Are Blacks Being Eliminated in the US?

 

Whitney Curtis/The New York Times

Whitney Curtis/The New York Times

You’re probably already familiar with the events occurring in Ferguson, Missouri where an 18 year old unarmed black man named Mike Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer. The response from both social media and the ground has been that this is yet another instance of racist white cops killing unarmed black men in what is clearly an indication of systematic racism. The media has had a field day with the story, and it has clogged news sources for weeks.

I’m not here to argue that Mike Brown was or wasn’t at fault. Nor am I here to defend or deny my “white privilege”. I’m not even here to defend or condemn the white cop who did the shooting. You can find that material elsewhere.

I want to talk about a rap song that was trending on Facebook recently called “Don’t Shoot”. It’s a collaboration between rap artist The Game and about 13 other artists. Honestly, I rather enjoyed the song, which is a response to the events in Ferguson. While I don’t necessarily agree with their perspective, I liked it’s musical qualities and the fact that it was talking about something important (as opposed to sex, drugs, and alcohol). Check out the lyrics here.

One particular line stood out to me (from collab artist Problem): “The revolution has been televised/If I sit here and don’t do nothing/Homie that is genocide.” The message is that the African-American community needs to take notice of this event, and rise up and demand justice. This line really stood out to me because the rapper says that Mike Brown is the start of a black genocide and this is evidence that something needs to be done.

While I recognize that this is probably hyperbole to illustrate a point, Problem missed the mark. He decided it was worth his time to participate in a song and talk about black genocide from systematic racism. Yet, he won’t talk about the real black genocide that has been waged legally in this country for more than 40 years (and arguably much longer than that).

The Real Black Genocide

According to the CDC, since 1973 more than 16 million African-Americans have been aborted. If you think this is a solely a function of low-income demand for abortion, think again. The fact is that Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in America, has a long and storied history of racism against minorities, particularly African-Americans. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was a vocal advocate for eugenics (the philosophy, infamous for its adoption in Nazi Germany, that seeks to create a superior race by eliminating those “unfit to breed”), birth control, and sterilization.  Her legacy is steeped in racist ideology, and while it is true that eugenics was mainstream in America in the 1930’s, she had no scruples about pushing her elitist agenda. Many of her contemporaries openly praised Nazi eugenic methods as “humanitarian” and “scientific”, positions that Sanger herself fiercely defended. She was a member of the American Eugenics Society and was a speaker at Ku Klux Klan gatheringsYou can read all about the legacy of Sanger here.

(To be fair, it should be noted that Sanger did live in a time where the “science” of eugenics was wildly popular. Some have used this as an end-all justification for her actions, but the ends never justify the means. Leben Magazine has a great article about the American church and eugenics in their July 2014 issue, which I will post here when it is available online.)

Think this is just in the past? Think again. Planned Parenthood has never renounced any of its racist history and its highest national award is still called the Margaret Sanger Award. In 2008, the CDC data revealed that 42% of all abortions come from black women, yet African-Americans make up only 12.6% of the population. Abortion centers overwhelmingly target minority and traditionally African-American neighborhoods and Planned Parenthood has nearly 80% of their abortion centers in minority neighborhoods. Life Dynamics, a pro-life advocacy organization, did their own analysis of zip codes and found that abortion centers were most likely to be found in minority neighborhoods, and they published their survey and methodology for public scrutiny. The abortion rate among black women is five times higher than among white women and it has been reported that in some states, such as Mississippi, black women get 78% of the abortions. Planned Parenthood claims it does more than just abortions, but the fact is that they referred out a mere 5,000 women to adoption centers vs. the more than 350,000 abortions they performed in 2007. (And it only makes sense: abortion pays. According to Planned Parenthood’s own website, an abortion will run you anywhere from $300 to $1,700. That’s a nice chunk of profit which keeps the corporation motivated to keep bringing in abortion clients as opposed to referring to an adoption agency, which doesn’t pay. Some abortionists charge more than that, with late term abortions running between $2-3,000.)

In New York city, more black babies are aborted than are born alive, with 1,223 abortions for every 1,000 live births. Yet, suspiciously, the rate of white abortions is a mere 265 abortions per 1,000 live births.  Finally, in a full circle to the events in Ferguson, the current President of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, surmised that the events in Ferguson show us how important it is for people to have the choice to abort their children. (Interestingly enough, Richards’ echoes the sentiment expressed in a 1950 pamphlet distributed by the Human Betterment League of North Carolina, which advocated sterilization of “mental defectives”. They said, ” No child should be born to subnormal parents and denied a fair, healthy start in life.”) Ferguson is the kind of community that Planned Parenthood has historically worked to eliminate.

