We tend to marvel at creativity and overlook a lack of content. This is not limited to speakers or artists alone by any means. We all do this in hundreds of different ways, nearly everyday. We do it with food, revealed in statements like, “But it tastes so good” or “I know its bad for me but...” We do it with music, coming out in statements like, “I know this song is bad, but it’s so catchy” or “I don’t really listen to the words, I just really dig the beat.”
I was recently in a restaurant with some family and found myself entertaining the youngsters at the table with really lame magic tricks. I was making salt and pepper shakers disappear under napkins and they reacted like I was Houdini! They were so mesmerized by my tricks that when I wanted to teach them how to do them they didn’t want to learn. This blew me away. How could you not want to learn how to stump all your friends at school? I am convinced that sometimes we would just rather act dumbfounded. We do this so much that it has become a normal part of our character as though its okay. Other times I think we act this way because we are enthralled by something sinful and maybe even entertained by it. Before you start thinking I am writing some stiff, preachy, self-righteousness post, allow me to be vulnerable for a moment.
I recently came across an artist whose sound not only caught my ear, but also won the attention of my heart. This artist talks about some really hot topics in his music and his very weathered intellect has had me captivated for the last month or so. I kept saying to people that I really loved his “authenticity” or “introspection." I was so moved by his creativity that I began to be okay with his very skewed content. I remember saying things like, “Man, I wish Christian artists were this transparent and well spoken.”
As I write this, I am sitting on the 22nd floor of a hotel in Chicago and the sun is creeping its way towards my window. I find myself reminded of something I read recently in the book, “Why We Love The Church” by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck.
“The Bible is all for honesty, truth, and sincerity, but authenticity is something a little different. If authentic is simply the opposite of fake, contrived, and hypocritical, then I’m all for it. But godliness demands a lot more than just being real. In fact, godliness demands that we stop acting like we want to and start acting like Christ. I sometimes find, especially among my peers, that authenticity is not a self-abasing means of growing in holiness but a convenient cover for endless introspection, doubt, uncertainty, anger, and worldliness. So that if other Christians seem pure, assured, and happy we despise them for being inauthentic. Granted, the church shouldn’t be happy-clappy naive about life’s struggles. Plenty of psalms show us godly ways to be real with our negative emotions. But the church should not apologize for preaching a confident Christ exhorting us to trust Him in all things. Church is not meant to foster an existential crisis of faith every week, nor are we justified in leaving church because there seem to be too many answers offered to our questions. Belief is not the enemy of authenticity.”
The world will hand you many lies, but God handed us Himself...authentic and perfect. Truth in the flesh.