Different Strokes, Different Folks

Luke 9:49-50
(excerpt from Morning Meditations by Martin Wiles)

Luke 9:50 Jesus said, Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you. (NLT)

The music was so loud it vibrated the stadium. Even in the nose bleed section, the singer’s words were garbled by the deafening boom. Could this be a Christian affair?

It was. Bi Lo Center. Upstate South Carolina. Winter Jam. A youth extravaganza. Thousands of anxious teenagers. And I was there too, along with a few other reluctant adults who like us had forgotten ear plugs.

I recall my parents saying about rock music, “We can’t understand anything they are saying.” Now I was thinking the same. It sounded like rock but was labeled “Contemporary Christian.” Amazed, I tried to discern the difference. Hand waving. People standing. Earsplitting music. One performer even jumped into the arms of his backup singers.

No drugs, alcohol or tobacco though. And the lyrics spoke of God’s love. It was somewhat confusing listening to Christian lyrics matted to a rock beat.

But did God like this? I considered what style of music was acceptable. Elevator, southern gospel, classical, rock, country. And if it didn’t matter, how would God mingle all this in heaven. Were these thousands of teenagers being deceived?

Backpedal about two thousand years where Jesus encountered a similar scenario. Disciple John approached him with a dilemma. Someone not associated with their group was casting out demons using Jesus’ name. Jesus reminded John we don’t all have to be alike in appearance, cultural background, creed, color, or even musical taste. “If he’s not against us, he’s for us,” Jesus said.

Translation. Different is acceptable. It’s possible to worship God while listening to Christian lyrics set to a rock beat. I know. I watched thousands of young people do it-and I did too. God can speak even in noisy surroundings.

Instead of trying to mold everyone into my definition of what a Christian should look and act like-or what my parents said they should, maybe I should let God take care of that. A homeless person probably wouldn’t listen to a preacher in a three piece suit but he might to a casually dressed gospel slinger who was once a homeless person himself. I once met that man too.

Prayer: God, remind us heart matters most and that You use different strokes for different folks.
(photo courtesy of federico stevanin from freedigitalphotos.net)

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