Injustice Demands A Response

Black genocide from racist cops in Missouri? No. The real holocaust has been going on for years, arguably since the end of slavery. The real black genocide has claimed more than 16 million victims at a rate of 363,000 a year, and is the number one killer in the black community. It masquerades as justice, flaunts itself as choice, and tears down the black community from the inside.

If rap artists are going to take a stand against injustice, against genocide, against evildoers, they need to start here. This is the real black genocide. Innocents are being slaughtered for profit, and the victims are disproportionately black. Worse yet, the worst offender of these crimes is a multi-million dollar pseudo-corporation that has hundreds of locations nationwide; the quintessential greedy conglomerate. When we ignore the decimation of the black population by abortion, we quietly fulfill the vision of the Margaret Sangers of the world; one where minorities are wiped out. This is the great civil rights debate of our day. The abortion industry in our country has its roots to an openly racist agenda and this is an agenda that has never been denied. Since 1973, over 25% of the black population has been eliminated through legal abortion.

I could go on and on about the racist practices of abortion practitioners, like how Planned Parenthood accepted donations that were specifically earmarked for black abortions. You can fool yourself into believing that it isn’t happening anymore, but the evidence points to the contrary. Want to help stop the black genocide? Start here. It’s much more important than what’s going on in Ferguson.

For more information about Planned Parenthood’s prolific racist history, watch the incredibly well-researched documentary Maafa 21.

 

Does Courtship Make Sense?

A "court ship"

A “court ship”

There’s an article that’s been floating around the Christian online community in the past week or so called “Why Courtship is Fundamentally Flawed” by Thomas Umstattdt. Like many who read it, I had some interesting thoughts and I would like to share them with you.

While I don’t agree with 100% of what the article says, I thought there were some valid points. It brought to mind certain facets of my relationship with my wife that I find are relevant to the discussion. Namely, we didn’t court. Or at least, we never said, “Hey guys! Guess what! We’re courting!” We never went on a “court” to dinner and a movie, and we certainly didn’t have 24 hour supervision that seems to characterize many courting relationships in many circles. I think it’s important to realistically look at how a relationship works.

Doug Wilson responded to the original article and rightly pointed out that no matter what model people use, the fact still remains that the relationship is comprised of sinful people who live in a sinful world, and you’re going to have to deal with sin. That’s true, but I find the original article more persuasive. Thomas Umstattd also posted a follow up where he answered some of the questions that his original post brought up.

Exclusive Relationships Invite Temptation

One of the most important things that Umstattd pointed out is that the way his grandmother dated was by having mandatory dates with different boys in order to maintain a balance without getting too attached to one or the other. He pointed out that this helped his grandmother (at least when she was young) develop skills to interact with the opposite sex as well as give her an idea of what she wanted in a man. Furthermore, it helped to calm emotional ties with boys by not making it an exclusive relationship.

Courtship, in many of its forms, emphasizes emotional and physical purity and seeks to guard that by adding layers of security on it (which in some cases, is properly interpreted as legalism). As Umstattd points out, this really just exacerbates the problem of trying to stay pure because the hurdles of simply getting into the relationship elevates it to a level of exclusivity that is far above what it needs to be. It is rightly noted that for many guys, just asking to court a girl is tantamount to asking for her hand in marriage. I remember bringing up this very point with my friends when I was in high school and we all agreed courtship was something to be avoided.

When I actually met my wife and we were dating/courting/”going steady”, purity was hard. Duh. Whenever you get a guy and girl together and they’re in love, purity will be hard. Sin makes it hard. The more exclusive the relationship is, the harder it is to fight back. It’s not a defect of relationships; it’s just a fact. My beef is that courtship often accelerates exclusivity prematurely, which makes temptation more intense because of the emotional commitment involved. I recognize that accountability is also a strong part of courting, but accountability does not kill temptation.

