Monday, September 15, 2008

Rapture, in progress

Update on "Rapture Ready" - I'm nearing the end, and find there are several chapters on music. By and large Radosh is less dismissive of the music and musicians he encounters, though still there is a healthy critique. Interestingly (tellingly?) it appears that the less "like" evangelicals his interviewees are, the more open he is to what they bring to the discussion. And he obviously likes the popular music that is being imitated and/or created; which means both that he is a bit warmer to this subject and that he is critical in a medim-specific way.

Reading over the weekend, some perspective started to coalesce: 1) It is easy for me to make fun of this evangelical sub-culture, and sometimes difficult to love those who do embrace or thrive or wallow in it. To the degree that this means I am dismissive or uncaring about those who are genuinely my brothers and sisters in Christ, this is something I need to confess, repent of, and put behind me. 2) Regardless of how spot-on I think Radosh's observations may be, there is still a spiritual reality at play. "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14) For example, I understand that there are genuinely offensive ways we communicate the gospel. Radosh exposes all kinds of apparent and (I'm sorry to say, probably real) anti-Semitism in the church. But he cannot understand the exclusive claims of Christ, nor how that necessarily shapes our approach to all other religions. Sure, we too easily dismiss people's experience, feelings, values, etc. But even when we get all that "right," we are still operating from a world-view that believes "there is salvation in no other name ..." The cross will always be a stumbling block. The lesson from "Rapture Ready" is to make sure we are not putting up the wrong stumbling blocks, and so obscuring the only important one.

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