I spent Friday night "accidentally attending an anti-Christian rally", as my friend put it. Actually, it was a Green Day concert that we paid for and planned on attending, naively believing it would be "okay". Let me tell you ... quite the experience. I don't love concerts to begin with. Heck with love--let's be honest--I don't even like them. But Erik does, and so I go. And usually it's okay.
This was not okay.
My thoughts throughout the evening were jumbled and scattered, mostly due to almost constant, impossible to ignore interruptions, always beginning with some form of the "F" word. Seriously--could he be any less creative with his choice of words? (the inflection in the question is reminiscent of Chandler from Friends, if you were wondering.) So my thoughts are scattered and a little random, but I'd like to get them down on virtual paper anyway. So here goes:
My first semi coherent thoughts as the band took the stage and began their "performance" were about the crowd. Maybe I'm not normal, or maybe it's a product of my upbringing, but I've never been one of those people who idolizes others. As a teen, I think maybe I had a Rebecca St. James poster on my wall--you know, the one with the sunflower?--but that was about it. Actually in college, I once attempted to become infatuated with a movie star. I even bought his picture at Universal Studios in California. It didn't work though; I couldn't do it. I just don't care if they're famous or not. So when thousands of people scream til their throats are hoarse, and sway with their eyes closed to this music from these crazy men, I honestly just observe in a clinical fashion, because I do not understand it. Any time I cheered at the concert that night, it was more of just a half hearted "Whoohoo"; I pretty much only did it because I had paid $50 bucks and figured I should "whoohoo" a coupla times. But no chills. No excitement. No shivers. Honest to goodness, I got more chills depositing Dr. John Piper's checks at the bank in college than I got that night watching Green Day. What does that say about me? I recently saw Jeremy Camp very up close. Erik and I have backstage passes and I was able to stand right near the edge of the stage and watch him sing. That almost kinda gave me chills, but not so much because it was Jeremy Camp. More so because it was cool to be so close to a man who has been through so much, and could still stand up there and give all the glory to God. That's incredible. What Green Day does? Well, that's just a good show, I guess. If you like being cussed at, mocked, and shouted at all evening.
As I watched the crowd worship--and that's what it was, it was worship--Green Day and Billy Joe Armstrong, my heart was broken. I felt the physical ache in my chest. At one point, as I scanned the crowd, tears rushed to my eyes. The scene was so utterly depressing. Thousands of people, singing, dancing, yelling, shouting, grinning---WORSHIPING---a tiny little man on stage, who wrote some kinda good songs and can exert nonstop energy for over two hours. They sang for, shouted for, cried for a man. A man. Not even a creative man! I mean really, it's not too hard to get Americans to like you. Rail against the war, the government, and Christianity, throw in multiple F-bombs and people will think you are incredible. It's not that unique. It's not that creative.
At first, I wanted to go home. (but let's be honest--that wasn't because it was Green Day. I just detest concerts, remember?) But after the initial anger (brought on when a huge vampire-looking portrait of Christ was displayed on stage, and Billy brought a child up and went through the motions of a "Christian healing" while singing a song that only serves to mock Christians), and defensiveness dissipated, and after the tears had flowed and dried up, and after I was over my refusing to participate in any part of the concert whatsoever, I began to appreciate the experience. It was definitely an eye opening one. There are people out there who hate us. And by us I mean Christians. Christ followers. And while that frustrates me to no end (I mean really, when was the last time Billy Joe Armstrong sat down with a normal Christian, an every day believer and asked us our thoughts on life?), I can recognize that yes Christians today have a "massive public relations" problem, as my pastor is fond of pointing out, and yes we misrepresent Christ on a daily basis. So part of me couldn't blame Green Day for it's rantings. And yet, my heart is still broken.
I'm also grateful for the reminder that people are desperate. People are desperate for someone to follow and something to worship. Erik has always talked about how he sees people worship so freely at concerts, and now I know what he means. It's incredible to watch; I wish our churches looked like that on a Sunday morning, because God deserves that kind of worship. God deserves that kind of adoration and attention. I know I'm rarely found giving to Him--are you?
What is it about the way we are portraying Christ that causes people to reject Him, and instead worship Green Day?
Other thoughts that ran through my head:
This man is a father?
And he's how old?
Who in their right mind brings children to this kind of concert!
But I won't get into those today. :)