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.