Opposite Sex Relationships Are What is Important

My wife and I both have always had strong opposite sex friendships which I believe was key in us meeting and getting married so quickly. We already knew what we wanted, and when we found it, what was the point in waiting? Furthermore, we were friends for a solid two years before we became “official”. We didn’t have a relationship that was closely supervised, which would have made it hard to get to really know each other. Insofar as courtship is about pursuing marriage, then yes, we courted because we always knew we wanted to get married. So in a sense, when we made our relationship official, it was kind of like the start of a very long engagement because we knew nothing would break it down.

I believe that we were unique because we had a good sense of what to look for in a partner. That sense came from having strong opposite-sex relationships prior to meeting. This is what I believe courtship harms. There is often a sense of apprehension among guys about approaching a girl and getting to know her if you believe that she or her father may interpret that as a signal towards courtship (read: engagement). This is what I believe Umstattd was getting at. Don’t kill the relationship before it’s had a chance to grow.

Maybe the system of exclusivity inadvertently invite more temptation and accountability only goes so far. We are what is flawed, and maybe having a system that discourages opposite sex friendships by invoking the specter of marriage prematurely ain’t the greatest.

I highly recommend reading both the original article and the Q&A response that clarifies some issues from the original article. It’s an issue worth thinking about.

What do you think?

 

More like this:

Why You Shouldn’t Wait For Marriage

3 Ultra-Stupid Pieces of Marriage Advice the World Gives You

Why “Marriage Isn’t for You” Is Wrong

5 Bible Verses That Will Send Chills Down Your Spine

The Bible has a lot of amazing things hidden deep within its pages. If you look hard enough, you can find giants, epic battles, talking animals, dead people walking, fire raining from the sky, and plagues of epic proportions. As I was reading my Bible last week, I came across a verse that stopped me dead in my tracks. It was the kind of verse that gives you chills just from the sheer power and authority emanating from the words. Given that, I decided to look at some other verses that I’ve always found fascinating. The criteria for choosing these was simply to find the verses that really seemed to ooze with unbridled power and authority; the kind of verses that make you stop and marvel at our God of power, and for guys, the ones that you want to quote before rushing into battle! Without further ado, here we have 5 Bible Verse That Will Send Chills Down Your Spine.

#5. When His Wrath Is Great

Psalm 18: 6-11

In my distress I called upon the LordAnd cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.Then the earth shook and trembled; The foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken, Because He was angry. Smoke went up from His nostrils, And devouring fire from His mouth; Coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down With darkness under His feet. And He rode upon a cherub, and flew; He flew upon the wings of the wind.  He made darkness His secret place; His canopy around Him was dark waters And thick clouds of the skies.

This passage is absolutely mind blowing. Here we see the Psalmist crying out to God in his distress, and the reaction is like a mama bear reacting to her cub crying out in pain: pure rage directed at some unfortunate someone (except with God, it’s a righteous rage). God is a powerful Father and this passage really speaks to His love for us. It is so relate-able because we’ve all been in situations where someone we love is in danger and we rush to their side, ready to tear apart anyone who comes close. This is like that; except when God talks about it, it sounds a whole lot more impressive. It’s like a mouse crying out for fear of the cat, and Optimus Prime shows up to help.

Optimus

Step away from the mouse.

That’s what it’s like. We are so weak and He is so powerful. Seriously, just read that. He puts darkness under his feet. Take heart, Christian. The earth will tremble and darkness will be crushed under His feet when you call on the Lord. So call on him!

#4. When He Commands You Not to Be Afraid

Josh 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

The context here is God speaking to Joshua when he took over for Moses. God instructed him to enter the promised land and to take it for an inheritance of Israel. As Joshua apparently realized, there were still people living in the promised land and God was essentially telling him to march into battle. This takes guts, and in verse 8, God tells Joshua to meditate on His word day and night, and immediately follows it up with the epic proclamation in verse 9. These words completely silence any doubt one could have about how to feel about this expedition. God preempts any doubts by asking, “Have I not commanded you?” If Joshua thought about asking questions, those thoughts were gone, as God commands Joshua to have courage; for God is with him. I imagine a general saying this to his army, someone like Maximus from Gladiator:

Have I not commanded you?!?

Have I not commanded you?!?

I imagine this is something that is said by a general of an army, specifically, Maximus from Gladiator. Just imagine him yelling that line in his powerfully masculine voice, like he did when he asked, “Are you not entertained?!?” God is with you, Christian. Have courage.

