On Thursday night my mother, cousin, and I went to see Michael W. Smith and MercyMe in concert at the NYS Fair. Frankly, I'm not a huge listener in the Christian Music category, but Michael W. Smith had been one I liked and knew more of growing up. I certainly have always thought he was a talented singer with a really unique voice in a world of very similar sounding artists. At any rate, the concert was an adventure...
Smith talked about his post-9/11 sessions talking to the other Dubya, George himself, and George asking him to write a song about it. Eventually, Smith wrote this song called "There She Stands", all about the American Flag. Some lyrics:
"Just when you think it might be over
Just when you think the fight is gone
Someone will risk his life to raise her
There she stands ...
When evil calls it’s self a martyr
When all your hopes come crashing down
Someone will pull her from the rubble
There she stands"
Then, Smith proceeded to say, "I'm not here to endorse a particular candidate, but if you love your country, you'll vote in November."
I was really uncomfortable with the whole thing to say the least, though I suppose I ought not to have been caught so off guard. I guess what I just hate is how assumed it was there that night that if you are a Christian, you come with this whole package of beliefs. 'I am Christian, so I must like songs in adoration of the American flag.' 'I am a Christian, so I must be a Republican who will vote for God-inspired George W. Bush.' The list could go on.
The performers, Smith and MercyMe, talked about how much their faith had changed their lives, and the lives of the audience. But I wonder, how have their lives changed? In love of God and neighbor? In following the teachings of Jesus Christ? Or, is Christianity simply "moral living" - no smoking, or drinking, or premarital sex, or hanging out with bad, immoral people. And voting for George. Somehow, I think Jesus was demanding a bit more from us than that.
OK, I'm getting riled up now, so I better close...
But a final question - how about some progressive/open-minded Christian bands? Have any good ones to recommend? I know of a couple, but it seems to be a small genre! Suggestions please!