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If I wanted to start a huge Christian blog I know exactly which two subjects I would write about: Calvinism and whether Christians should drink beer. I’d call it the “5 point pint” and it would be massive overnight. Thousands of people would flock to debate the merits of both TULIP and lager. I’d be a huge success and probably go on the 700 Club, which is our version of Oprah.
But if that didn’t pan out, I’d probably stick to the popular method of reacting to pop culture scandals. I’d write about Lady Gaga and Tiger Woods. I’d essentially try to be the Christian edition of US Weekly. And if I did that, I’d have to write about the three things we Christians say about pop culture scandals:
1. “That would never happen to me.”
I don’t know the devil personally, but I have to believe he does a bit of pop locking when he hears Christians say this. We sometimes think we’re infallible or perhaps invincible so when we see someone fail spectacularly we distance ourselves by immediately claiming we will never do the same thing. Jon and Kate are perfect example of that. If I had a dollar for every time a Christian claimed they would never get divorced or do that to their kids, I could buy the complete set of the Left Behind books, which totals 37 at this point. But the truth is, when we act like we’re immune to an issue, we ignore it and allow it ample opportunity to sneak up on us.
2. “I can’t believe they did that.”
Is interrupting Taylor Swift at the MTV awards technically a sin? I’m not sure. I mean we have no Biblical evidence of David jumping on stage and grabbing the mic from Saul. “Yo, I’m going to let you finish, but Jonathan was the best warrior this season. I gotta be real!” But when Kanye West interrupted Swift’s moment in the spotlight, one of the favorite reasons I heard from Christians for not forgiving him was that he had done it before. Friends told me, “He always does that, over and over again.” We couldn’t believe it. But the truth is, I’ve never committed a particular sin just one time. I wish I was “one and done,” but the reality is I am often a repeat offender. The things I mess up usually happen more than once. I have bad habits, not single acts of sin. So that West jumped on stage and wrecked Swift’s moment isn’t surprising. Sin tends to be cyclical.
3. “Wow, they need a savior too.”
This one isn’t as sensational. This one doesn’t make the headlines. Unfortunately, the crazy Christians are the ones who get the attention. The Westboro folks with signs splashed with hate, the militia stockpiling guns. Those grab our collective interest, but there’s a new generation of Christians trying to change. A new generation who refuse to use the Christian “F word,” fine. (How’s life? Fine. How’s your marriage? Fine.) The days where you could pretend that being a Christian meant you were perfect are numbered. Whether it’s folks like Mike Foster and his “People of the Second Chance,” or Craig Gross and his xxxchurch ministry, Christians are starting to admit life is messy and that grace is vital. This reaction might happen less than the other two, but it’s still there.
I don’t know what pop culture scandal we’ll face next. I promise that Lady Gaga is going to rehab for exhaustion eventually. We tend to wear our pop princesses out. But if she does end up there, I pray number 3 will be the reaction you hear most from us Christians because I think it’s the closet to the truth.
After all, pop culture icons need saviors too.
Jonathan Acuff writes a blog called www.stuffchristianslike.net. His first book, Stuff Christians Like, was recently published by Zondervan.
Image via Alberto Garcia.