You may have heard the phrase, “The devil is the best friend of the church- he keeps it in business.” This idea is somewhat proven in the strong reactions of fundamentalists to perceived deviations and opposing viewpoints. People get to protest concepts and events with which they disagree and, as a result, feel justified, righteous, and productive. Shocking performances, personalities, and policies give conservative Christians something to rally against and a sense of purpose.
There is more than one side to every issue or concept. Usually there are more than two, (Even though we hu
mans like pairs and generally limit ourselves to two polarizing parties/denominations at a time. It’s cute.) but for the sake of this post let’s just stick with these two. Here’s the deal- in order for “shock art” to exist, there have to be shockable people. In order for people to be rebel, there has to be a conservative status quo against which to rebel. In order for someone to push the envelope, there has to be something to push against. Are we the envelope?
What if we weren’t shocked by “immorality” or “sin” which we believe to exist in theory, yet seem so flabbergasted and start screaming about it when we see it? What if we stuck to what the Bible actually said instead of making our own feelings into gospel? Now listen, pastors and deacons, I’m not talking about your youth-group kids or whatever. I’m not condoning sin. I’m talking about people who are actually living in the world; people who don’t come to your church.
I think that if the self-righteous old guard of fundamentalism chose to acknowledge that they (we) are as broken and small and sinful as everybody else, Marilyn Manson and I would probably feel welcome in church and rebellion would be less attractive. Missing the mark is rubbish. So is judgementalism.