I was listening to the Waiting this week. The band from Georgia from 1997ish. The Christian band who has every song as an alter call. 1996 and 1997 are when I remember really caring about Jesus and dedicated my life to him, and God used a lot of CCM to help me.
Those days were the heyday of CCM, Christian rock, and the advent of contemporary services/rock concert services. This was also the time when the events of the Lost Kids of Rockdale County took place. I'm not describing it, but Google it. I clearly remember attending a Throne event once (a Christian rock worship service with mostly dcTalk songs) and feeling very spiritually high. Some of the kids in town began to worship Jesus because of the electric guitars and fun songs.
But for the most part, there really was a huge rebellious streak at Memorial Middle School where I attended. I was surrounded by all people who talked crudely, made fun of me, cared only about manicures and hair dye, and pretty much watched whatever came on the WB. Looking back, I was really shocked in 1999 when LKRC blew the whistle on Rockdale's teen syphilis epidemic. Now, I realize that I should not have been surprised. I think of my youth group at Smyrna which was pretty much evenly divided between the preppy kids and the druggie kids. I didn't fit in with either group and mostly related to the druggie kids who liked music but also MTV, Nirvana, and pretty much were having sex in middle school.
But they all claimed to love Jesus and love Christian rock music. Now I realize that their faith was based solely on the rock music and had nothing to do with Jesus. Or they took the bait, got caught, but the fishermen didn't properly explain the Gospel, the law, responsibility, or surrendering to Jesus. Only a happy-go-lucky Barney God who loves all people no matter what. This is why these days every woman coming into my pregnancy center is a "Christian" despite still not being married, pregnant again, and even has an abortion history.
Adding to the rock music gimmick, we also had so much Christianity in Rockdale based on morals, and clean living. It's like my parents' generation equate Christianity with being a good American who votes Republican. Now, I'm a raging Republican, but I also am aware that GOP and Christ are not mutually exclusive. (Though I can assure you, Christ is definitely not a liberal). And I'm not Christian because I vote for GOP, fight abortion, or speak out against gay rights and bad music. When your whole Christian walk is based on good morals and good music, then it is not based on what the Bible actually says but just on what we can do to make the world safe for the kids. Then, the kids grow up having no meaning in life.
So the solution to this? I try to get people to know Jesus and find a legit church these days. Also, to know that Jesus has teeth and is not a doormat. Here's the thing: all people want to go to heaven when they die. Nobody in their natural state wants God to be their God. We want to be our own gods. If you die and Christ still is not Lord over your life, then do you really think you will be in God's kingdom without its King? No, you are going to eternal punishment.
We all deserve this punishment, but God sent Christ to die the place of those he will save. Our price is paid and we don't have to pay anymore in penance or works or alms, although as Luther said, our lives should be one of continual repentance. And repentance only happens when Christ has changed you and the Holy Spirit has come to live in your life. If God rules your life, then you are going to naturally obey his commands because the Holy Spirit makes you able to do so, to even want to do so.
So these days, whenever I hear old Christian music, I still love it, but I see so much seeker sensitivity in it that made the Gospel too easy and cheap. I also groan whenever my dad bemoans the falling of America, saying he's worried about it? Why? America is not a Christian nation although it was founded on Christian morals, and our home is not on this planet anyway. Don't you want to see Christ return again? Let's stop trying to keep our kids safe and actually teach them how to give their lives for Christ as living sacrifices.
By the way, any suggestions on how to do that? The floor is open.