Monday, January 27, 2014

Did God Watch The Grammy Awards? by Keith Cook

Did God Watch The Grammy Awards? by Keith Cook 

 If you want to know where our culture is going you can listen to our poets. Todays poets express themselves in a variety of songs. They have many outlets to give expression to the life they want to have or abandon, to the injustice they see, or the treasures they want to possess. 

They may sound urban or country, have elaborate acts or simple acoustic sets, but they will perform. They will sing. And the picture they paint with their words and music speaks louder today than ever before. Not only can they write the words and play the notes, but they can also show and tell everyone what they must get from their music. Through YouTube, music videos, Twitter, and Facebook they are broadcasting their opinions, mantras, and messages for all to hear. 

Our poets today are not simply artists, romantics, and dreamers. While many are in the music business as a career to make money, and some are in it to be famous, many are using their fame and music as a political tool. These are promoters of social change, not just movers of heartstrings. 

My wife and I just spent hours watching an awards show that was broadcast live all around the world showcasing American music. Every kind of music was on display. One of my friends was up for an award and we wanted to cheer him on! 

As the night went on, I began to see an alarming trend. Much of the music on display and highlighted was glorifying alternative lifestyles, extreme views of cultural norms, and alarmingly very anti-Christian rhetoric. Toward the end of the show, with great emotion, elaborate staging, glitz and choreography, the viewers were entertained with what was the major message of the night. With a backdrop imitating a cathedral, musicians sang about not being held back by religion and not being led by a book written thousands of years ago. 

At the end of the musical number the “Music Cathedral” became a marriage altar where thirty-four couples were actually led in a marriage ceremony and pronounced married. As the cameras zoomed in on the couples you could see that some were made up of two men getting married, two females getting married, and a few male and female couples. The room exploded with tears and cheers when the cameras zoomed in on the couples. 

While I do not agree with those who do not hold the traditional view of marriage and I do not agree with this award shows or disregard for the sacredness of marriage, I do not doubt their sincerity or think that they should be abused, threatened, live in fear, or be harmed in any way. That is their choice. 

What bothers me the most is that I no longer feel free to share my opinion, or observation with anyone about this without being considered a proponent of hate speech. While some people will tweet or post crass remarks online and make jokes that are not Christlike, I can say very little without being relegated into the narrow minded, backwards, uninformed, out of step bigot, that most Christians are being described as being. 

I could use “stealth” means to not be at risk of cultural deportation. I could boycott my favorite TV network. I could erase all my digital music and close my iTunes music store account. I could start a blog that Google would block from search engines as hate speech and then Apple would have to drop my iPhone app that displays my blog. I could move to the mission field and just forget all the turmoil going on at home. 

While many think our culture, like Rome of old, may be figuratively burning, I believe it is time that my heart begins to burn, not with anger, but with passion to be used in this generation. Here are a few things that I think I can do and you may think about doing as well. Eternity is closer than any of us thinks and now is not the time to let social class, the way someone may dress, their political party, their neighborhood, lifestyle, or hobbies keep us from loving and reaching out to them.

1. What I am hoping I will do is live out my life in love towards everyone, even those who vote different, live different, think different, and express themselves different from me. 

2. I also want to get better at communicating and stating my Biblical beliefs, family values, and moral positions. I need more facts and more understanding of the real issues. No longer can I just have cute religious slogans or ready made answers to questions no one is asking.

3. Also it would be good for me to pray for, support, and join with those trying to minister, work, and influence the media, entertainment, political, educational, and corporate world. These cultural missionaries have such a grand task. We have failed in supporting and helping them. In doing this it is imperative for me to not always try and reinvent the wheel. I can join with others and help them without having to lead or start my own ministry doing the same things. It also does not matter who gets the credit and I can relax and let God do all the P.R. work.

4. Instead of boycotting networks and labels, it might be a good thing if I supported and endorsed those programs, music, media, and agendas that they have that are worth supporting. Far to long Christians have abandoned local issues, industry leadership, and media positions for easy and safe suburban lives. We have left the table and those who are leading, voting, and steering do not like the church, do not trust Christians, fail to see the worth of having us around, and are skeptical of our motives. We need to show up, roll up our sleeves, announce what we can support, and explain what we can not support. We must NEVER disrespect or get angry and act unChristlike. We must NEVER leave the social and cultural arena totally to the devil.

5. It is time that I double my efforts to listen to, mentor, and empower younger leaders, youth workers, and young people who want to live and work for God. It is also time I did the same with youth who do not know Christ. Listening, encouraging, and blessing them would really be a Jesus thing to do.

6. Daily I must think about, pray, engage, long for, and work for the salvation, rededication, re-commitment, discipleship, health, and wellbeing of those in my culture and in my life. Being evangelistic is not a call to not be relational or detached from real people with real needs. Nor should presenting the Gospel be abandoned, but must be prioritized, longed for, and properly and tactfully planned for. 

7. Finally, I must be reminded of the passage that says “do not grow weary doing good.” I can not let the massive task, the short time, the lack of resources, or lack of like-minded co-laborers cause me to slow down in doing all I can in this generation.

Tonight, God did watch the Grammy Awards. He will watch them again next year. He watches every year. He watches everything. He goes to every concert. Has heard all the lyrics of every song. He can take it. He’s a big God. He also loves and desires every new artist and old worn out artist to have His song in their heart. He loves and desires the same thing for you. 

I pray I never forget that Jesus gave his life for everyone and has a place for them in His family.