#3. When He Knows What Is in The Darkness

Daniel 2:22

He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him.

This is the verse I read the other day that sent chills down my spine. As children, we’ve all feared what is in the dark, and sometimes, the darkness can still be a scary place.

Scary creatures lurk in the darkness

Scary creatures lurk in the darkness

And when it’s a spiritual darkness, the fear is a whole lot more intense! But we do not need to fear, because God knows what is in the darkness. We fear what we can’t see because we don’t know what is there, but God crushes that notion because He does know what is there. And the next line delivers the final blow: He is light. He has the only weapon that can destroy the darkness and it doesn’t stand a chance against him. And He is on our side. Incredible. Don’t be afraid of the dark; it’s power has been dissolved. This verse has a companion verse in Job 12:22, “He uncovers deep things out of darkness, And brings the shadow of death to light.”

#2. When He Tells You to Be Immoveable

1st Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

This was my anthem verse when I was a senior in high school. It just felt like such a good capstone to my education. After all God had taught me, now was the time to get down to work and put your nose to the grindstone. It’s one of those, “Man up, man” verses that always gets to me. In Christ, we are complete. In Christ, we have everything we need. And in Christ, nothing can move us. In Christ, we are like this to the enemy:

Your move, Satan.

Your move, Satan.

We are to be immovable, unshakable, completely solid in our faith. Jesus never wavered, and neither should we. Go Hulk on Satan and be immovable. Because who is on your side? The One who commands you not to be afraid, and who knows what is in the darkness, and the who crushes His enemies. Be immovable.

#1. When He Kills Death

1st Corinthians 15:55-57

“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”  The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Also in 1 Corinthians 15, this is perhaps the most powerful verse in Scripture. The cross is in vain without the resurrection, and here, Paul mocks death because it has been vanquished. This is the greatest hope we have. Jesus freed us from the fear of death; and because of this we can do anything.

Like vanquish hell.

Hades, where is your victory?

We have victory over death; how much more spine-chilling does it get? It’s too big for us to comprehend that as Christians, we will never truly die. Because death has already been defeated and its sting is no more. Take heart, Christian. Christ has won the day, a devouring fire pours forth from His mouth, He has commanded you not to be afraid, He knows what is in the darkness and light dwells with him, He tells you to be immovable, and He has defeated death. What greater King could we serve? ——————————-   I hope you enjoyed that! It certainly gave me the chills a few times! If you liked it, please like our Facebook page at Two Snows and A Blog for more stuff like this, as well as content from my wife’s blog.

Why The Church Should Not Embrace Environmentalism

earthrise-wide This is a response to this article at Venn Magazine and this post has been submitted to the magazine for consideration. 

Words matter.

In our communications driven culture, it’s important to use the right language to convey our message. When we read certain words, we bring to the reading experience a host of associations, feelings, and memories. These are not easy things to ignore, and that makes the task of carefully choosing our words an important one.

Such is the case when we talk about the Church and environmentalism. The word “environmentalism” is fraught with political connotations, and is steeped in a long history of liberal progressivism. While the Church is given a charge to take care of our earthly home, the principles and language of this movement run contrary to God’s word.

In America, environmentalism began its political journey in the counter-culture of the 1960’s, which was a time of seeking spiritual fulfillment in anything but Christianity. In this atmosphere, environmentalism was infused with a spiritual quality of finding oneself through unity with nature, which has continued to this day. In this regard, environmentalism began as a movement that was about treating nature as deity, which flies in the face of a Christian ecology.

But in principle, shouldn’t at least some of the tenets of environmentalism appeal to Christians? After all, on the surface it’s about sustainability and making sure that the natural resources we have now are there for future generations. It’s about getting pollution out of our water and air so that we can breathe a little easier about the future of our world. Isn’t that something we should want? And on the surface, the answer is yes.

This is a world that we as Christians are absolutely called to preserve. There are hundreds of references throughout Scripture to Creation reflecting the glory of God (try Psalm 19 on for size). God created our world and took care to make it beautiful. He specifically told us to take care of the Earth, and to nurture it (Genesis 1:28). In fact, the first man Adam was primarily a gardener, whose task was to improve the Garden. Many of the patriarchs in the Old Testament were farmers and ranchers, who developed and cultivated the earth to bring forth abundance.

