Saturday, June 02, 2007

Respectable


I had a lot of respect for Jimmy Carter back in the 70s. I voted for Jimmy Carter when he lost to Ronald Reagan. It was my first election to vote. I get the sense that Jimmy Carter is a smart man, a nice man, a Christian man and a dedicated man. However, these things were not the things that people were looking for at the time. We were in the midst of a stand-off with Iran regarding our hostages and we were looking bad in the eyes of the world. While I'm sure some good things were happening during the Carter administration, what people remember is the shame we felt as a nation when we could not get the American hostages back from Tehran. When we sent in Special Force troops, the mission failed. When we tried to negotiate, it was for naught. We just looked bad. We had pragmatic problems like a fuel crisis, but that is not as important as regaining our prestige.

I used to have a fellow soldier in the Army who was a fantastic runner. He had a realistic hope and chance of competing in the Olympic games that were to be held in Moscow. That was the year that Carter boycotted the Olympics for Soviet human rights violations. This soldier was totally against Carter because the president took a little of this runner's glory and achievement and sacrificed it on the altar of being "Mr. Nice Guy".

For my fellow soldier, his concern was his own reputation and that of his nation. Our nation might have benefited from winning a few Gold Medals at the Olympics. (I'm sure we would have won at least a few.) We needed our dignity as a nation restored.

During about this same period of time, Evangelical Christians were in the midst of creating their own celebrity culture: the world had Johnny Carson but we had Jim Bakker, the world had American Top 40 but we had Amy Grant, the world had Richard Pryor but we had Mike Warnke, and so on. I think there Christians wanted dignity and parity. Then for a while in the late 80's and early 90's you could not sling a dead cat without hitting someone who was talking about the Christian ghetto. What they were referring to was the fact that the Christian alternatives to mainstream media and celebrity culture just did not come up to par with the style, artistry, sophistication or quality of the mainstream media. But another issue addressed in this call for leaving the Christian ghetto was the fact that it was not based on Christian ideas but on Christian's mimicking the world. I actually appreciate Sandy Patti and the Imperials; but I also appreciate the likes of Francis Schaeffer who was a prophetic voice saying that the Christian ghetto was not a good way to go. In the end, I sense that at least partially, both those producing the Christian alternatives to mainstream pop culture and those who later called it the Christian ghetto were concerned about the issue of dignity and respect of the Christian church.


While I do not know for sure and perhaps not in all cases, I believe a lot of the debates in Christian circles are at least partially about dignity, status and reputation.

Those who are a part of the emerging church do not want to be a part of the stodgy crowd.

Those who are a part of fundamentalist church do not want to have lax standards.

Those who are a part of the mainline traditional church do not want to be unsophisticated.

Those who are a part of the Pentecostal church do not want to be unconnected to the Spirit.

Those who are a part of the Reformed tradition do not want to be shallow.

In each of these, there is a point of dignity and pride. If we want true unity and love in the broader body, we must show respect for one another's strengths. Nobody wants to be considered a loser.


It sort of makes me think of David Crowder's song: We Win

We’re gonna
shout loud,
loud until the walls come down
shout loud,
loud until the walls come down
loud until the walls come down

We’re gonna
shout loud,
loud until the walls come down
shout loud,
loud until the walls come down
loud until the walls come down

Yeah yeah yeah

Because we’ve already won
And You don’t have a chance
Yeah we’ve already won
No you don’t have a chance
It’s already done
And you don’t have a chance
Because we’ve already won!
We have already won!

We’re gonna
shout loud,
loud until the walls come down
shout loud,
loud until the walls come down
loud until the walls come down

We’re gonna
shout loud,
loud until the final sound
shout loud,
loud until the final sound
loud until the final sound

Because we’ve already won
And You don’t have a chance
Yeah we’ve already won
No you don’t have a chance
It’s already done
And you don’t have a chance
Because we’ve already won!
And You don’t have a chance
Yeah we’ve already won
No you don’t have a chance
It’s already done
And you don’t have a chance
Because we’ve already won!
We have already won!

We’re gonna
shout loud,
loud until the walls come down
shout loud,
loud until the walls come down
shout loud,
loud until the walls come down
shout loud,
loud until the walls come down
shout loud,
loud until the walls come down
shout loud,
loud until the walls come down
shout loud,
loud until the walls come down
shout loud,
loud Because we’ve already won
And You don’t have a chance
Yeah we’ve already won
No you don’t have a chance
It’s already done
And you don’t have a chance
Because we’ve already won!
We have already won!
We have already won!
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