are told that the people in the early church lived in sharing communities. In fact two people were killed for lying and not sharing all the had with the community. (bonus points for verse and names of those people!) The "plumber" replied that being taxed at a higher percentage for making more would be a disincentive for him to pursue wealth. Which of course the republicans jumped on and used ad nauseum in their campaign ad and apparently in the debate.

However in re-reading Rauschenbusch and going through Acts again. I found myself asking some hard questions about Christians, wealth and politics. Questions such as; Should Christians be affiliated with a particular party? (little known/forgotten fact was that in the early 20th century the majority of Christians were democrats, it wasn't until the fall out from the modernist/fundamentalist controversies and the manipulation of the abortion issue that Christians moved to the Republican party). Should Christians be pursuing wealth? If we are people of the book, how come many churches don't encourage/practice the kind of sharing we see in the New Testament?

If anything this election is a call for us to re-examine christian community and our interaction with our political/economic system. Im not arguing for moving socialist, tho i do have moments.(especially considering the blatant corruption in the markets and medical insurance systems...) As a friend pointed out, in the early church that kind of sharing was voluntary. But it does set an example for what should be happening in our churches.



Where have all the Billy Grahams gone?

I was reading a news story about Billy Graham's recent accident and i came upon the realization this election year that there are no strident/representative/very public christian/evangelical voices out there.

It seems that the 20th century was dominated by Mr. Graham and his evangelistic outreaches. Big events where he traversed the world sharing Jesus. But since he's entered his dotage, no one has stepped up to fill the gap. Sure we got our Rick Warrens and Bill Hybels, but they are pastors with laaaarge congregations, not evangelists in the traditional 20th century sense.

Perhaps there's a historian out there with more to add to this observation. At first glance (cuz that's all i have time for right now) it seems to me that this is reflective of a larger shift in the culture. Perhaps, this is reflective of the slow food/locally grown movement and the shift from suburban to urban centers. Perhaps...

Or because i've been buried in books so long i've somehow missed the next big evangelist preacher person...

It does make me wonder who the next "pastor to the president" will be!


Os Guinness is my new hero of the evangelical world!

Apologies for the delay in posting, its been crazy around here!

Moving on!

I was privileged this week to attend a talk given to pastor by Os Guinness. For those of you who may be scratching your heads, he's one of the writers of the Evangelical Manifesto you can read here. What i found most interesting about his talk is that it helped me crystallize alot of what i'd been observing and reflecting about american culture and the church within it. Its always nice to get your observations affirmed by a reputable scholar! I wish i'd been able to take notes! (doh!)

But some points i remember him making are:

That we need to thoughtfully engage the culture. This means looking at the history of the current popular ideas, e.g knowing their autobiography. Then we need to assess their impact on the street level. In order for us to do that we need to have a good sense of our own christian history! (One thing that i have become more and more convinced is the need for churches to teach more than "just the bible". People need to know their history, we need to know the names and deeds of the saints who went before us!!!)

He pointed out that in the 20th century faith went from being solely private to ultra-political. Both of these movements had disastrous results for Christianity in America. One of these results is that america has been led further down the path to secularization making it harder for people of faith to have a voice in the public sphere. He suggested that we make sure to speak into the culture but let them make their choices and yet continue to be a witness to the love of Christ and the Gospel.(a fine balancing act!) I liked his point that we are told to "love our enemies" and most Christians who are members of the "moral majority" and such other groups have demonized their enemies. Where's the Gospel in that?

He also talked about technology and its impact on culture. No one really philosophized on time and shaped how we thought about it. Instead its the invention of the watch and its ever-present ticking that shapes how we think about time. Think about the impact of cell-phones and the internet on the culture and the church?!

He also cautioned against innovation for innovations sake. In America we are blitzed by advertising/consumerism. They are always telling us to seek what's new and different. But what's new and different isn't always what's good and healthy. I'll have to come back to this later and do a whole blog post on it, when i've sorted out just how i feel about this. (Esp since i'm a bit of a gadget freak!)

Finally he pointed out that it's actually good to be a little "behind the times". Because we can see the result/errors/consequences of the philosophical/technological trends and innovations. Europe was heading in a secular direction much longer than the States and yet we have failed as a church to learn from Europe's example. He pointed out that churches in developing countries are failing to learn from our example and shared several illustrative stories.

Speaking of churches in the developing world. As has been noted the shift of power has moved south. Along with this shift has been the emergence of different modernities. What this means is that there is an American/Chinese/French way of looking/thinking/doing. So there is no sense of the need for integration. Instead there is fragmentation. He then asked about how the church and Christians are speaking/demonstrating/interacting with this. There was much more to this point, but i cant remember all the points, but i have a feeling this is something i'll circle back to!

So there's the highlights from the talk. Hopefully i'll be able to get a recording and then i can do a much better interaction with the material. But for now i'm still chewing on the bits of the talk i remember! Perhaps i should finally break down and buy one of his books....?



