Sunday, January 10, 2010

If it isn't making dollars then it isn't making sense

I was at a friend's birthday party on Friday night. My friend happens to be a fairly well-known musician in the Christian industry (and I use the word industry with confidence and aplomb). In the industry, there is much to be made of appearances -- drinking and smoking are frowned upon from the outside but are as common as they are anywhere else in the world, the sanctity of marriage and the tragedy of divorce are used as marketing ploys, virginity is one of the greatest selling points that record labels and publishing companies have given to kids that shop at the local Bible book store over the past 20 years so much so that those very kids are scared to death to hold hands at a party and then end up fucking some dude or chick their freshman year of undergraduate school (hell, they're alone for the first time and they've got 18 years of backup) and getting pregnant. You think that doesn't happen? If you don't you're as naive as the kids shopping at the Christian bookstore.

My problem here is not Christianity. It never has been. I consider myself a Christian. I'm not judging anyone for their beliefs or lack thereof. My problem here is the marketing of Christianity. Yes, the marketing of Christianity.

Living in Nashville has never made me realize more know that which I have felt for a while: that Christianity is bought and sold like gold. That for all the good that Christianity has done in the world, there's just as much wrong that it's done. Take a look at the LifeWay Christian building in Nashville: 212 feet straight to heaven of glass and steel all to support the livelihood of thousands of people who buy and sell books and music about what is (from what I've gathered) supposed to be a relationship between somebody and God. If I were to get married one day, do I think my wife would like it if I figured out how to write and market our relationship to everyone that would listen? Probably not. Also, the LifeWay Christian company doesn't allow it's employees to drink or swear off the clock and has (I shit you not) fired people for doing so. The guy that sits next to me at work really wants to work there. He doesn't drink, he doesn't swear, he doesn't smoke. He's a perfectly nice dude but I don't think he's got much experience outside. In the world.

You know... The whole big world. Where we all live. Where we all hang out and interact. I'm not suggesting he goes on a drinking, smoking, whoring spree but I am suggesting that he goes out and makes a bad decision or two. You know, just to see what it's like. God knows I've made my share.

Anyway, back to the party... A representative from my friend's record label showed up and she immediately hid her beer. This is a woman who turned 35 29 last week and still felt the need to hide her drink for fear of getting in trouble with her record label. She's a sweet, wonderful woman but when it comes to work she, like so many of us, is a cog in the wheel. The difference is, the machine she works for markets and sells salvation. That's a little bit stronger influence in one's life than cell phone insurance. I should know.

My friend handed her beer to another friend of ours to whom I happened to be talking at the time. Friend number two (let's call her Sally) let out an audible sigh and we had the following conversation:
Sally: "I hate that shit."
Me: "What?"
Sally: "That she has to hide her drink. It's that whole 'Christianity' thing."
Me: "Well, Sally... I'm a Christian."
Sally: "I know but you're one of the few Christians that I like. You don't bug me about it."

I'm either doing something very right or something very wrong with my faith... but the truth is I don't care what someone thinks about my faith and I certainly don't care whether someone "buys it" from me.

I'm not very good at this Christianity thing. I'm not. I never really have been. I'm selfish and I'm kind of a prick and I know that. But I'm also the same guy that sleeps on a woman's couch completely sober while she's drunk and ready to pass out in her bed because I'm pretty sure that even if she wanted to sleep with me or even next to me that night she'd regret it the following morning.

You know what my reward for this is? A year's worth of "you're so sweet"s and "man, I wish I had some single friends for you"s and "oh, man, if I wasn't dating so-and-so"s. That's one hell of a consolation prize, I know.


  1. i'll pull your mctrigger. WINK!

  2. the fact that you think you're bad at the whole christianity thing might be a good thing. just saying....humility isn't too bad. especially when coupled with authenticity, trasparency and honesty. mf


pull the mctrigger