Monday, August 01, 2011

Michael J. Smith and Christian subculture

Nice post from Jonathan Storment, excerpt (note, the video links are mine):

A friend of mine made an observation that I appreciated. He said that U2 concerts are a bit like parables. There are people smoking weed, and acting like they are just at another rock concert. But for those with ears to hear, they are singing about the gospel over and over again. (At one point Bono prayed the Psalms, and during one chorus tag, he repeated over 20 times “Where were you when they crucified my Lord?” [NOTE: I ADDED THAT VIDEO HERE 5:20FF}

..When have you ever heard a rock band lead Amazing Grace? They are living out the Gospel with shades on.

Toward the end of the concert there was a moment that I found rather insightful. Bono was reminiscing about the people in Nashville who had helped U2 start the (One) Campaign to end world hunger. He talked about a meeting that happened 12 years ago with them in room with Amy Grant and Jars of Clay and…Michael J. Smith. Which is actually not his name.

Michael W. Smith is probably one of the most famous Christian Music artist in the world, and Bono can’t remember the briefing that he got earlier reminding him of correct initials.

I recently read Gabe Lyons’ book, “The Next Christians.”  In it Lyons is pretty hard on the Christian sub-cultures that we have created through the years. He’s gentle and affirming about some of the good that has come out of these ministries but is pretty challenging to that whole approach. He points out that the Western Christian social positions have basically entailed retreating and condemning the broader cultures at large. We have gotten really good at being offended and walling ourselves off from the rest of the world. And then, certain Christians would react to this sepratism and attempt to be relevant. Which typically meant that they would just rip-off popular culture and add Jesus’ name in there somewhere.
..There is an anonymous letter that was written in the 3rd century to a Roman scholar, trying to explain the phenomenon of Christianity. The author explains Jesus followers like this:
“They live in their own countries, but only as aliens. They have a share in everything as citizens, and endure everything as foreigners. Every foreign land is their fatherland, and yet for them every fatherland is a foreign land…They obey the established laws, but in their own lives go far beyond what the laws require. They love all people, and by all people are persecuted. To put it simply: What the soul is in the body, that Christians are to the world.”
I think it’s indicative that the biggest Christian artist that we have, Bono didn’t even really know his name. Now that’s nothing against Smitty, I like his music and he certainly has a gift. But what if our Christian sub-culture didn’t exist? Michael W. Smith would have shared that talent with a bigger world, and yes it might have been harder. He might have had to employ a different strategy, and Bono might just know his name.
I like that this anonymous author ends by saying that Christians are the soul for the world.Maybe that what our Jesus movement is missing these days. Soul. 

full link, The Next Christians and U2

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