This week has been a little surreal for us. We kicked off our biggest concert series to date, which had me taking a very uncomfortable stroll though memory lane as I tried to find pictures for a slide presentation. When I got to the 2017-2018 catalogue, there were a few eye rolls and audible groans of frustration and annoyance. It’s crazy to think, while in the thick of it, we honestly thought the Christian music world would be a second home to our eldest children. (I’ve also never been more thankful that Sydney saw through the smoke and mirrors of an industry driven by money… in the name of Jesus, of course.)
I will also say that reconnected with a Christian artist we met with during that time. One of the good ones, I say with true humor. (And, for the record, there were several of them. I don’t cast a broad brush stroke over the whole industry.) But, I’ve never been more thankful that we escaped that hot mess. (I used to say, “We dodged a bullet.” But, given where we are as a society, that expression is in poor taste… at the very least.)
This week also included a new experience for me: I attended one of those school board meetings that you see on exploitive TV. I’m not doing to discuss the topic of the dumpster fire, but I will say that the hard-line, “conservative evangelicals” were in full force. The following day someone sent me a screenshot of social media posts made by these self-proclaimed Christians. The statements and accusations were similar to the sentiments shared the night before. However, what caught me off guard was the icon this person used as her identifying marker. Using the same graphic imaging with the social justice movement, it stated:
Christian Lives Matter
So what do Christian celebrity culture and right-wing political ideology have in common? Simply put, they have absolutely nothing to do with Jesus. I can sit here all day and share story after story… things from Nashville, things from our extended family disfunction and church trauma. (Do you guys remember when I told you how one of our old pastors sent me an early morning text telling me to stop calling our Liberty University and Jerry Falwell, Jr. a few years ago? Well, we now know who was on the right side of that hot mess… and it wasn’t him.)
The one thing that gets lost in translation here is my disposition and intention. I’m TRULY not bitter anymore. My husband and I actually laugh about the Jerry, Jr. incident now. But, it can also be incredibly overwhelming… because there’s a price to be paid in all of this.
Our witness to the world.
To take a slogan like Black Lives Matter and making it about you… actually underscores their point even more. This life isn’t about us. It’s about Jesus. And when I walked into that school board meeting this week, that’s one of the first things I thought about. If Jesus entered that room, would he sit on the side with the men and women wearing shirts about God and the military? Would be he condone, or condemn, their insistence that the flag of pedophilia was the “logical” next step in a “woke” classroom. (Ironically, never acknowledging the horrendous number of pastors in our state who are being charged with actual sex crimes against children.)
I’m CONSTANTLY questioning the “faith tradition” I was brought up in. That my kids were brought up in. And maybe that’s the point. It was a tradition…based in, and on, an institution. Thankfully Jesus is so much bigger than that and my faith as a Christian has never been in question. But, how I choose to live out that faith is more important now than ever. A HUGE shift has taken place in our family.
For years, I’ve held on to the false belief that me must remain in the institution of church… but I’m starting to see that remaining in the institution has been the biggest obstacle when it comes to truly following Jesus… and being the REAL church. We can’t hold onto the institution and FULLY embrace what is real.