But the reason that Biblical Christianity stands in opposition to environmentalism is because a Biblical understanding of the world places the environment under the care and nurture of humankind, while still recognizing the inherent value of nature because God created it. Environmentalism in its widely understood form is practically a religion in of itself that places worship of nature above that of the Creator. In his book, Pollution and the Death of Man, Francis Schaeffer understood the modern environmentalist movement to be glorified pantheism (meaning it was an attempt to find salvation through a sense of oneness with nature). But Schaeffer also said that while man and nature are distinct, we have a responsibility to recognize that nature has value because God created it.

It is because of this spiritual ethos surrounding environmentalism that we should seek to stay away from aligning it with a Biblical view of ecology. Traditionally, Christians have used the terminology of “stewardship” to refer to our responsibility regarding nature. The terminology of “environmentalism” brings echoes of something very un-Christian with it and we should seek to avoid parading any “ism” around without investigating its roots. We want a Christ-centric view of the environment and because Christ has redeemed us in our entirety, including our speech, we should be careful to use words that reflect a Christ-centric ecology.

This is not just a matter of preference since the language of environmentalism is steeped in the counter-culture tradition of the 1960’s and a pantheistic view of the world. The associations, feelings, and historical meaning of “environmentalism” won’t go away simply because we start slapping a Christian label on it (just think of the debate among Christians about the pagan origins of our various holidays, a debate that has raged for many, many years). The language of stewardship rightly puts the emphasis on our God-given responsibility to care for what He has given us.

Let’s celebrate our Christian heritage and our charge from Jesus to take care of our home. Let’s recognize that nature has value because God created it. But let’s remember to use language that draws attention to the Creator over the creation.  

Why I’m Not A Heterosexual Anymore

funny wedding pic

Marriage!

I’m not a heterosexual anymore. That may seem strange coming from someone like me, but hear me out.

Let’s talk about what it means to “not be heterosexual.”

You’re probably thinking, “Oh boy…he’s gay.” But that’s not the case. I’m not gay, I’m very happily married to a woman. But I’m also not a heterosexual anymore…and neither is my wife, for that matter.

Here’s the thing: heterosexuality is a myth. By implication, this also means that homosexuality is a myth. In an article published in First Things magazine by future-monk Michael Hannon entitled, “Against Heterosexuality,” a case is clearly laid out against sexual orientation. Hannon writes:

First of all, within orientation essentialism, the distinction between heterosexuality and homosexuality is a construct that is dishonest about its identity as a construct. These classifications masquerade as natural categories, applicable to all people in all times and places according to the typical objects of their sexual desires (albeit with perhaps a few more options on offer for the more politically correct categorizers). Claiming to be not simply an accidental nineteenth-century invention but a timeless truth about human sexual nature, this framework puts on airs, deceiving those who adopt its labels into believing that such distinctions are worth far more than they really are.

Basically, what he is saying is that the idea of a sexual orientation is deceptive in that a LOT of people believe that heterosexuality is the norm, the eternally changeless state of how people “should be” and homosexuality (and by implication, homosexuals) is a giant mistake. It’s deceptive because the concept of sexual orientation is less than 150 years old.

Hannon argues that sexual orientation is something we should dismiss from our minds and vocabulary precisely because it goes about defining people and sexuality entirely backwards. Sometime in the 19th century, scholars decided to start defining sexuality, not by it’s obvious natural function (aka, having kids), but by the object of sexual desire. This short circuit of the old view of sexuality removed the motivation for chastity by removing the common good from marriage: children. Sex became purely about passion and feelings, and without a concrete tie between it and nature/reality, the very idea of “heterosexuality” began to lose its meaning. (See Hannon’s article for a deeper analysis of this thought.)

Perhaps the most powerful truth that Hannon unlocks is that when we think about people in terms of heterosexuality (or “normal”) and homosexual (“abnormal”), the sexual orientation lens we are looking through colors our view of people’s actions. Suddenly, we aren’t seeing sexual sin the way the Bible describes it, as equally damning no matter the sin (by that I mean that any sin, no matter how small, is enough to incur God’s holy justice). We see “heterosexual” sin as one thing, and “homosexual” sin as another. Do we see what has happened here? In essence, we are using categories that classifies one group as socially normal (“heterosexual”), and thus free from moral judgement, and the other group as socially unacceptable and the target of all moral judgement. As Hannon so succinctly says:

The most pernicious aspect of the orientation-identity system is that it tends to exempt heterosexuals from moral evaluation… Nevertheless, as a general rule, identifying as a heterosexual person today amounts to declaring oneself a member of the “normal group,” against which all deviant sexual desires and attractions and temptations are to be measured… Of course, we do have a model norm for the evaluation of sexual deviancy. But that model is not heterosexuality. It is Christ Jesus himself, the God-man who both perfected human nature and perfectly exemplified its perfection, ‘one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.’ For the self-declared heterosexual to displace our Lord in this position is the height of folly.

