Tuesday, August 02, 2005

SpiritSong Surprises

Editors Note: I actually wrote this post on July 7th, after the first day of SpiritSong, a Christian music festival that I went to with my Aunt, Uncle, cousin, and family. I didn’t post it until now due to vacation, lack of Internet access, and, of course, general laziness.)

I have a confession to make.

While I am generally an open minded person, Fundamentalist Christians are not exactly on my A list, (unless of course, unless it’s A as it refers to the posterior of a four legged horse like mammal.) If you ever feel the twisted need to raise my blood pressure or give me an ulcer, simply find a good story about the Christian Right preaching pompously on homosexuality while aggressively ignoring the pervasive heterosexual immorality of our culture, working to raise taxes on the poor (or lower them for the rich), or blandly informing people that senseless personal tragedies (like the death of a child) are part "of God’s plan".

One quick caveat: when I say "fundamentalist" Christian, I do not mean "Conservative" Christian. There are many God-filled people who are on the right side of the fence who are utterly wonderful people, amazing Christians, and who walk very closely with Christ. These people do not fall anywhere in the above critique.)

As I visited SpiritSong this weekend, I was prepared (as I do when I listen to Christian radio), to tune in for the music and mute the message.

My expectations for these A-list Christians were utterly shattered.

Newsboys, a group that I often find theologically repugnant, put on a Spirit-filled show. Their lead singer is a gifted worship leader, and after about a five-song opening set, he gave a sermon of sorts.

I certainly didn’t agree with a great deal of what he said, but he did say a few things that surprised me and made me shoot surprised "Ican’tbelievethatHEjustsaidTHAT" glances at my brother.

He said, "I accepted Jesus, I read God’s word, but I didn’t find the peace that transformed my life. It’s a journey and I’m not there yet. You have to live it and find people a community to support you in order to transform your life."

"To often, we say that we believe in Jesus, go down to the altar, and then continue our lives as if nothing had happened. This is exactly what the enemy of our souls wants us to do; he wants Christians to act like they’ve never been changed. Why is it that we go from city to city, thousands of people accept Christ, and there’s no transformation in that city…You cannot be a Christian by wearing a T-shirt, listening to Christian music, going down front, or going to Christian concerts, Christianity is about community."

"The world doesn’t need more teachers. It needs more fathers for those who don’t have fathers, more mothers for those who don’t have mothers, more brothers and more sisters. We need to love."

There is hope for the church, because if I find myself Amening the lead singer of Newsboys, then anything can happen. I was actually feeling fairly glowing and ecumenical as he prayed to end his sermon

Then they began their next song (to huge audience applause).

Breakfast in Hell.

If the toast is burning,
And the milking is churning,
Captain Crunch is waving farewell.

If the Big One finds you,

Let this song remind you,

That they don’t serve breakfast in Hell.

Oh well. I guess the church, as John Wesley put it, is still journeying "on to perfection".