I got up at six this morning to finish an article that’s plagued me for weeks.  I’ve never had such a hard time writing anything before.  I’ve tried, I really have.  I’ve half written it a dozen times and completed four versions in all.

The first one was an attack on all that’s wrong with the Christian music industry.  With the pen as my sword I jumped on the back of the ne’r-do-wells at labels and radio stations and gave them quite a beating, while, at the same time, guarding myself against accusations of arrogance by admitting just enough failures of my own to appear humble – like a fellow broken traveler worth listening to.

The second article was about the Good News.  The Good News isn’t that you and I are going to heaven someday, I said, but that heaven comes through us today.  The Good News is the kingdom and it happens when God reigns over and repairs this world through us.  Then I closed by explaining how great I am at the whole doing God’s will on earth as it’s done in heaven thing.

The third was a modernization of the Lord’s Prayer.  I took each line and elaborated, reprayed it in my own eloquent way, with all sorts of verbose and poetic additions.  I’m such a good writer and so smart I can even improve God’s words.

The fourth was about allegiance and the upcoming elections and how early Christians frowned upon making any pledge to a Caesar and wouldn’t even allow church members to fight in his armies.  Like me, I asserted, they didn’t think they were citizens of a nation with flags and borders but citizens of heaven only.  The suggestion I made was subtle but I think you would have gotten it: You’re a bad person if you’re a good American.  I’m a good person because I don’t vote, I believe the Church and not the government exists to fix this world, and I’m all for Christian non-violence and against the war in Iraq.  Oh, and I don’t pledge allegiance to the flag.  See how weirdly cool and countercultural I am?

Then my inbox dinged at me, just as I began draft number five. It was my friend Brant from WAY-FM down in Florida.  He’s sick today.  We shot a few small talkish e-mails back and forth and then I told him briefly that I was working on an article that will be in the Gospel Music Week edition of Christian Radio Weekly – kind of important I said.  I don’t know what they need to hear, I said.  Any suggestions, I asked.

He wrote back: Authenticity.  He said he’s been wanting to write something on the subject himself.  He said authenticity is what people will tune in to hear – that it’s essential to be authentic if we’re going to communicate well.  He wondered if maybe in all my years of being in the music industry I could come up with a few examples of inauthenticity in it – some instances of people acting better than they are, being high and mighty, impossible to relate to.

Yea, I think I have a few of those. Four of them actually.