One of the interesting things about being married to Pocho is that he is not a jaded postmodern American. I’m still plenty hoity-toity, but I used to be reallllly stuck up about things (as in I never would have used more than two “l’s” in “really” no matter how badly I wanted to make a point). I remember being in college, shedding every evangelical trapping I possibly could, and making fun of it if possible. There were a few sacred things I left alone, but most were fair game.
To be fair, I had significantly overdosed on Christian music as a kid. Also, to be fair, almost every Christian song on the radio is indistinguishable from the next. But in my predictable reactionary swing the other way, I basically condemned the whole genre as dumb (Sandra and Indelible Grace excluded, ob-viously). That a sheltered kid went to college and swung here and there is not news, nor that I got arrogant about my new knowledge. I thought everything I thought was new, of course.
I read on facebook an old acquaintance’s sarcastic comment about avoiding churches that would be “certain-popular-Christian-artist hell.” I understand the thought, but the disdain for family bothers me. That’s something I might have said in my eagerness to mock: may I ever appear informed and distanced from the simple.
When I went to Peru, and fell in love with Pocho, he was just entering seriously into the things of God. He was excited, fresh, and full of thoughts about God and others. He loved music and was thrilled to discover afresh current Christian music.
I was thinking, “Hey baby, let’s find Truth in this indie song,” and he was thinking, “Wow, this great band is singing about God and I love it.”
As a hardcore people-pleaser, it’s so strange to love someone who loves things like that, without stopping to consider if they are sufficiently original, politically correct, and avoid undesirable connections.
In my eagerness to escape the evangelical subculture and its flaws, I considered many things, and specifically of Christian music, not just as something to better, but stupid. Sometimes things ought to be labeled stupid, but it is very hard for someone young like me to distinguish between “That is dumb” and “That is dumb– and I am better.”
I was humbled to be with Pocho and see so visibly my arrogance. I watched him get a wobbly youth group off the ground and form a band, where I remembered to worship using simple words, too.
Don’t think I am saying we must embrace mediocre expressions of Christianity. I think true Christianity should produce truly great art. I think Christians should lessen the great division between sacred and secular, and instead search for the big three– Beauty, Goodness, and Truth.
I just see so much arrogance in my generation, considering ourselves so specially enlightened because we took some classes and read some books. I think we would do well to spend some time in the trenches with people who are not so inundated with Christian resources, or those who have not been privileged with hours to spend reading and dissecting theology. I’m a lover of hymns and liturgy, but Jesus seemed to have a lot to say about fancy people with fancy words.
Most of Christian music could be more original, less commercial, etc. etc., but the fact is that is blesses and encourages countless believers every day. The fact is I live in a place where I can turn on the radio and hear songs sung to God, while so many believers in so many countries go hungry for encouragement.
Of course I cringe frequently listening to the radio, and sometimes in churches. But as someone who has the richness of literally hundreds of Bible verses forever stuck in her mind from Christian kids’ music, I can’t pretend that I’m in a position to stick my nose in the air. I’m too blessed to get to be anything but grateful. It may have been quite the subculture with its own oddities and flaws, but hey!—we’re family.