By saying we are heterosexual, we are putting ourselves into a special category that has a different standard of judgement than the homosexual category. Not to mention that the very idea of sexual identity removes responsibility from one’s attractions. We’ve all heard the refrain, “I was born this way.” It’s offered up as an excuse for one’s actions, but as Christians, we know that we are born sinful, and yet are still responsible for our actions. The sexual orientation idea clouds this truth.

In accepting this paradox of heterosexual vs. homosexual, Christians have given up their greatest weapon in combating sin and immorality. For years, people have said that homosexuality is sinful, when such a thing is impossible for the Bible to condemn, simply because the idea of sexual identity and “homosexuality” is less than 200 years old! What the Bible has always condemned is sexual sin outside of marriage, same-gender sexual acts included. By putting these acts into their own category, then inextricably attaching them to the individual performing them, we have denied the power of the Gospel to free sinners by denying that they really are sinning.

In light of this,  the question, “What do you, as a Christian, think about homosexuality?” becomes meaningless because it’s the wrong question. The question is, “What do you, as a Christian, think about sexual sin?” We have had such difficulty answering questions about homosexuality, all while struggling to convey that the Bible has a message of love and redemption. We are seduced by the pridefulness of being “normal heterosexuals” because at least we aren’t “abnormal homosexuals”. It’s strongly implied that “homosexual” sin is worse than “heterosexual” sin. And that has been a fatal mistake.

We are all sinners. We need Jesus Christ and His redemptive blood covering our sins. It’s time to repent of being prideful because we’re “normal”. We’re not. We are broken and in need of healing, “heterosexual” and “homosexual” alike.

Because we’re all human.

I highly recommend reading Hannon’s article. It was incredibly enlightening for me and he covers a lot of ground that I didn’t. I hope I gave a good account of this subject; please let me know in the comments!

Christian Music Sucks Because It’s Fake

christian-music

I’ve always had a problem with Christian music. I used to wonder why, and then it hit me: it’s because it sucks. While this is now obvious, the real question is, why does it suck?

Michael Gungor from the band Gungor (which I had never heard of prior to this), wrote an excellent article on why Christian music generally sucks. It’s because it’s fake. From his article:

The false emotion that I’m talking about might be familiar to some of you. There’s just something more believable about the whispery sexy voice that is singing about sex on the mainstream radio station than the voice that copies that style of singing while putting lyrics in about being in the arms of Jesus. And it’s really not even the style or the lyric that is the problem to me, it’s the fact that I don’t believe that the singer is feeling the kind of emotions in singing that lyric that would lead to that style of singing. It’s that same kind of creep out that you feel when somebody gives a really loud fake laugh. It’s just weird and uncomfortable feeling.

There’s a pretension with a lot of Christian music that puts such an emphasis on the moralistic qualities of the music. “Hey, listen to this because it doesn’t describe explicit sex acts! Yay!” While there’s a point to that, when the music is reduced to just what it isn’t talking about rather than what it is talking about, the whole thing just crumbles.

This is what most Christian music centers around, or at least what the marketing centers on. Many evangelical Christian parents get their teens Christian music because it’s clean and “teaches good values”. But this destroys the soul of music. It makes Christian music literally the only genre that is defined by what it isn’t. And when you define something, not by what it’s contribution and worth is, but by its negative qualities, it’s impossible for that thing to have any value. It’s very definition limits itself. It’s really hard to make something great when your definition of greatness is, “Not awful.” Because of this, most Christian music can only be really great because it’s not really bad. Which actually makes it suck.

This concept plays out at Christian concerts as well, where the whole, “Don’t be bad” attitude really plays out. Gungor talks about this phenomena:

We just were part of one of the biggest tours of the fall in the Christian music industry…

But you know what made me sad? That empty bar every night.

