Thursday, February 4, 2010
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. Psalm 84:5
I have been trying to figure out all this week and last week what to write about. Thinking about it again this afternoon, coupled with some issues I've been struggling with, well here I am. I have been on a journey; one that is definitely not over, of figuring out what Christianity is to me.
Once again I am in the place of frustration. I have been struggling with internal issues, so I tried to listen to some Christian music on our local Christian music station. I was quickly so disgusted that I turned it off. I am realizing more and more how unbelievably commercialized everything is, and it would seem that the bigger this station gets, the more they are following this commercial suit.
Instead of regular commercial for Rogaine or Kohl's or whatever, they "talk about/promote" their Christian college. Then to make it worse, they use people's personal testimonies like some kind of commercial. You hear an emotional testimony or a need being expressed in the midst of deep pain and sorrow and then comes the announcer saying God is making a difference through our station (like, here's proof), oh and by the way we need your donations; then YOU TOO can help make a difference! Excuse me while I vomit! :( On top of all that is the cookie cutter image for the artists - they all talk and look the same and their music seems watered down. Granted this is not true of every Christian artist (there are the blessed few that stand out and naturally shine like they're supposed to), but you get the idea. I also realize the image thing is not a problem just in the Christian music genre but in most musical genres.
I am finding that what I truly appreciate these days is rawness. Rawness in the form of true honesty and candor. Rawness that is like nature sometimes - not always pretty, but beautiful in the whole picture of things. Take for example country music artist Miranda Lambert. She writes her own stuff and it seems pretty plain that she doesn't bother to soften it up for sensitive ears. No, she simply says it like it is and that's that. No need for a filthy mouth, but straight forward none the less. Not only that, she also paints a picture, tells a story and brings you in close to her experience. She doesn't (again this is just my perception) seem to hold you at arms length as if to say "hmmm are you mature enough to hear this?", no she grabs your ear, pulls you in close and says here's how it is and if you don't like it, don't listen. She knows who she is and what she's about and she isn't afraid to show it or to be herself.
On her web page her bio says "On the caution-vs.-candor scale, it's not hard to figure out where Miranda Lambert comes down. "I'm really not careful at all," she says. "I probably should be. I pretty much don't have anything to hide, though. I never hid anything growing up. My parents were P.I.s, so I really couldn't." She also says "I mean every word I say in every lyric of every song on this record, and every record I've ever done," she declares. "I would never take back one word or lyric or point I've ever made, because it's part of who I am. And there are plenty of artists who wouldn't do so much of that, if that's the kind of music you're into. But if you're into honesty, I have the records for you," she laughs."
We need more of that! In every area of our lives I think! If there is one thing (among many) that I definitely appreciate about my husband, it is that he is honest, brutally honest. :)
I feel like we have been overly careful, like we've been skirting around people's emotions and perceived feelings for so long that the world actually thinks we are just a skirt and not a people who know who we are, a people set apart, a people adored by our creator. We try so hard to be seen and heard that we become just like the rest of the world trying to gain their attention. The whole world is screaming to be noticed and we have joined the chaos instead of being that presence that stabilizes, calms and brings order. We can't even take a look from the outside-in because most of the time we are in!
We need some of that rawness. We need the unpolished and honest. We must be willing to get messy, make mistakes, feel, choose, experience and connect - with or without profit.
I am on a journey, I think, of looking for this rawness and for a place to re-establish and confirm my faith, but I cannot find it on the Christian radio, or even really at church. However, I know it's there, it's real and it is in me. It's a part of my makings, fused with my cells, muscles, nerves, heart and every other part of my body, mind, soul and spirit. I have to dig down deep and find out what is in there, who's in there. What is growing in me? What seeds have been planted? Who is this God I love and what - if anything - does He really expect from me, other than my imperfect human love?
And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.