Why Do Christian Artists Need To Lie?

Tim Lambesis of As I Lay Dying

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Billboard reports that Timothy Lambesis, lead singer of Grammy-nominated Christian metal band As I Lay Dying, now admits his band faked Christianity to sell records. Lambesis, who became agnostic while in college, says the ruse is not uncommon. “In 12 years of touring with As I Lay Dying, I would say maybe one in 10 Christian bands we toured with were actually Christian bands.”

How did no one notice? I suspect a familiar naïveté helped this to happen. Worship leader Michael Gungor described it in a viral blog post:

We really want the people on the stage…to have it together more than we do. Because we are messed up, we need them to be a sort of savior and hope for us. The result of this is…the people who are really good at pretending that they have it all together…make it to the stage and the book or album cover and the radio stations…

Rather than just being honest about where we are at and what we all struggle with…we look to our gatekeepers to…live morally vicariously for us.”

If you were to ask why Christian artists need to lie, the answer would be because Christians require it. When a believer asks you if you believe too, a plaintive puppy-dog-eyed “please say you do” is always implied.

The What Not To Say section of SuicideIsPreventable.org warns you not to ask questions in a way that indicates which answer you want to hear. It nearly invites dishonesty to say, “You’re not thinking about committing suicide, are you?” You might as well say, “This is what I want to hear. Please don’t tell me anything else, even if it’s true.” These are the things we like Christian artists to say… Continue reading

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Jesus of My Imagination

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The Bible documents well the story of Jesus’ birth, some scant details about him as a pre-teen, and multiple accounts of the last years of his life. But I’ve always wondered about the little details of Jesus’ life that didn’t make it into the Bible.

Sight

I don’t much care whether Jesus was the long-haired white guy seen in most photos. What he did overshadows how he may have looked. But I have this fantasy that whatever Jesus’ physical appearance was when he walked the Earth looked like the facial average of every person who has lived or will ever.

That way Jesus wouldn’t represent any one race or bloodline and no one gets to claim superiority. He would just look like a cross between my face and yours… and your boss’s… and every other face. If we looked at him, we would just instinctively understand that he is connected to us and we him, making us all connected to each other.

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By Your Side: A Devotional

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Sade’s “By Your Side” is my ideal love song.

Even while writing God and the Silent Treatment, I remembered its lyrics are one answer to the forlorn, abandoned questions posed in Jars of Clay’s “Silence.” Often when romance is exaggerated in love songs, it becomes something men and women are incapable of giving. However, the faithful love described in “By Your Side” is very godlike. It doesn’t take a great leap to relate it to scripture.

Sade sidles a dancing elderly couple: "You think I'd leave your side, baby? You know me better than that."

“You think I’d leave your side, baby? You know me better than that.”

Doubting God may be engrained in my analytical nature. I almost always need God to mock my unbelief and cite our history. “Do you really think I’d abandon you? C’mon. You may be unsure about many things, but you know that you at least know that.”

I’m like one of those kids who goes into histrionics whenever a parent leaves their sight. Mom or dad has to come back and calm the kid down: “Have I ever left you? Don’t I always come back? Don’t you know how much I love you?”

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Why I Believe in God

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My grandmother, me, and my grandfather

I had a very close relationship with my grandfather. Raised primarily by my paternal grandparents so my mother could work full time and keep the family off of welfare, when my grandmother died in 1989, it was just Papa and I for years, thick as thieves. All he ever talked about me doing was going to college and getting an education. He came through the Great Depression, poverty, and decades of racism having raised a family of 4 on an 8th grade education. He wanted more than that for me.

My mother and I, similar as we were, were constantly at odds. When I turned 18, all I wanted to do was get away from her household and my small-minded hometown. College was my underground railroad to freedom. I thought I was running away from home, but really I was fleeing directly into a place God had set up for me. Continue reading