It's something I've thought about vaguely for a while, and until today it has nested in the back of my mind. But now I'm wondering, and so I'm asking--not for an opinion, but for a truth. A Jesus-truth.
Around a year ago I really became fascinated with Johnny Cash. Today I watched "Walk the Line" again and saw it from a whole new angle.
I have also become a huge Kid Rock fan over the past 24 months, and although I consider myself a devout Christian, I find his "in your face", almost-offensive lyrics refreshing somehow.
I think what draws us to these pop culture masterpieces is their originality. Kid Rock prides himself on being a master of mixing hip-hop, southern rock, and blues all into one. And listening to his music, I can tell you it is truly a beautiful collaboration and somehow he makes it work--and he has made it work with his obvious multi-platinum record sales.
If you look up Johnny Cash on Wikipedia it explains that his originality and rebelliousness to the country music genre is what set him apart and put him light years ahead of his competition. He too was creative in his mix: gospel, blues, and western music.
What further intrigues me about Cash is that he considered himself a very devout Christian, yet he was the "biggest sinner of them all." To be so complex and contradictory really confused a lot of people, especially his Christian fans.
And in the movie there is a scene where Johnny goes to his record company asking to design a concert tour around the nation's top penitentiary systems. His record company tells him that this is clearly not going to reach his loyal fans.
"Your fans are church folk, Johnny. Christians. They don't wanna hear you sing to a bunch of murderers and rapists, tryin' to cheer 'em up."
Mr Cash's striking reply was,
"Well, they're not Christians then."
I guess what gets me is that WE are Christians. We are to model Jesus. Jesus loved sinners--murderers and rapists. But in the church today, you don't hear or see anything remotely close to that. No one loves them or hangs out with them or buys them lunch--much less sings to them or tries to cheer them up.
In fact, I would assume it would be easier and much more popular for the Christians to look down at Mr. Cash for doing such a thing.
His lyrics are just so rebellious!
He sings about popping pills, killing people, and getting drunk!
How can such a person consider themselves a Christian??
I heard he started out as a gospel singer--I wonder what happened to him?
Poor guy--he's so strung out on drugs he doesn't know what he wants.
Of course, I wasn't around for Johnny Cash's career and the live gossip that followed. But we are all here for Kid Rock. Also to many people's surprise--he too sings several songs on faith, Jesus, and God. He is a political and social activists and participates in several charities. But I'm sure most of my fellow Christians (I used too as well) can be caught with this kind of opinion:
Kid Rock? He's definitely not a good guy. Have you heard his lyrics?
Didn't he go to jail for drugs and stuff?
I think he is pretty strung out on drugs too..
I have no respect for him.
He is disgusting.
But really, would Jesus gossip like this? Well, Jesus wouldn't gossip. But he would definitely hold the same opinions as us...right?
What about Lady Gaga or Miley Cyrus' new stunt??
Yeah and did you hear about Amanda Bynes?? Oh my gosh, she is totally loosing it. Such a shame too because she was so talented...
So it's okay to make "pity" comments and judgmental thoughts about them because they're famous right?
What about you? How are things on your end?
I heard she's been hanging out with a rough crowd lately..
He might be gay, we better keep him at a close distance.
I pray for them, but gees there's just no changing them. They are total hypocrites!
And I'm the one writing this so you know I'll get slammed!
Who is she to talk? Why does she always think she has the right to preach to us??
Well she obviously can't say anything..she dropped out of school for a year!
I don't trust her beliefs anymore..I heard she works at a bar.
I think we've all wasted too many precious hours lying and covering up our mistakes with cheap Covergirl cosmetics. You see, I am a very black and white person. Tell me what to do and I'll do it, but this question I have seems to have no clear answer--and so I'm asking you to think on it with me. Let's think and pray until the Lord searches our hearts with a solution.
Here's the question:
In my family, (Disclaimer: Obviously I love my family, this is just a thought so don't freak out.) we were raised to keep our sins on the down-low. Yes, we acknowledge that everyone sins and Jesus totally forgives those kinds of things--but at the same time, we really don't want the whole world knowing about our weaknesses...it just gets, well, kind of messy. It's too much to explain.
- Like your father's infidelity for instance. We won't mention that because it was wrong, he knew it was wrong, and so him and your mother worked out amongst themselves and moved on.
- Or your sister went to jail on a crazy party mishap. That's great that your parents got her out immediately and had it expunged from her record, but please don't bring it up ever again--especially in a family setting. We don't need to discuss that.
Part of me agrees with this approach, part of me doesn't.
The Bible teaches me to expose sins and confess them to my prayer warrior friends so I can be healed and set free (James 5:16, Proverbs 28:13, 1 Timothy 5:20.) But when I do that, I get more gossip in return and worried looks from parents, family members, and old teachers. I even got awkward talks from many people who barely knew me or my situation!
On the other hand..if you keep quiet about the whole thing and handle yourself between you and God then everyone avoids the awkward conversation and we all politely disregard the fact that you also are human and you have sin. Because we disregard this fact we can quite confidently turn around and not only judge each other for listening to Lady Gaga's music, but we can join forces together by calling her a "sinful ugly whore who is desperate for attention."
I guess in a perfect world we would follow the Bible and stop judging each other, but we don't live that way--so we sin. And we sin more to cover up our sin. And when people ask us about it we lie about our sin.
It's a lose-lose situation.
I had a wonderful friend once who was THAT honest with himself, his friends, his parents and his church family.
Now we all hate him.
I just don't get it. What are we to do? Save face and be (fake) clean little Christians with good (outward) habits and hobbies, or do we take the Kid Rock-Cash-Cyrus approach and be upfront with everyone about being "troubled but devout Christians."