I took several of my youth this weekend to an outdoor Christian concert event called Rock the Light in Kansas City. This is our fifth year attending and it is very popular with my youth for many reasons. One is indeed because they speak the language of music and there is good music. Red, Kutless, Thousand Foot Krutch, Audio A. They love it because they have a whole Saturday where they can run around without major supervision or expectations. They get to just be for 10 hours with rocking music pounding all around them. It is a highlight trip for all of us. Except for one aspect. The Christian merchandise. Every year I get nauseated at the newest products available for purchase to these young consumers. Here are a few from this year:
Nice shirts, huh? I mean, "Liars go to Hell" in big letters. That is just beautiful, isn’t it? Exactly the type of shirt the Jesus would wear to communicate his love to a world in need. "I am . . . Satan’s Worst Nightmare". Are you serious? Yes, "Satan" or the evil of the world cowers in fear of us. Reminds me of the old saying, "Grabbing a tiger by the tail."
And my favorite . .
These type of things provide a good opportunity to talk with my youth about critical thinking. Similar to a time four years ago when we were on a mission trip with an organization and they gathered us in the mornings to teach us songs to share with local children at the afternoon. One of the songs they taught our youth was a song about "blowing up the devil". That evening at our youth group devotional I talked with them about how the words we sing can convey a message we don’t want to – which is violence. I don’t care that we are talking about fighting evil – I don’t propose we bomb anything or anyone. To kids in a neighborhood where violence is all they have witnessed, let’s make the radical claim of Jesus Christ which is the way of peace.
We need to think about what we buy and what we sing and what it says to the world around us about the nature of God. Believe me . . . they do.