Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Cynic in me

Sorry this is a long one (aren't they all) ANYWAY! Last night I went to a 7th Day Slumber concert. I have to admit that it was my first concert in ages and all in all I would say that it was a pretty good time. I’ve been a fan since their first album came out so it was pretty cool to see them live. I mean they’re nothing spectacular I’ve certainly heard better music, better lyrical writing, and seen a better live show. I don’t think I’d even say they are great musicians (even though they sound really good together) but then again they made it pretty clear that music is second on their priority list. They are about winning people to Christ. I’m sure that if they could find away to draw as many people in without the music they would do that too. But that brings me to the title of this blog. These guys played a few songs, shared a bit, played a few more songs and then had everyone sit down on the floor for the last song. It is sort of their worship song and the lead singer was down on his knees in front of everyone praising God (good no problems yet) but then after Joseph (the lead singer) got up and shared his testimony with us (also good). Unfortunately it was word for word what he said last time in Steinbach, and we have a CD at the Hub that has the same thing, again word for word. Which also is fine because he has come out of that place and he dealt with suicide and drug addiction and all of that (but sometimes I like to hear a bit more about what God did YESTERDAY as well as ten years ago… maybe that’s just me). Anyway Joseph talked and the guitar player played a nice lick over and over and Joseph asked people to raise their hands if they had ever thought about suicide, if they had thought about suicide this week, if they had a plan to do it this week (It was amazing to see how many hands went up) and so on. Well then came the Alter call and Joseph called up all those who wanted to change their lives. And about 70 or so youth came up. And now we come to the part that bothers me. As Joseph’s voice reaches the crescendo the bass comes in with the low deep notes, and the drummer starts hitting the crash and everyone’s hairs stand up on end and the emotions start to go overboard. And then the music fades and there is this huge group of people standing up front and Joseph says, “I’m not trying to get my numbers up but I know that there are at last 40 more of you out there and you need to come up.” And so he counts to three and then probably at least 40 more kids go up to the front, and once again the bass kicks in and the drummer plays those symbols. Now I appreciate what these guys are doing, but I also have enough experience at concerts/youth rally’s to know that most of these kids are emotional and not totally thinking straight. I also know that enough about music and psychology to know that if you play music a certain way you can get people to shiver and get all goose bumpy. Well after this the band tells all these kids that they want to talk to them privately, so they lead all the kids into a back room. And Lee and I decide that we’ll go and see if we can help out and pray for some of these kids. The band came in said some stuff and the 98% of the kids left right after the band, no prayer no anything. Watching most of the kids leave it was kinda like, “hmmm well I guess that’s over when’s the next emo high?” Now Maybe I’m a cynic, and maybe I don’t know all that happened there. And I certianly know enough not to limit God's power to change poeple. I also know that the church will attempt to do some follow up, but it all seemed manipulative to me. I struggled with this when I was doing door to door in Peru as well. Is using the wrong method (e.g. creating an emotional high for commitments) a good thing? Is it at least better than nothing? Would as many kids gone up front if Joseph had just shared and said, “If you want prayer go to the back and someone will be there to pray with you?” Somehow I doubt it… but like I said maybe I’m just a cynic who has experienced the emotional high too many times.

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