Rock on

As the lights dim and the low rumble of the crowd hushes to a mere whisper, I feel the audience’s excitement as they wait for the first band to walk on stage. I observe a dozen or so off in one corner waiting anxiously to get a pit going. Hanging out back are a few punks (in all the glory of the word) clad in black t-shirts and bearing pink hair. I eye the frontline warriors, immovable at the edge of the stage, staring bug-eyed for a first glimpse of the long awaited idol. At first sight of the band a cry erupts from the front and rapidly progresses to the back, and soon the whole room shakes with the roar of ecstatic fans. As the first note sounds, the roar increases to an unbelievable volume, literally blasting anybody within fifty yards of the building. The sound-master cranks up the volume as the frontman belts with passion the first line of a song that will always be remembered by those present. The room explodes.

The energy contained by the pit’s dozen rises to the strength of an army, eventually boiling over into those nearby. Those in back watch the scene eagerly, loving every second of it. Soon enough they’re into it as well, leaving behind any prior feelings of reserve. Meanwhile, the frontline warriors scream a scream that challenges that of the vocalist’s own. The band feeds off the crowd’s fuel and throws it back to the fans with twice the power. Energy is literally bouncing off the walls and pounding against my chest. The energy empowering this room is felt and shared by all.

This is what it’s all about. Why else come to a live performance?

You don’t go to a live concert purely to watch a band play, because if that’s all you wanted than you wasted your money. Just go online and download a few videos, or if you really want you can buy a DVD at your local supermarket. It’s much cheaper. No, people go to a concert to experience the mutual exchange of passion and energy–something you cannot feel by merely listening to the album. With a CD you can hear the words and feel the music, but you simply cannot experience such an exchange of energy if you’re sitting by yourself.

But too little do we reserve this energy and passion for U2 concerts. God called us to gather together, and He said this for a reason. One of the greatest things that can be experienced when we are gathered together is a certain passion and energy that is usually unique to a crowd setting. But when I go to most churches, everybody’s just sitting around, singing quietly. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time for this too (even in a concert), but whatever happened to true, hard-core rocking out?

So to those about to rock, I salute you.

A dangerous statement.

Censorship is a distracting issue with which we should not even have to worry. Near the community in which I grew up in Norther Illinois, seventeen-year-olds cannot legally buy the Rage Against the Machine record. I wonder how much of it has to do with the people in power not wanting the virginal ears of seventeen-year-olds to hear the word (expletive) and how much they do not want them to hear, “Landlords and power whores on my people they took turns,” which is far more dangerous of a statement.

–Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine guitarist and Harvard graduate)
From Rock Stars on God by Doug Van Pelt

“Which is far more dangerous of a statement.”

It really makes me wonder, how often do Christians get so caught up in specific words that they miss the whole point? And why are many of them more offended by the Da Vinci Dode or a synonym for poop than they are by the fact that thousands of nonbelievers in Africa are currently dying of hunger and AIDS?

Lets look at a different type of scenario. Take one of my all-time favorite Creed songs, What’s this life for. Here’s the basic jist of it:

Hurray for a child
That makes it through
If there’s any way
Because the answer lies in you
They’re laid to rest
Before they know just what to do
Their souls are lost
Because they could never find
What’s this life for
I see your soul, it’s kind of gray
I see your heart, you look away
You see my wrist, I know your pain
I know your purpose on your plane
Don’t say a last prayer
Because you could never find
What’s this life for
But they ain’t here anymore
Don’t have to settle no goddamn score
Cause we all live
Under the reign of one king

There have been whole debates on this song, some even going as far as to question Stapp’s faith (google it). But that’s just messed up. I mean, were they even listening?

This song was written after a friend of both Scott Stapp and Mark Tremonti committed suicide. It’s been said (though I haven’t been able to verify it) that the last thing he said before killing himself was, “Now who’s gonna settle the goddamn score?”

This song responds to that by saying, “Don’t have to settle no goddamn score, ’cause we all live under the reign of one king.” It morns the loss of “souls” that acted before realizing exactly “what’s this life for.” For me, the whole point of this song is that the damn score was settled on the cross 2000 years ago.

Honestly, that’s more profound than most of the Christian music I hear on the radio. With or without the “swearing,” it’s also much more dangerous–but that’s a good thing.