Estimated reading time: 5 minutes:-)
Yesterday, we had someone really cool come to Lutheran High School, and his message touched my heart.
Ever heard of Newsboys? The Christian rock band that kind of revolutionized Christian music? (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look them up right now. I dare you;) Well, yesterday, the lead guitarist for Newsboys from 2005 to 2009 came and played for chapel at LuHi.
He was hilarious. Usually, worship class sets up chapel beforehand, getting ready for whoever is leading. We’ll bring down the curtain, organize the sound system, run cords, etc. Most guest speakers refrain from talking to us while we set up. I think it’s a social norm or something.
But yesterday, this man comes on stage and starts talking to us. He tells us jokes and just comes across as a super fun guy.
After we finished setting up, we circled up to pray. Usually, one of us prays for the speaker, but this time, he offered to pray. And as he prayed, he said something along the lines of, “God, I have no freaking idea what I’m going to say up there. But Spirit I invite you to speak through me.” I think it gave Loesel a bit of scare to hear that (iykyk;).
Anyway, chapel starts, and he gets going on his guitar. He was really talented, and his voice wasn’t bad, either. He had the entire student body laughing when he brought up teachers and students to sing with him. It was hilarious.
I’d say 85% of the entire chapel was just fun. We were just laughing at his jokes, singing along to his goofy songs. As we neared the end, I wondered to myself, “this is all fun and games, but when is this guy gonna talk about Jesus?”
Finally, with three minutes left in the chapel, he slowed down his guitar and asked for our attention. I wouldn’t do it justice trying to rewrite what he said (the guy’s from Australia, so you’d be missing out on his super cool accent. Plus, he has a way of talking that’s just hard to capture because it’s so fun and in the moment). So I’ll rephrase his message in my own words.
This is what he said:
Sometimes the enemy of faith is religion.
I don’t understand why asking questions in school is called learning but asking questions in church is called doubting.
I grew up thinking going to church meant you had to dumb yourself down. I grew up thinking going to church meant letting go of everything fun in my life. I thought being a Christian meant you had decided to be the most boring person possible. I thought being a Christian meant I had to follow rules and raise my hand at the right time and only smile when I should and never truly laugh again.
But I was so wrong.
You see, if you think Christianity means all these things, you’ve been deceived.
If you’re a Christian, it doesn’t mean you need to fit the worldly stereotype of people who look down their noses at the rest of the world.
If you’re a Christian, it means you are the least sexist, racist, bigoted people on the planet.
If you’re a Christian, it doesn’t mean you’re a Conservative.
It means you’re a radical.
If you’re a Christian, it doesn’t mean you need to leave behind science and logic in your leap of faith.
It means you partner with science and logic to see God alive and working in every aspect of creation.
If you’re a Christian, it doesn’t mean you can’t ever have fun again. It doesn’t mean you must say goodbye to laughter, to joking around, to being silly.
It means you’ve been born again, and you have something even greater than happiness. You have joy. Which is probably the most fun thing on this planet.
He finished with this:
If you’re a Christian, it doesn’t mean you’re a rule follower, a saint, a ‘good’ person.
It means you’re a child of God. It means you’re beautiful and loved whether you like it or not. It means you belong already.
I want that message to sink into your hearts this weekend.
It’s okay to ask questions. It’s okay to raise your hand. It’s okay to smile and laugh. It’s okay to be silly. It’s okay to be human. God made you one, after all.
After listening to this message, I was still wrapping my head around it when he finally finished. Dozens of people gathered around him afterwards to talk with him, and I starting gathering cords in the background, processing everything I heard.
After I finished cleaning, I joined some of my friends to thank him before he left. And it was then I understood what it looked like to put radical ideas into practice.
He smiled at the six or so of us as we gathered around to thank him.
“You all are some beautiful girls,” he said right off the bat. “I have daughters of my own, same age. You are beautiful.”
In today’s culture, it’s radical to say people are beautiful. Sometimes it’s even weird. But that one comment, spoken in true kindness, changed my entire day.
Then, he shifted to one of my good friends.
“Where is your beautiful heritage from?” he asked.
Now, that’s radical.
“Korea,” she responded, smiling.
I tell you this, convicted in my own ignorance and fear, that I never even thought to ask her where she was from.
Being a Christian means not being afraid to talk about radical things. Not being afraid to love people radically. And yesterday, I learned a little bit of what that means.
Go out and be radical.