I just caught a few minutes of this year's Billboard awards. I am an artistic musician at heart, so my core drinks up creativity in almost all forms. Even dark expressions, sometimes, house great revelation. As I was walking away from the TV, Snoop Dogg was on stage wearing a very bizarre piece of stage jewelry, his signature braided ponytails, and a dangling earring. A zombie-like woman accompanied him, a timely homage to the news of the week.
The rapture didn't happen this week, after a nationwide prediction that it would, and that by October 21, there would be a world-ending catastrophe. I'm not well-versed in the exact prediction because I just don't care. I'm not going to get into the "rapture gospel" here--I just really hope each of you studies out his beliefs for himself thoroughly, not simple regurgitating the revelations of generations past. I am still studying--still asking questions--but I am very far from what I first was taught. As I learn, as I grow, I wonder how I believed the former thing for so long, and so blindly. Oh well--God's grace to each of us to develop, change, and grow is so thick. We each at our own rate and to our own level of persistence, I suppose.
But I saw Snoop on the screen, in an empty man's attempt to express what his heart has recognized as void. I don't like referring to unbelievers as "the world" or "those guys out there" because that's not how Jesus saw them. He ate with them. He preferred them, in some ways. Even Jesus knew that religious people are a drag.
I find myself thinking a lot lately about originality. About authenticity.
I was reminded of this quote, which to date is still my favorite:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
The earth is full of people who are copycats, carbon copies, or blank pages. A root deep within us craves originality. Case in point: Lady Gaga. Here is a performer who has worn a meat dress, arrived to an award show carried in an egg-shaped litter, poured artificial blood over herself on stage, and has stated in an interview that she has both male and female genitalia. Does that shock you? And yet thus far in her career, she has earned $90 million and recently dethroned Oprah as the most powerful celebrity by Forbes.
How hungry must mankind be for originality, for creativity, if this woman has catapulted to such notoriety? But here's the thought I can't get out of my mind: God created. I mean, really created. We were designed to represent him on the earth. And yet Christianity is widely believed to be the most boring, least-fun lifestyle available in modern culture today.
Consider this recent quote from Brad Pitt: ""Many people find religion to be very inspiring. Myself, I found it very stifling. I grew up with Christianity and I remember questioning it greatly. Some things didn't work for me. Some things did... I grew up being told God is going to take care of everything and it doesn't always work out that way. And then you're told 'Well, it's God's will.' I got my issues. Man, you don't want to get me started."
I'm pausing because this makes me really annoyed.
When is the last time you were authentic? Many of us have gotten so good at reading the script that we aren't even sure when our version of authentic looks like. I'm certainly not suggesting you buy a tube of lunchmeat and construct a garment (as you read, Lady Gaga has already done that, so it's not creative anymore. Haha.) I'm asking why you, son of the King of Glory, are doing the same things you did yesterday, the day before that, and the day before that? Why are you following the same ideas? Why are you lacking the courage to do something new? Don't you realize that because you are the son of God, joint heir with Christ, that you carry the full weight of heaven behind you?
You carry the weight of heaven. You represent God on earth.
Let that hit you.
So could that be why Christianity has become so, to use their words, boring? It is just as trendy to invalidate the prudish and stodgy ways of Christianity as it is to enjoy a little internet porn.
I am a son of my Papa. I love him, He is mine. But I do not refer to myself as a Christian or religious. I don't join the Facebook groups. I don't forward the emails. Frankly, I just don't want to be associated with the whole social stigma (and roadblocks) that precedes them. (I challenge you, say the word Christian to a 20-something unbeliever and watch their eyes glass over). I made that change several years ago and it's forced me to be creative when people ask me what I am--especially if I deny being a Christian. I will never deny Jesus--for crying out loud, my eyes shine when I talk about him--no one would believe me anyway. The presence of the Holy Spirit is fire in my bones--every day He is thicker in me. But Christianity, the religion, the fences, and the damage it has already inflicted on so many with its poorly-executed holy wars and social hysterias (a rapture prophesy comes to mind).... It is not who my Father is, and therefore it is not me.
Consider that perhaps too many systems in this world persist beyond their usefulness.
I believe Daddy (that's what He is!) is doing a brand new thing. You can't put new wine in old wineskins. Pruning is always painful. Discipline always smarts. But to stay in the place of death when you could pursue life...oh my heart just hurts for (1) all that you are missing and (2) all that the Kingdom suffers by the loss of your vitality. We are a body, and when your part falls asleep, we cannot replace you. We pour resource on you until you (a) heal, or (b) die.
You are His son (or daughter, if it feels better to you). Son of God. (Gal 4:7 NASB) If you were brought up to believe you were a servant or a slave or a mere worm, perhaps go back and read it all again. Take notes. Who does it say that you are?
I feel a renewed responsiblity to live out according to my blueprint. There has never been another me in the history of the world. There never will be again. I am realizing that something about me brings God great delight. He sees his unique fingerprint in me. I must have a very unique purpose. I must matter in a way that no one else does. I am the one and only me.
So all these thoughts swirl through my head. You know the scene in Matrix 3 when thousands of machines swarm in a black cloud to form a single face? That's what I see, and the face is shouting one phrase: WAKE UP, OH SLEEPER!
People are so darn hungry. It's time to be bread. Or they just might have to settle for a meat dress.