Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Stories Developing Next 2 the Tracks #5

Lately, I have encountered a lot of people who claim to be atheist and who reject the very idea of God or even a higher power. Many of these people have had very difficult religious experiences growing up so their idea of God is very different than mine. To be honest, I don't believe in the God that was presented to them either. What I find is that it is very difficult for these people to reframe God or to think of God in a different way than what was taught to them and what was used to control and even abuse them in some cases. I believe that we are called to be part of the healing process in these situations and not just try to convince them of something different. Healing comes from within and as people heal they can begin to think about things differently. While people are hurt, it is very difficult, if possible at all to convince them of a different reality with arguments. The model of evangelism we have encountered in the Age of Reason has been to convince people of God instead of loving people to God. Doing evangelism this way is difficult because we don't receive instant gratification and often don't ever see the results of our effort, but in my experience it has been the most effective way to help someone know God's love and grace. As we celebrate Advent and soon, Christmas, let's prepare a place for God by loving those around us in the best ways that we know how.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

indie bands and indie churches

Lots of cool things seem to happen in Deming, NM. One time when we played there we met these two guys. We were talking music with them and one of them was a musician. We were asking them what they liked and they were saying that "indie" music was where it's at. That word can mean so many different things we asked them to say more about it. The general idea that was communicated is that "indie" bands don't sell out or compromise their art. I think this is something that is changing. More and more people seem to appreciate self-expression over quality or popularity. This is a tension for most bands if not all of them, to express themselves and create art and find a way for that art to be popular. The diversity of the world is making it possible for a niche artist to reach a niche audience. Popular music is getting less and less popular as people are finding the things that really move them, or even more important, people are supporting artists that they have a relationship with. There are plenty of mainstream bands, just like there are plenty of mainstream churches. Perhaps the culture is lending itself to "indie" churches right now as well. Maybe the focus of a band shouldn't be to be popular or mainstream, but to express themselves in a way that connects with people though the art and through relationships. The same is true of churches, mainstream churches can connect with or start what can be called "emerging churches." This kind of church is missional, relational and incarnational. It will look completely different depending on the people that make it up and the talents they share as well as the community it exists within. These churches are popping up with increasing frequency all over the country and the world. The connection of the mainstream and the indie may be the key to the future of the church as well as the future of the music industry.