Friday, August 19, 2005

Paying the Provocative Piper

Just thinking out loud here.

I posted not too long ago about the John Reuben album, "The Boy vs. The Cynic." As you remember, I was none too impressed. I've also discussed my conflict with some of Derek Webb's lyrics, in the context of talking about the Emergent (Post-Modern) church movement.

I have talked at length about my irritation with anti-American, anti-Republican sentiments creeping into my favorite artists' lyrics. (Not that I want to stifle dissent, certainly not. But my opinion's just as valid as theirs.) I expressed my frustration with popular Christian writers impishly spouting the "we're Christian, but don't worry, we're not Repubs" line. This perspective has really become popular in the last five years, as segments of the Church have bent over backwards to distance themselves from the "conservative" presidential administration.

Yet the other night, I was listening to some of my favorite bands from high school (like All Star United and Five Iron Frenzy), and I was singing along with songs like "American Kryptonite" and "Popular Americans" without any qualms.

The question arose in my mind: why am I okay with these songs and not others?

The best I can figure, for good or bad, is this:

The FIF and ASU songs are about America as a whole. The consumer culture, specifically. And I'm okay with taking shots at that. I'm even okay with taking shots at the hypocrisies and foolishness of the Church, from time to time. I mean, any group that produces this and this deserves all of the mockery it receives.

But for some reason, I took offense at Reuben's "Don't accuse me of being conservative" attitude. I took exception to Webb's "I'm ashamed of being white and middle-class" mantra.

So the question arises: Am I more defensive of my white, middle-class conservatism than my country or faith?

I'm tempted to defend this feeling by saying that I'm just tired of being the focus of so many people's ire. After all, it's hip to be liberal and anti-Bush. All the "cool kids" are doing it. Heck, even all of the "cool Christians" are doing it. So one explanation for my reactions could be that I'm just tired of being the butt of Donald Miller's jokes.

But honestly, I don't know if that's all there is to it.

Not that I'm repenting of my beliefs, or my race, or my economic status. Not at all.

But I'm becoming more aware of what groups and beliefs I tend to defend more. And I'm not quite sure of what that says about me.

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