Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine's Day Commission

Dear Friends,

It seems like another distasteful attack on Christianity occurred a few nights ago on the Grammy Awards telecast.  I did not view it myself and feel uncomfortable commenting but from what I heard it was very disturbing.  So I went in search of a commentary as I felt the issue is one we continue to confront in media and with pop icon wannabes:

Jiana West of the St. Louis Christian Living Examiner wrote a blog about this incident.  What do you think of her analysis?

" Last night was the 2012 Grammy Awards. One thing you can bet on while viewing music ceremonies such as these is a very strange performance that will have people talking to the next day.

Singer/rapper Nicki Minaj got on-stage last night and delivered a bizarre and controversial show that some have called “blasphemous” and many more have just called plain awful. Indeed, while I found the show incredibly distasteful and creepy, I also found it utterly terrible in its execution. I couldn't decide whether to be offended by the imagery or the performance itself. Religious or not, many viewer comments regarding Nicki Minaj’s set were negative or just outright confused.

The Big Red Flag for the lunacy that was about to ensue later in the evening was Nicki Minaj showing up on the red carpet accompanied by a man dressed up like the Pope. Uh oh.

Towards the end of the show, she opened her performance with a video that depicted a priest being led up to a room to “exorcise” the demon out of her. She launched into her song, “Roman Holiday”, chained to a wall while scantily-clad dancers jumped about below her. Then she sang a medley of “O Come All Ye Faithful”, complete with a robe-wearing choir, before reverting back to her song and beginning to levitate above the stage.

Minaj has always been quite the character. She has always seemed like a Lady Gaga-wannabe in some respects, with her weird costumes and persona. In the past she has claimed that, when she’s on-stage, she has different personalities and alter-egos, ,one of which is "roman Zolanski" whom we saw being “exorcised” last night and is the one she refers to the most in her songs. There is, perhaps, some symbolism here. But make no mistake, this is not an example of controversial “art” by a brilliant and talented artist trying to say something. There was nothing tasteful or artful about
anything she did.  

Now the religious community, especially the Catholic Church, is outraged by Nicki Minaj’s act. This, of course, is just what many “artists” today want, which is attention and to have people talking about them. Minaj completely succeeded on that front but she also highlighted a hard-to-deny fact: Christianity, in this country, has become a joke. It’s something to be mocked and mimicked but the minute someone says anything disparaging about Islam, or Lowe’s pulls their commercials during a show about a Muslim family,  the P.C. police are on the patrol and boycotts ensue. While I disagreed with Lowe’s making a show of pulling their ads during the program, “All-American Muslim”, the hypocrisy shamelessly displayed in the media is most tickling to observe. After all, if Minaj had drawn a picture of Mohammad or something equally offensive in Islamic tradition it would be a whooole new ball of wax then, wouldn’t it, America?

So how should Christians respond to this kind of behavior? How should we react when our God is mocked and publicly made fun of and no one blinks an eye? Or even in our personal lives, when people make disparaging remarks about the way we live, which in many cases may be the complete opposite of what society encourages? Our reaction shouldn’t be surprise, that’s for sure. Biblically, we are told that this will happen and Christians are encouraged to consider it a good thing when we have to deal with things like this because of Christ.
1 Peter 4: 12-19: 'Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.'
To clarify, barely-talented singers getting up on-stage and mocking religion can’t be compared to what Christians in other parts of the world have to endure on a daily basis. You have to admit that in America, Christians have got it pretty darn good. We are free to worship openly in large, comfy churches made especially for that purpose. Seriously, you think the government in China would let Christians  build multi-million dollar complexes that seated 40,000? We don't have to meet in secret. We can hand out Bibles and tracts in public without fear of being arrested.

Christians in this country freak out because the Ten Commandments are taken down in court houses or because our kids can’t pray in schools, but the reality is, this isn’t persecution. If you want to know the truth of it, if Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga and the treatment of Tim Tebow are examples of the things that make us the most upset, we’re doing all right for ourselves.

Why are we so shocked when our increasingly dark culture makes fun of Christians or throws a finger up to our God? Sure, it’s annoying but issuing long statements and whatnot condemning their actions as if it’s actually going to do something just seems like a waste to me. John Piper once spoke on the subject of persecution and he said something that I’ll never forget: “What makes you think that Christians have a right for anything?!” He’s right. We're lucky we can do the things we do in this country right now.

Christians don't belong here. This nation isn’t Christian. This world isn’t God’s kingdom. The Bible makes it clear that Satan is the ruler of this time. The early Christians were heavily persecuted: stoned, murdered, tortured, crucified. But the Gospel still spread like wildfire in that culture. Today there are Christians in some parts of the world who suffer because of their faith in Christ but Christianity is still doing well.

Christians in this country have been spoiled and softened, and I do include myself in that. We still have much power. Our politicians coddle and pander to us because there are a lot of religious people in this country but best believe if the roles were reversed—if atheists were in the majority—our leaders would cater to them just as well. We’re used to people babying us, so when people in the entertainment industry, or non-religious people, come along and challenge our comfort, we throw a hissy fit about it. We shouldn’t because the more secular our society becomes, the more we’re going to see things like this. The tough skin needs to start developing very soon.

While I find it difficult to honestly say I hope that Christians in this country endure the kind of hardship that our other brothers and sisters have, I also can’t say that if it did happen it wouldn’t be for the best. Maybe we need that kick in the pants. I don’t anticipate it happening in my lifetime, but I imagine that if Christianity did become the leper that it is in some other countries, people might be more inspired to look at Jesus and Christians might be more inspired to spread the Gospel. Regardless of Christians' successes and failures throughout history, and the attempts to mock and stamp Him out, it must really irritate certain people that more than two thousand years later Christ is still a force to be reckoned with and He always will be. So run and tell that.

I’m sure God appreciates our anger at the fact that people try to make a joke out of Him, and our good-natured attempts to defend Him in moments like this, but we should also remind ourselves that this is to be expected in a world like this. We should also be reminded that when all is said and done, God still has the last laugh."

I think Jiana has this one spot on.  On this Valentine's Day, rather than cursing the darkness, let's light a candle and share Christ's love with another in a tangible way and teach your American Heritage Girl to do the same.

Until Next Time,

No comments:

Post a Comment