I have a love/hate relationship with Christian subculture. I grew up in a little bubble that is known as a “small town” where church and social life were one and the same. Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t change my upbringing for anything, but I’ve noticed a couple of fallacies as I’ve gotten older. For instance, I speak Christianese very well. I was saved at the age of 13, I wrote devotionals through middle school and high school, and the Spirit is a part of the Trinity. That’s all good and well, until I start talking with people who aren’t Christian or raised in the subculture of Christianity.
What really irks me is the way Christians have decided to alienate themselves via social media. Instead of YouTube, there’s GodTube. There’s an alternative to Twitter and Facebook (but I don’t remember their names… just that I don’t like them) and let’s not forget Christian radio and Christian literature. I have read my fair share of Karen Kingsbury and listened to quite a bit of Christian radio, but there are a couple of things I don’t like.
Christian literature, especially fiction, can be incredibly cheesey. The Gospel is lined out perfectly within the pages during some unrealistic conversation where someone’s heart is breaking and someone else magically has all the answers. That’s not real life! Not even close! The “Christian” novels I’ve enjoyed are usually set in a historical time/place where the history is the story, and the “good news of Jesus” is not as unrealistic. (I love the Zion Covenant by Brock and Bodie Thoene…. WWII and undermining Hitler fill the pages. It’s WONDERFUL!!!)
And then there is the music industry. Christian music, for the most part, has it’s own sound. The lyrics are rarely deep and talk about how great God is and how life with Him is wonderful, etc. Yeah, I don’t buy that. Life isn’t 100% perfect with or without Christ. With Christ, I’ve experienced a life of adventure and I have to live on faith, but it’s not really that “song worthy” in Christian music. There are songs based on verses in the Bible, and I enjoy some of those… but if I have to hear one more unrealistic song about life with Christ, I might just give up and listen to the horrid pop station. (I don’t like the sound of most “pop” music…. just like I don’t like country much….) I have discovered a couple of bands that are a little more legit in how they portray life. For instance, Barlow Girl has a song that mentions not being able to “feel” God… I can totally back that story up! There are times when I can’t “feel” God, but that’s not what destroys my belief in Him. I keep on truckin’.
The reason I bring up this subculture is this: I went to an all church talent/variety show last night. A couple of boys recited the books of the Old Testament (which isn’t too easy. I still don’t know them… *oops*), another kid decided to do a magic trick (it was a bag sewn in a way that you could tell the gospel using the colors on the outside of the bag…. etc. It made me groan, in all honesty, that the “talent” is being able to share the gospel with other church goers, or reciting the books of the Bible (it may have been better had it been in a song… songs are cool!) I will admit I was blown away from one of the seventh graders from the Chinese church. He played a very intricate piece on the piano very well (he may be the next Liberachi or Van Clyburne!) and a high schooler sang a Rachmaninoff aria that wasn’t very easy (wide range needed for that one!) Is the church so narrow minded that the only things we truly appreciate are things within our subculture?
If you remember my last post, I mentioned wanting to reread Crazy Love and I got through the first chapter entitled…. “Stop Praying.” Chan makes the point that we use too many words to commune with God. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is sit and stand in awe of Him. I don’t do that often enough. I put God inside this box where I tell Him what I need, and He’s supposed to give it to me because I asked for it…. Or is He? Maybe the reason I’m so disillusioned by the church isn’t the idea that God calls us to separate ourselves from popular culture, but that He tells us that we are the light of the world, and yet we stay in our own little bubble where everything will be ok, that prayer fixes anything better than super glue and duct tape. Maybe we need to go back to our childhood where we sang “This Little Light of Mine” and review the verse, “Hide it under a bushel? NO! I’m gonna let it shine!”
May God pop our little bubbles that we live in so we can truly be a light to the world around us.