Even though these shows were all sold out, I would imagine that the bartenders at all those clubs were like “oh man, Christian night… that means no tips for me.”

Sometimes the promoters would just buy out the bar so there wouldn’t be any liquor sales at all.
I’m not saying that I wished that everybody was getting hammered at the show… But for crying out loud, buy one beer. Or heck, if you don’t drink beer, buy a Coke.

But here’s what is super weird about this situation. I bet you if you took all of those Christians that came to the shows and split them up and had them go to “secular” shows, A LOT of them would have bought a drink. It’s the fact that there is this assumption among all of the Christians there that having a drink at a Christian event is sort of a questionable thing to do.

He’s talking a lot about the evangelical Christian culture that shuns alcohol, and as he goes on to kind of rant about, it doesn’t seem to have much Biblical basis. But in many ways, doing this at a Christian concert is just a reflection of what the music is about: not being bad. Gungor continues on about how fake Christian music really is dishonest and uncreative. We talk about innovative music that Christians make as “creative” because, as he points out, there is so much uncreativity in the industry that we have to point it out when we see it. What he says is entertaining, so I’ll quote him once more:

Do you notice that nobody really uses that word about other types of music?…

Nobody goes to an art gallery and says, “boy, that painting is so creative.” Why? Because it’s art! Of course it’s creative! Why else would it be there? It’s very nature is creativity. Or like Lisa pointed out to me today, “that would be like saying, I love your house, it’s so architectural.”

It’s interesting that the Christian music scene has become so dominated by mediocrity that anything breaks free from the norm is hailed as groundbreaking. It’s time to get away from a definition of music that is purely moral and start producing stuff that’s got real value. Of course, I am well aware that there are lots of Christian artists out there who make good music. But this is directed at the Christian music industry in general. The ones who make sucky music.  By the way, this is one of Gungor’s music videos. I like it; it’s not defined by what it isn’t. (I highly recommend reading the original article. It’s long but good.)

Stop Focusing on Millenials

Millennials like holding small churches as well.

Millennials like holding small churches as well. Image links to source.

Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about “millennials”. Millennials, according to the Internet, are a group of highly narcissistic Facebook addicts that can’t find time for church, otherwise known as people who were born between 1980 and 2000.

At least that’s what you might think if you read a few of these articles demanding that the church start catering to the “needs” of millennials (as if millennials don’t have the same needs as everyone else). One article I read said that millennials have “highly sensitive BS meters” and can detect any hint of untruthfulness in church. That seemed pretty narcissistic to me.

Here’s the thing: the church is not here to validate you. No, it’s really not. It is not a social institution designed to cater to consumers, despite the deplorable entertainment mindset of the modern church. The church is the bride of Christ. And it’s job is to serve Christ and propagate the Gospel.

The question, “Why are the millennials leaving the church?” should be completely irrelevant to any church that is faithfully submitting to Christ and preaching the word of God. Because any church that is faithfully preaching the Word of God doesn’t have to care about membership numbers. This is because numbers don’t matter, faithfulness does. The question is, “Are we serving Christ and preaching the Gospel?”

If young people are leaving your church, there’s two possible explanations: 1) the church is unfaithful and in sin OR 2) the person is unfaithful and in sin. In all the discussions about millennials leaving churches, it’s amazing that no one has stopped to ask, “Well, maybe the millennials are wrong for leaving.”

Whoa there. Do I dare suggest that young people born between 1980-2000 might actually be sinners? That perhaps have unbiblical expectations for what a church should do? And some of them may be leaving for sinful reasons?

Millennials (of which I am one) are people too. They need the Gospel and Jesus just like Generation X and the Baby Boomers. A church that’s preaching the Gospel and Jesus doesn’t need to worry about young people leaving, unless the church is in sin.

Is there a problem that so many people are leaving the churches in America? Yes, and I don’t mean to suggest that the decline in membership in churches is actually JUST the millennial generation’s fault. Churches have largely failed their members, but that includes ALL their members, not just millennials. The point I’m trying to make is that there are two sides to this coin, and we would be remiss if we didn’t examine both.

If you leave a church because it’s petty and judgmental and failing to preach the Gospel, that’s a good thing.

But if you leave because the church biblically declares sin to be what it is and that’s offensive to you, then the blame is on you.

What do you think? Is the focus on millennials too strong, or rightly placed?