Yesterday, I posted an image of my Stuff Christians Like sarcasm card. (I’ve decided that “business card” sounds too formal.) Here’s what one reader thought about it:
“You’ve really let us down, Jon. What’s with Capt. Cartoon on your business card not sporting the unibrow? That’s false, man, just false.”
That comment cracked me up and I was honestly very happy that it was posted. I’ve been struggling with how to write about the concept of Christians “selling out.” I thought about leading with a story about the band Evanescence. At one point, they were fairly big in the Christian music scene and had a member of the Christian band 12 Stones do a cameo on their most popular songs, “Bring me to life.” Band member Ben Moody said, “We hope to express in our music that Christianity is not a rigid list of rules to follow.”
But then, in April 2003 they asked Christian retail outlets to remove their music and Moody told Entertainment Weekly, “We’re actually high on the Christian charts, and I’m like, What are we even doing there?” And lead singer Amy Lee responded to a Billboard magazine question about being a Christian band in 2006 by saying, “Can we please skip the Christian thing? I’m so over it. It’s the lamest thing. I fought that from the beginning; I never wanted to be associated with it. It was a Ben thing. It’s over.”
I don’t know Evanescence though. Maybe they just got a really bad spin from the media. That happens. Maybe the whole thing is completely different and they got a really bum deal. I don’t know their story. I do know mine however, and mine involves a unibrow.
Because I have mentioned owning, or maybe “wearing” is the better word, a unibrow in a few posts, at least one reader was expecting to see it reflected on my sarcasm card. That’s understandable. When he wrote that comment I started laughing because I realized I have to keep this unibrow. It’s part of who I am. I might be speaking at a southern college this July and I envision the crowd rising against me if that classy caterpillar is not marching itself above my eyes.
The whole issue of Christians selling out is kind of interesting to me though. I honestly hope that you will help keep me humble and honest and true and if I ever try to sell you a book about a horse that learned to run from a goat that couldn’t walk and a girl that couldn’t dance titled “The Horse Dancerer” I hope you will slap me in the mouth. But what is weird about criticizing Christian musicians for selling out is that we don’t do that in other areas of life.
For instance, I promise this conversation has never happened:
Bill: “Did I tell you about my friend Mike? The Christian plumber?”
Fred: “No, what happened?”
Bill: “He used to have these contracts with churches. He did all their plumbing. But now, he’s expanding the business and working with secular companies and doing plumbing at the homes of non-Christians. He’s such a sell out.”
OK, I agree, a plumber is not in front of as many people as a successful musician. But what is the audience cut off number of when it comes to calling someone a sell out? If an executive is in front of 5,000 employees and works at a secular company, is he a sell out? Is a public speaker on time management a sell out if she speaks to 100,000 people a year and doesn’t tell them about the Lord? What type of secular job is OK to have and what type makes you a sell out?
Is what Evanescence did cool? Debatable. Is calling a Christian a sell out cool? Maybe less debatable. Am I going to cast Jim Caviezel as the cowboy with a dark past by a good heart in the movie version of “The Horse Dancerer?” Without a doubt.