Monday, January 27, 2014

A Cultural Education

My husband, daughter and I watched part of the Grammy Awards show last night.
Apparently that's more of a controversial decision than I remember it being when I was 20 years younger. Which was probably the last time I watched the Grammy Awards.

We tuned in for a number of reasons -
1) I wanted to hang out with my family and they were not down with watching the Pro-Bowl with me. Sad, but true story - I am the only football fan in our home. :(
2) We have a 16 year old daughter who likes all kinds of music and has introduced us to some different sounds musically over the past few years. Most of which, surprisingly, we like.
3) We wanted to laugh at the ridiculous clothing and style choices of many of the people in attendance. If you watched too, don't tell me you didn't choke on your chips at Pharrell Williams hat selections - you know you did.
4) My husband was enjoying the live Tweet play-by-play of Jon Acuff and Todd Starnes - wit and sarcasm at their finest.
5) There was nothing else on that we could agree on.

Anyway, Pharrell Williams pitiful headgear aside, it was quite an education for me.

Which, as a Christian parent of a Christian teenager in a Christian home, having said education is kind of a necessity if we are to keep up with the culture our kids are exposed to on a regular basis.

We are called to be in the world, not of the world. But if we don't know what the world looks like or appreciates, we are just as easily swayed by its lure as those who don't know the difference.

There was a lot being said today about the show by all the pundits and news outlets and frankly what dismayed me the most about the Monday morning quarterbacking was the opinions of religious and Christian commentators. There was a lot of condemnation and censure of behavior and beliefs being bandied about today.
And not a whole lot of grace to be found.

In fairness, let me say that we tuned in late - I got to see a little bit of the Pro-Bowl before the eye-rolling started - and missed the Beyonce/Jay-Z opening number. I did see a photo or two of it online today and can honestly say that I would have had Mark close his eyes until it was over. That's a pact we have formed to protect our marriage, but that's stuff for another blog post.

We also switched off the tv around 9:30 or so - we saw the semi-Beatles reunion and the girl with the Christmas Story-esque leg lamp skirt win a country award.
I didn't know country musicians wore Christmas lights on their boots, did you?
Anyway, we missed the controversial 'wedding' ceremony.
And that's fine, the Grammys are supposed to be about music, right? 

Listen, here's the point of my whole post, as Christians, we sometimes act as if the world shouldn't act like the world.
We are surprised when they act as if they don't know Jesus.
That they should know better.
Um, they don't.
They don't know Jesus.
They don't know better.

And too much of the time, we stand around pointing fingers and calling them out on behavior that only Jesus has the power to change.
How many times do we try and understand their culture?
How often do we try and see past the labels and clothing and lifestyles and just see people who need Jesus?
Desperately. Need. Jesus.

Too often, we don't.
Because it's safer.
Safer to stay in our Christian bubble, surrounded by the things that make us feel safe in our faith and beliefs.

Jesus didn't call us to be safe.
He called us to be salt. And light.
To be love and truth and real to people who are desperately searching for something real they can hold on to.
You don't have to agree with another person's agenda or belief system to have compassion for them.
And you don't have to hate them either. There's way too much of that going around these days too - we Christians have to stop rising to the occasion.

We live in a world that largely doesn't value what we value.
We're never going to change that if we continue to tune them out, change the channel, rail against their agenda or fail to understand why they make the choices they do.

But it is possible to say, Hey, I don't agree with you, but help me understand you. It is possible to meet them at the point of their need and just BE Jesus to them. Speak truth into their lives, even if they reject it. All we can do is represent Christ well.
He has called us to love the unlovely.
He has called us to defend our faith but love our neighbor in the process.

The next time you tune into a spectacle a la the Grammy Awards, remember the choices you have:
1) you can choose to be educated and appreciate the window you've been given into the world's values or
2) you can change the channel.

But remember who you represent.

"For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)" - Romans 8:7-9

With a Courageous Heart,

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