Thoughts on Whitney and other Brushes with a Broken World…
February 17, 2012 § 2 Comments
Like you may have been, when I first heard of Whitney Houston’s death I was immediately saddened because her music and voice have a place in the world I have known, and because frankly, it seems like an amazing talent squandered. Her rendition of the National Anthem is one of the most beautiful ever performed, and the power and range of her voice in songs like The Greatest Love of All and Saving All My Love for You, were stunning.
But what do we do with this? What are we to make of this, as people of faith? Maybe the better question involves understanding a Christ-follower’s relationship with the culture.
Historically many churches have frowned on the intermingling of faith and culture, born of a narrow understanding of the ‘being in the world but not of the world’ thinking. It is out of this pietistic thinking that many create their own sub-cultures in order to completely segregate themselves from any semblance of the surrounding world they live in. And all this tells me is that they really wish they could enjoy the world they are afraid to enjoy for fear that some cosmic ‘church lady’ in the sky will condemn them.
But closer inspection of the scriptures reveals a God who carefully places His people in the midst of the culture, not for the purpose of condemnation and prudish self-righteousness, but for the sake of influence, love, and yes, even betterment.
That’s right – God desires for His people to integrate into the culture rather than hide from it. And in so doing the Church becomes the embodiment of Jesus and the way He entered into His world. You never find Jesus entering a party to close it down, but to join the laughter. You don’t find a Christ who cuts off the flow of wine, but One who keeps it going.
Here’s the mistake we often make in the Church: We mistakenly think that if it comes from ‘the world,’ it must not be good, when in fact the scriptures reveal that if it is good it comes from God – period.
So what do I do with Whitney? I enjoy her music and grieve her death. Because someone who was created to do what she so beautifully did, is gone – and that just won’t do.
I don’t need to judge her and I don’t need to find her a mansion in heaven – neither is my job. What I need to do is grieve when the Garden curse rears its ugly head and reminds me that the beauty God intended for us has been marred and scandalized by sin.
So God has placed us here – and that is a good thing. This world is to be entered into and celebrated, not avoided or feared, because along with the daily reminders that it is broken and fallen, amazingly, through those of us who are equally broken, yet redeemed, God speaks back into the culture with the message that one day the beautiful songs will never end.
Friend, you are here for a good reason – Embrace this as you long for Jesus to make all things new.
In this, you embody God’s sweet, good news…