[For the next few months, my blog comes from my Page 1 comments in my role as Senior Editor of Youthworker Journal. Check it out at http://www.youthworker.com]
Pop Culture, The Eagles and Pet Peeves
The encounter happened when I served as an interim preacher. After one sermon, a kind, elderly woman approached me and asked, “What music feeds your soul?”
I answered her honestly. “The Eagles,” I said, “especially the early years.”
She looked ready to faint. Instead she walked away mumbling to herself.
I was her senior pastor by the time the 2004 presidential elections came around. In one sermon I said I believed it was my job to help members of the congregation think theologically about their political choices rather than fall for ideological rhetoric or sweeping generalizations.
“I will not tell you who I am going to vote for,” I said. “Instead, I want to explain how I am going to make my decision.”
After this sermon my elderly friend approached me again. “I know exactly who you are going to vote for,” she said, “because there is only one way a Christian CAN vote!”
She stared at me, daring me to disagree.
I smiled, put my hand on her arm and tried to create a safe middle ground where we could talk. “All I am asking is that we step back, ask good questions about the candidates and their positions, and make sure we are fighting God’s battles–not our own.”
“How dare you?” she stammered before storming off.
I thought about this encounter June, 2008, as I attended a candidate forum on faith and values featuring the three leading Democratic candidates.
Culture has divided believers for centuries, whether it’s politics or pop culture. At times we all cling so tightly to our pet peeves and personal agendas that we miss God's call for how to engage the world he loves.
Whether it’s burning Beatles albums or insisting that God can only work through one political party, we get stuck and the Kingdom passes us by.
Meanwhile, I still get fired up when I hear “Life in the Fast Lane.” And I’m still not telling who I’m voting for.