Monday, July 26, 2010

You Don't Have to Guess What I'm Against if You Know What I'm For

Last Friday night, my wife and I went to see Pat Green in Crockett, TX. While I have several of his CD's and have been a big fan of his music for a long time, I spent that afternoon raking hay on the tractor with his songs stuck in my head. While I like just about every song he's done, his most recent radio single really stuck with me. It is one of the few songs that he has recorded that he didn't write. The name of the song is "What I'm For" and here is what he has to say about recording it:

"One of two songs on the album that I didn’t write. It’s by Marc Beeson and Allen Shamlin. When my record company sends me songs -- and they literally send thousands -- my usual reaction is to throw up a little in my mouth. But both this song and “Let Me,” my producer brought to me. What stuck me about “What I’m For” was that it was all wheat, no chaff. I thought maybe the song was too perfect – I remember thinking anyone could have a hit of this song, but I really hope it’s me. "

Here is how the part of the song goes:

I'm for dusty pawn shop guitars
And boxers passed their prime
I'm for soakin' up the wisdom
When an old man speaks his mind.

I'm for laid off factory workers
When the wolf is at the door
You don't have to guess what I'm against
If you know what I'm for

Growing up in church, for some reason, I kind of took on a legalistic approach to Christianity. I kind of grew up with the mentality that following Christ was more about a list of "don'ts" than a list of "dos". You know, good Christians shouldn't swear, drink, smoke, gamble, (insert your favorite vices here). And somewhere along the way it clicked for me that following Christ is more about the things that we should be doing in the world, not the things we should be abstaining from. Likewise, the Christian community, unfortunately, has become a sounding board for all things negative. One thing liberal media has a heyday with is the way Christians are known for protesting, boycotting, and some who claim to be followers of Christ acting violently to express their opinions.

If you don't carefully read this post, it sounds like I'm saying that Christians should not be opinionated when it comes to immorality in the world or that Christians should be silent. Absolutely not! However, we need to be sure that we don't take a "fight fire with fire" approach to expressing our concerns. In Ephesians 4:1-16 Paul tells the church at Ephesus to be humble, gentle, patient, and to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit. He then says that God appointed some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and become mature attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. "14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."

Unfortunately, I think we as Christians have taken on the world's philosophies in dealing with things we don't agree with. Where is the love in a boycott or a protest? More often than not, I've found that these expressions are more attempts to reduce revenues for businesses and make certain people groups know where they stand in the eyes of "the church" and do very little to further the cause of Christ.

So what do we do? How do we combat the forces of evil in our world if it's not through picket signs or picking which stores we should give our business. Well, here's an idea. My wife works at a pregnancy center. She has never stood in protest at an abortion clinic. She's never sent hate mail to a doctor who provides abortion services. But she works for a center where they give counseling, education, maternity clothes, diapers, baby formula, and lots of other great stuff to young mothers and mothers-to-be. Maybe those of us who are concerned by the rise of the Gay/Lesbian movement and it's fast progression into what our culture views as normal, should be more like the people in this article.

I think the song says it all. If Christians support the things that Christ said we should be about, people will not have to worry about the things we are against, because we are spending all of our time and resources doing something about the issues at hand rather than making sure a negative voice is heard. "You won't have to guess what I'm against, if you know what I'm for."

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