Here is yet another transcription of one of Derek Webb's podcasts (you can find the first one here
). This one comes from Derek Webb's Podcast #3
, which I'm going to break up into 2 or 3 parts, because it's really long. Please take the time to read this; he says some really excellent stuff that both Christians and non-Christians should think about. I know it's long, but it's really an easy read. Let me know what you think, and enjoy!
“I was raised in the church. I was raised going to church. But I think, like for a lot of people, it was more cultural. It was just something that we did. My parents raised us in the church, so I grew up knowing the language of it, which I think is maybe a little unfortunate, because people get so concerned with and so wrapped up in the words, knowing all the right words, using all the right words, that we don’t really understand what we’re talking about. I think Christians have a really hard time with a kind of exclusive language that we speak – many words that we don’t even know ourselves what they mean. And the language, the code only works when we’re talking to other Christians who also know the words. Even in the academic church circles, so much importance is put on learning all the right words and using all the right words. So if you don’t, we’re kind of concerned whether or not, you know, we should maybe pray for you, because you’re not using all the words we’re familiar with. That’s the thing I love about people in the church like Don Miller and folks like that who don’t use the words we’re familiar with and so it makes us a little uncomfortable, because they use plain language to say things that maybe we agree with, but in a way that we’re not used to hearing. But that’s kind of our job, not only as artists, but as people in the church, to say things in a language that people can understand, to speak in plain language. You know, there are so many words that are so confusing. I mean, the words like “justification”, “sanctification”, “atonement”, “gospel”, “witness”, “walk”. Many of us don’t even know what these words mean, but we use them. And I feel like it just puts up more of a language barrier between us and the people who we’re in this culture to love. We barely know what these words mean.
Our Christianity can’t be about winning people to our particular set of words. It can’t be about winning people to our particular way of thinking. It can’t be about winning people to listening to our particular type of categorized music or buying into our particular type of categorized politics. That’s not what Christianity is. It’s about recklessly, radically loving people. Just loving people. It’s about feeding people. It’s about putting clothes on people. It’s about finding jobs for people. It’s about putting houses around people who are homeless. It's about engaging with people in the way Jesus might have engaged with them, as Christians are supposed to be little Christs, ambassadors of Jesus. Jesus did not have a particular party line he walked when it comes to politics. He did not have a particular set of morals that he was hellbent against you breaking down. If anything, His most harsh language was reserved for arrogant church leadership, who was trying to put the weight of the law on people, and he was trying to set people free. Not to say that we don’t need the law, but our faith isn’t in the fact that we can live right, that we can vote right, that we can do right. It’s that one has done these things right on our behalf, and that liberates us to love people, to engage with culture, to engage with art, to engage with politics, all because we have a framework in scripture that liberates us to do so.
Jesus is Lord of all creation, and that liberates us to engage with all creation. It puts nothing out of the bounds of our creativity and out of our professional engagement. If you’re a businessperson, you don’t have to work at a church. If you’re an artist, you don’t have to go be in a praise band. You need to go engage with culture, engage with creation, because it’s our job to go into culture, into creation and redeem it for God’s glory, and I think that takes more than just mocking secular marketing and secular music and taking out all the things that makes it dangerous for us and risky, making it sugar-free and guiltless and putting Jesus or morality (or what’s the difference, as far as we’re concerned) into it for people… that’s not our job. It’s to go in and say, “all of art has intrinsic value, because we are artists made in the image of a God who is creative.” The whole first chapter of Genesis is devoted to our witnessing our creative God working in the world. It’s the first thing we learn about. In the beginning, God created. And we are made in His image, whether or not we are Christians or whatever faith we ascribe to. I mean, we’re all created in God’s image and therefore creative people. Even if it’s in the way that I can creatively lie to you, I’m a creative person. Even in the way that I pervert the image I’ve been made in, it’s still there. There still is something, even broken, that I bear as one created in the image of God."