Christian Cliches That May Not Mean What You Think They Do

This may seem like an odd topic to add to this blog, but I’ve discovered that other Christians who play Folk music often struggle with the same issues that have perplexed me over the years.

Yes, there are Christians who play folk music. In fact, during the heart of the Folk Revival, Folk musicians borrowed heavily from Gospel genres and made friends with believers. The mainstream Folk movement itself included many Christians, and most of the earliest “Jesus Musicians” had their roots in the Folk movement.

But that was before demagogues, bribe-takers, and hatemongers deluded millions of under-educated people who self-identify as Christians on surveys into supporting movements that oppress people of color and deprive the poor of necessities, while destroying the environment and enriching the rich beyond belief. In case you wondered, there is NOTHING Christian about such movements or the people who lead them, no matter how many crosses are on their ties or meeting-houses. (Check out Matthew 23:13-33 if you’re interested in Jesus thinks of such pretenders.)

That said, some of my fellow Folk musicians distrust me today because my faith was never shaken by watching the same kinds of Pharisees and hypocrites that Jesus called “Sons of hell” continuing to behave as Pharisees and hypocrites. But that’s okay, there have been Christian groups who distrust me because I play Folk music.

In case you wondered, holding to the Apostles Creed and liking Folk music and related styles were not mutually exclusive in 1958-1964, and they are not mutually exclusive today. I started my web page SchoolOfTheRock.com in 2011 as an attempt to help young independent Christian musicians navigate the same difficulties as other independent musicians, while guarding against dangers that seem to target them especially. Part of that effort was looking at what it takes to have a faith that stands against, not only the obvious, outward enemies of Christ, but also against the wolves in sheep’s clothing.

It wasn’t long before other people who have had issues with culturally hyperconservative churches or local demagogues started asking questions about their personal struggles. Often there is stress between what church culture expects of them and what they they actually get out of their own Bibles and their own sense of God’s leading or calling on their lives. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.

It didn’t start out this way, but part of the SchoolOfTheRock.com site has gradually accumulated a series of articles on phrases that are used, and sometimes misused, in certain Church settings. None of these phrases are in the Bible. The first two are often used – and misused – by well-intentioned people who don’t necessarily realize the implications of what they’re saying. Unfortunately, the second one is also used by less well-intentioned people as a control mechanism. The third one is used that way almost exclusively. The fourth is simply “shorthand” for a doctrine that causes more apparent division among believers than it really should, once you look at its full implications.

If you find your way to the “Things to Think About” page of the SchoolOfTheRock.com site, you’ll find several other articles of interest to people fighting cultural battles inside and outside of the church, but the following list may give you some ideas.

  • “When God Closes a Door, He Opens a Window.” – When you try something that doesn’t work out, folks will sometimes tell you “When God closes a door, He opens a window.” They’re really just trying to tell you that something else, and maybe something better will come along. Please don’t imagine that God closes every door though. Sometimes people close the doors, and the last thing you should do is take such setbacks as a sign that you misunderstood God’s will. Check out our article “Sometimes People Close the Doors.”
  • “Bloom Where You’re Planted” – Are you preparing for some Christian service that you feel God has called you to, but you belong to a church where there are few opportunities to serve and the leadership keeps finding reasons for not entrusting you with any meaningful ministry or commission? Or are you whining with Anakin Skywalker “Obi Wan is holding me back?” Check out our article, “Is ‘Bloom Where You’re Planted’ a Universal Principle?”
  • “Spirit of Rebellion” – This one-size-fits-all “diagnosis” is the favorite control mechanism of many sects and cults. But is that phrase even meaningful? Check out our article “Do you have a Spirit of Rebellion?”
  • “Once Saved Always Saved” – Maybe you’re a non-Baptist who is curious why Baptists are so committed to this one tenet. Maybe you’re a Baptist who wonders why every Christian doesn’t understand how important this is to you. Either way, a look at some historical events and trends that brought the Baptist movement to where it is today should shed some light on the subject. Check out our article “What does ‘Once Saved Always Saved’ Really Mean?”

By the way, the night before I wrote this blog, I discovered that my mailing list software was broken – apparently the company hosting it decided they didn’t want to anymore. So if you’ve tried to e-mail me before and couldn’t get through, please try again.

In the meantime, make music that other folks enjoy, enjoy music that other folks make, and do all the good you can!

Paul

Paul

About Paul

Paul Race has been writing and playing all kinds of music since the 1960s, though he tends to favor acoustic and traditional songs. He has created resources like CreekDontRise.com, ClassicTrainSongs.com, and SchoolOfTheRock.com to help other musicians get a good start on their own journeys.

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