Recently I attended a weeks worth of meetings in which all the participants were Christians. Before each session, the leader would show a funny video clip or PowerPoint slide to sort of loosen the moment—you know, laughter is the best medicine; it does a body good (wait, that one might belong to milk, my apologies to the homogenized dairy industry). Some were really funny and others were not. I was looking down at some notes on my table when I heard the music start and my skin began to literally crawl.
“Oh, my gosh, Becky. Look at her Bible … it’s so big.” Before I could stop it from happening, I was suddenly quantum leaped back into ninth grade. Only this time, it wasn’t Sir Mix-A-Lot. Instead, I was being subjected to someone’s remake of “Baby Got Back”: Complete with sanctified and redeemed lyrics. The individual tirelessly rapped about how he wanted godly woman with a healthy dose of Bible. Tired imitation gave way to unparalleled annoyance, my anger rose.
What saddened me the most was the fact that people enjoy this type of mimicry. Christians think its neat and creative—taking back the arts!
Often we wonder why no good thing cometh from Nazareth, A.K.A. the Christian ghetto. I think it’s because we are too afraid to try anything that might be misconstrued as “worldly.” So it becomes easier to sit back and watch the creative output of others and then leach on to an inspired idea and drain it till there’s nothing left. What does this say about the God from whom we are given the very power to create? Is He a secondhand hack who enjoys hijacking the hard work of others? Or is He the pinnacle of originality, the first cause of all creative causes?
If we truly believe that we have been endowed with the ability to create, and that God Himself ordained that talent, then why are we ripping off 12-year-old hip-hop tracks?
I’m not talking about doing something different for the sake of being different. We needn’t congregate together and try to become “relevant.” The fact that we exist on this planet and have opinions to share makes us relevant. We need to stop trying to “be worldly” and embrace the concept that we are worldly by nature of being alive in this world. For some of us who haven’t quite gotten it yet, it’s time we get our heads out of the pew and into the classroom, or recording studios or film and art schools.
Some of us are tired imitators because we are afraid of what might come out. What if we don’t correlate to the mainstream evangelical thought of the day? What if we offend those who would seem a tad more liberal than ourselves? What if …what if …? We’ve become so afraid of what could be inside of us, that it is comfortable to vomit out contrived phrases and bumper-sticker quality sound bytes. If God, dwelling in us, is the source of our inspiration, then we need to stop fearing and start vocalizing.
I know you’re out there—the artists, the dancers and writers. Musicians who love their lyrics with as much zeal as the very notes they’re laid against. Be free to communicate what God has given you, the hope, the joy, the frustration of life. Just be true to what He has called you to do—create.
Please … someone do something before “pour some sugar on me” becomes “pour your Spirit on me.”