So last night was the final night of our Fly Me To The Show tour. Fun times were had by all.... Maybe a little TOO fun! Haha. The evening gradually descended into the realm of prank night, with various bands pulling stunts on each other. Haha. Prank night is always a blast.
For example, Paul, the audio guy on the tour, ran up on stage dressed up as a crazed hawk fan, complete with an ensemble of hawk apparel, and demanded each of our autographs during a song. Earlier, the entire tour joined John Reuben in his little interlude sway/dance. Britt Nicole and her drummer Josh decided to prank us by writing "What stinks up here? Who farted?" on a white board and bringing it on stage. Of course, Jas turned it around on her when she pointed to herself to claim responsibility for the joke... Jas yelled "It was Britt!" Also, the entire tour joined us on stage for a group rendition of our song "Ode to Lord Stanley".
It was a fairly loose, laid back evening, with a ton of crazy stuff going on. As the evening got crazier, Jas explained to the crowd that it's the last night of tour, and that's why the show is so unusual.... I commented to the crowd that it would be crazy to see a band that's already nuts on their last show of tour.... Like Gwar or some crazy band like that. I brought up Gwar because they're probably the most extreme example of a band that is known for having absolutely over-the-top shows. I made that comment, and thought nothing of it.
Well after the show, a young man comes up to us during signing and asks, "Who thought it was a good idea to bring up Gwar at a Christian Concert?" I quickly claimed responsiblity for the comment, and he proceeded to ask me why I thought it was appropriate to bring up a band like Gwar in front of an audience of Christians.... He suggested that I should have used Underoath or Norma Jean as an example instead, because they're Christian bands.
This young man is clearly serious about his faith, and I commend him for that... But what he is implying is that as a Christian musician, I have a responsibility to act as if Christian music is the only music in existence. He is confronting me on my "reality infraction" because I referenced a band that is not Christian, and therefore, not a part of his perception of the world.
The thing is, I have never even listened to Gwar. I don't know the name of a single song, album, or member. I've never seen them live or on TV... but because I'm in my twenties, I live in North America, and I'm ALIVE... I am aware of their reputation for having insane live shows, and it was that reputation I was referring to in my comment. Am I endorsing them or their behavior? No! I simply referenced their reputation.
This would hardly be blog-worthy if it was an isolated incident.... but because the 4 of us in Hawk Nelson are Christians, and we play primarily Christian events, we come across people like this fairly often.
Recently we played at a "Christian club" where the venue refused to let our crew guys test the audio system with "non-Christian" music. This interfered with them doing their job, because they use the same songs to test the system every day. That's how they ensure some level of consistency from show to show. The venue ended up clearing their staff out of the venue for 20 minutes to allow our crew to do their job.... because they didn't want their staff to be "exposed to secular music". I mean, it's commendable sentiment, but who decides what's Christian or not? Is U2 Christian? Is Switchfoot? Is Thrice? What makes a band Christian or not? Having Christians in the band? Being on Christian radio?
Fundamentally, what on earth is wrong with listening to music created by non-Christians? Is it fair to make such a blanket rule against it? Shouldn't every piece of music, every artist, every song, stand for itself?
I guess this whole line of thought leads me to a place where I start to question the spirit behind it all.... I tend to think that when we start to allow a spirit religion to rule our lives, it's easy to miss the core of what God intends. When we rely on rules, regulations, and guidelines to rule our lives and "keep us out of trouble", we can miss some of the freedom that Salvation brings.
I'm reminded that when Jesus walked the earth, the people he was most critical of were the Pharisees... The religious institutions..... The people that made rules and protocols more important than the heart behind them. Clearly from this example, it's possible to follow all the religious rules, and still miss the point. The Pharisees sure did.
So I ask myself, who am I more like? The Pharisees or the Disciples? Am I more like the religious clerics who are all about rules, protocols, and establishments? Or am I more like the ragtag band of Jesus-followers that wanted nothing more than to follow Him? That's a question every believer should wrestle with.
I would never claim to have it all figured out, and I certainly don't have all the answers for some of these difficult questions. These are things that we each need to wrestle with for ourselves.... As I've wrestled with them, these are some of the thoughts I've come to. Maybe you will come to different ones.... but what's important is the struggle.
Wisdom is knowledge that is fought for and earned. It costs us something, and that's why it's so valuable.