In reading the NY Times as i am prone to do on a daily basis i ran into a review of Bill Maher's movie Religulous. This caught my eye because i have a good agnostic jewish friend with heavy leanings towards atheism. We are planning to watch this movie together. This could be interesting.

As a person of faith i sometimes, ok, often, find movies like this annoying.They all tend to focus exclusively on Christianity. Mainly in part because they don't have to worry about Christians issuing fatwas (instead we write angry diatribes and boycott the merchandise). I have yet to see a movie like this on Buddhism/Islam/Hinduism/Confucianism, e.g. non-western religious traditions. They also tend to be made/written by smart, angry, disenfranchised middle class white men with a narcissistic streak.

The arguments also tend to be more about shock value rather than deep engagement with the opposite side. "Lets ridicule people of faith and their scriptures, rather then engage them and see what they think about those funny/weird/possibly wrong areas in their scriptures of faith." They also say that those scriptures are outdated. I think this is a cheap shot, esp since as humans we all share in the birthing/eating/breathing/relating/sexuality/dying process. These experiences cut across all human boundaries. Scriptures of all kinds are still read today because it speaks to those common experiences. In a way its nice to know that existential angst existed waaaay back in the day. (see Ecclesiastes and Job)

Finally they are quick to point out the turmoil in the middle east, the crusades and Sarah Palin as proof that religion causes more harm than good. They dont bring up the wee fact millions of people were killed by atheistic regimes(Lenin/Mao/Pol Pot to name a few...). In fact some of the biggest human rights violators are atheistic dictators! (Kim Jong-il anyone? anyone?)

These people ignore that Mahatma Gandhi/Mother Teresa/Martin Luther Kind Jr/Dalai Lama/ to name a few... were all not only people of faith, but leaders in their faith communities. If there is one good thing that can be said about faith is that it forces one out of selfish naval gazing makes one admit the value and worth of those around them, human or not...

So yes I'll go watch the movie. It'll probably engender fierce heated discussion that will get me riled. But unlike my atheistic counterparts, at least i'm willing to take their questions seriously and not ridicule them for their lack of belief in something outside of themselves, be that God/nature/nirvana/Jesus/wood sprites/etc...


Marriage, Christian engagement and the public sphere...

Its that time again, the leaves are turning, the weather is cooling and your obligation is just around the corner. Yup your civic obligation to vote is only a few short weeks away!

As a citizen of the foggy part of CA I'm being bombarded with ads for and against Proposition 8, the Gay Marriage Ban. As an avowed thoughtful evangelical who's spent some time in the academic faith experience, i am getting grilled by my friends on this one. I find myself at a loss for how to respond. It should be easy, yeah or nay! Right?

Yet one look at the google results is enough to scare me from even wanting to enter into the discussion! The rhetoric and the heat! *shudder*

But what also makes this hard for me to talk about is that for its not an issue of saving marriage, but instead an issue of christian dialogue in the public sphere. In France one is married twice, legally and then in the church of their choosing. What makes it dicey is that there is no clear direction in the bible as to what Christians should legislate and why. There are nebulous passages about giving back to Caesar what is his and obeying the laws of the land, but nothing about what laws we should draft and approve.

So I find myself asking,"does this legislation really matter?" Cant marriage be both a legal and a religious ceremony? Should Christians try to legislate out morals on an unbelieving public? I'm not so sure, but I'm willing to at least ponder and engage thoughtfully on this, and when possible engage in thoughtful dialogue, not just game winning.


Pain, Suffering and the CCM...

I'm back! I had a rotten year and now trying to get back into a rhythm, but on to this blog topic!

Lately i've been on a 90's emo rock nostalgia trip. Ahhh the agony and the irony of this life! One song that has struck me time and again is "Its been while" by Staind. As i was reflecting on this, (yes im that kind of geek) i realized that sometime in the late 90's i stopped listening to Christian music. Yeah i had my DC Talk and Audio Adrenaline CD's, but once they stopped playing, i kinda lost interest in Christian Music, after all one can only take so much of Twila Paris!

Upon further reflection i realized that it has much to do with my own maturing faith. I found myself thinking more and more about the theology that was being espoused in much of the music. In addition there seemed to be some skittishness around pain and suffering. (lets be clear, naval gazing without action is not what i'm espousing!) I find this skittishness to be uniquely American, but not biblical! The bible states that we have crosses to bear and following JC is not going to be easy!

In addition as a GenXer i found myself being more and more turned off by what seemed like poser entrances into the music scene. Christian hard rock bands, trying to be hard in sound but not in lyrics. The pain that drives rock music was not there. In the end i walked away. Or rather i started listening more to worship compilations and ignoring the rest of the christian music business. And yet i still feel a twinge of guilt in my evangelical soul...

I guess what i'm looking for and find in secular music, but not so much in Christian music is an honesty about the struggles. An honesty that some of us are not made to be white, middle class and perfect. I have a buddy who struggles with mental illness and is a christian, but whenever he goes to church or hangs out with his christian friends, he feels totally alienated. Where's the music that speaks into that experience?

Eh... i give up, back to reminiscing about my emo days...