In an effort to avoid the sensationalist reaction that seems to be norm at current events, I refrained from blogging about the events of the 2014 Grammys. More specifically, I resisted the urge to pontificate about the mock wedding ceremony to Macklemore’s Same Love, which was designed to demonstrate that same sex marriage was no different than traditional marriage.
I concur with this tweet
Remember when The Grammys was about music – and not cramming a social agenda down our throats?
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) January 27, 2014
I’m not sure when the Grammy’s became something more than music and a platform for a social cause, but nonetheless, there it was. Ed Stetzer of Christianity Today wrote an interesting commentary on the matter about what the Grammys really revealed was a shift in society,
Now, the Grammy Awards presentation is not the show you watch for high-brow cultural commentary or family-friendly entertainment. News reports indicate that many parents were shocked by Beyoncé (among others). I honestly have to wonder if these parents have heard of Beyoncé before now, and why were they expecting the Grammys to be family friendly. (J. Lo’s dress from 2000 is easy to recall from the dark recess of our memories.)
So, the Grammys are not representative of our culture, but in some ways they are indicative of its shifts. And, the Grammy moment is a good moment to remind ourselves of a few things.
Well, I’ll have to disagree that the Grammys are not representive of our culture since music is about as cultural expression as you can get. But yet, he raises a good point about shifts. The fact that Beyonce gyrated on stage (why with her success and status she still feels the need to do this is beyond me), Katy Perry doing some kind of vodoo dance, and the night’s crowning moment – a ceremony with mainly same sex couples, really IS a commentary.
This is where we are…
So what surprised me most were the reactions from Christians in shock and horror at this display. As I scrolled through my Facebook and Twitter feed that night and the next day, I caught a glimpse of articles and proclamations that indicated Christians were turning their TVs off and wanting nothing to do with it.
And I thought, why?
Regardless of whether a social commentary has its place at the Grammys, the reality is that this is where we are as a society. The shift has already taken place. We can turn the dial, huff in disgust, shake our heads or even throw out the TV altogether but it does not change the fact that same sex marriage is increasingly being accepted as the norm, the human body is increasingly exploited and the dissolution of absolute truth inches ever so forward. Secularism and pluralism are indeed on the rise and finding a comfortable place in our society.
I can’t help but think that what the Grammys really revealed is how out of touch we are to this reality…
But this is the context in which we must proclaim Christ. I don’t know that it profits us to hide into our little comfortable corners and pretend that this is a problem ‘out there’ because that’s where we are to be witnesses and speak the truth in love. And if we are to hold to truth, it must be according to what God says about it in his word. (The fact that Christians are divided on this issue is another concern that we need to grapple with.)
Nonetheless, however disgusted we are at what is going on in our society, it pretty much parallels what was going on in New Testament times. And Paul didn’t hide. Instead, he looked it head on and allowed the grief of what he saw to fuel his ministry and proclamation of the gospel. When he penned the letter to the Romans and talked about the suppression of truth resulting in inordinate affections, I have to imagine it was because he keenly observed it as he sat in Corinth. He knew what was going on. And notice what happened at the Athenian court, “Now while Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw the city was full of idols.” (Acts 17:16) He could have left. He could have huddled in a safe corner and talked about the evils of his culture. Instead, he engaged with the idolatrous. The text says, “he reasoned with them”. That’s where we need to be, too.
Stetzer goes on to say,
As we find ourselves in a new world, we must remember to speak love and truth, always using words filled with God’s grace….We can complain about how everything has changed, but people have been doing that for a long time. Perhaps instead we might unashamedly hold to the truth we know and the hope we have.
We can best do that when we look at our surroundings soberly, compassionately and with the intention of sharing the love of Christ and his truth. But this will certainly be curtailed and undermined if we back down in fear, disgust and the need to run away from the tough stuff in our society that makes us uncomfortable. Don’t turn away. Look it head on. Allow that churning to fuel prayer and active engagement.