Broken-down Poetry: Title Track: A Backstage Christian


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Friday, November 13, 2009

Title Track: A Backstage Christian

Whenever I read a book, I always assume the writer and I would make good friends. F. Scott Fitzgerald and I would share a (nonalcoholic) cocktail, J.D. Salinger and I would probably ride a carousel together in a park – and Don Miller and I would, of course, get married.

But knowing my luck on things like this, I bet that most authors are jerks.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet a few published authors. My mom is a writer and she’s made friends with a lot of other writers in the romantic inspirational genre (yes, there is such a thing). I wouldn’t call her friends jerks, but they are definitely their own breed.

But author Jason Boyett is not a jerk or weird like my mom’s friends – at least not weird in a stop-eating-the-paste way. He’s a nice guy, and he definitely knows how to write.

Jason is the master of taking fact-loaded information, bringing it to our level, and explaining it with humor and irreverence. He even took four weighty issues like the Bible, the afterlife, the apocalypse and sainthood and made Pocket Guide books out of them. And you know what? I could tell you more about the patron saint of beekeeping than you’d ever want to know. (Thanks, Jason.) His blog,, which helped inspire the theme of my blog, is hilarious and reading it is an integral part of my day.

I only say all that to build Jason’s credibility. Anyone could tell you that Jason’s a good writer, but not everyone knows that Jason’s a good guy too. And I don’t know about you, but I would really like to read a book by a guy I could drink a nonalcoholic beverage with.

But unfortunately, this isn’t always realistic.

A few months back I uncovered a bunch of dirt about a publication I loved, a company that boasted of a Christ-focus. It turns out calling yourself Christian doesn’t mean you maintain a level of integrity or view profit gain differently – it’s just a matter of appealing to a certain demographic. I am still a little bitter.

I’m not saying that you should only read books by Christian authors or listen to music by Christian bands. Because honestly, I have a healthy mix of Christian and secular entertainment. Rather, I’m trying to argue that bands who claim a faith shouldn’t act like jerks behind stage.

Maybe that’s too much to ask.

I recently had a phone conversation with a guy who used to work for a Christian magazine and a Christian record label. He told me how he met a lot of recognizable Christian figures who were doing pretty slimy things.

He met vain musicians and money-hungry businessmen. He refused to give me any names – but ooh James Dobson, I’m suspicious of you! Though he did assure me that Toby Mac is not the (insert derogatory noun here) that you’d think he’d be.

I’m not saying we should boycott all books, magazines, CDs and movies by superficial Christians – I’m not saying that at all. I just know that I don’t want to have the same fate as these guys. I want my actions to line up with my professed devotion.

We talk a lot about becoming world changers here at Indiana Wesleyan, but I wonder if there’s more to world changing than just building a Christian company or calling yourself a Christian doctor or a Christian writer or a Christian football coach.

I wonder if world changing has more to do with being a pleasant person to work with, to have patience with coworkers, to live as though you recognized God’s blessings.

1 comment:

adam garland said...

Christian makes a terrible adjective and a wonderful noun.