The biggest mistake was turning faith into a crusade.
What’s the difference between enjoying entertainment and worshiping? Given how most churches operate, the difference is small. That in itself is not the problem. The problem is our habit of pushing faith into a compartment separate from the rest of life. In this, we accept the fundamental argument of secularists that faith is not critical, that it’s just a hobby and should be treated as such. It’s that thing we do that isn’t for everyone.
And then we have the rhetoric that it is for everyone but that embracing it forces changes that are too narrow, allowing religion to become something that squelches the very leading hand of the Spirit in people who are called outside the mainstream. The problem is the existence of a mainstream in the first place, but no one in religion seems to want to touch that.
We need to attack the whole concept of “mainstream.” This is the source of evil oppression. There should be so many different mainstreams that the term loses its meaning. The very notion of a mainstream comes from the ancient Tower of Babel episode.
Why is there such a thing as “Christian News”? Why does it make this brand of news that Switchfoot refuses to identify as a mainstream Christian band? Why is it news that Brian Welch has gone back to work with Korn? The whole business of a uniquely Christian identity is a massive problem. We should treat faith in Christ as the ultimate norm, but without making so much noise and poking a finger in the eye of those who don’t claim Christ.
It’s because we have bought into the epistemology of materialism that we have this discussion in the first place. We should start from the assumption that faith is normal, and embrace the implied epistemology that comes with it. We don’t restrict ourselves to the a priori acceptance of only what our senses and reason can tell us. Sure, we don’t forget Western society is like that, but we shouldn’t buy into that just so we can impress others and make a sales pitch.
Yes, worship music should have some unique lyrics calling on God. He’s special. And there’s nothing wrong with worship bands that don’t do other music. The Bible recognizes various forms of priesthood. And we recognize that a secular world is generally hostile to the whole idea of worship, but we should generally ignore their categories and do what we do in a healthy mix of music styles and song meanings that express how very “mainstream” faith is. Never mind whether you like their music, we need more Switchfoot and Brian Welch kind of musicians.
We don’t conquer the world with our brand; we strive to leave it behind.