The 2014 Grammys are over. When I first saw who was nominated and going to appear on The Grammys this year, I thought someone had accidentally pulled up the roster from 1986 - Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Chicago, Black Sabbath, and even Led Zeppelin?
The annual ceremony intended to honor and celebrate those who have excelled in the music industry, but left many wondering "What just happened?"
No, I didn't watch much of The Grammys. I wasn't so much a personal protest as it was the fact that our small group was meeting for Bible study and playing games and we just didn't think about it being on. (This statement makes me sound really super spiritual, but is soon negated by the fact I know the words to "Mr. Roboto", right?) The other reason I didn't record the broadcast or watch the entire presentation is that, for the most part, I'm just not a fan of the artists being highlighted. . .and I was tired and ready to go to bed. However, once our small group left, we did turn on the television just in time to see Queen Latifah oversee a ceremony where thirty-three couples exchanged rings, declared their love for each other and entered into holy matrimony. It was a spectacle for sure, and while Macklemore and performed his popular anthem for gay marriage "Same Love," couples of many varieties (heterosexual, biracial, old, young, gay, lesbian, etc.) were married before millions.
The culture shift is immense. Ed Stetzer wrote clearly about this in his excellent post from yesterday. You can read it by clicking here.
Christians are appalled, and I get it. Sin is appalling and yet, the vitriol I am hearing based on this awards ceremony from many seems to be affirming a false stereotype of Christianity as a religion of hate and anger.
To be clear, that which was done on the stage of the Grammys was appalling. It was ungodly and worldly. In many cases, it was sinful. Katy Perry's "casting of a spell" and jumping in the fire while dancing with a broomstick illustrated anything but godliness. The performances and ceremonies of the night were mostly social statements and were strategic and intentional.
And. . .it shouldn't surprise us at all.
Without sugar-coating what is happening and white-washing sin in any way, the church is faced with a decidedly different cultural landscape than even just a few years ago. Each year the statement "It's worse than it's ever been" continues to be a banner we gather under to lament and weep, but at the same time, we often miss the reality that God is ever-present and still sovereign.
Was God at the Grammys? Well, of course He was.
Dr. William Brown of Cedarville University stated it clearly here. . .
The Christian Response
"What are we to do?" many cry out.
For starters, we must be "in Christ" and live as His disciples.
That means many things, but primarily it is a calling to die to self and live for Him.
It entails loving God and others. It involves being able to discern sin, but not just the sin of others. . .and not just the "obvious" ones. It means to love in spite of sin - not overlooking it, not affirming it, not accepting it - but seeing the person, the image-bearer of God as His lovely creation in need of rescue and a relationship.
When the "marriage" took place on the floor of the Staples Center, like many, I tweeted my thoughts.
This ceremony was a mockery due to the fact that a miraculous relationship created by God and defined in Scripture became little more than a social statement. Was God there? Well, He's everywhere as Dr. Brown stated, but I don't think He was invited to the wedding, per se.
It occurs to me that not only was this wedding little more than a show and a facade of that which God designed, but so too are other weddings that take place outside the limelight and awards ceremonies when God is not honored. This could be the wedding between non-believers, between a Christ-follower and one who is lost, and maybe even between those who wrongly believe themselves to be the "star" of the wedding and utilize the church as little more than a backdrop for wedding photos.
The Grammys show us that culture has shifted, but maybe not as much as some would think. Oh, it's true that which was appalling just a few years ago is not the norm, but all is not lost.
Even in a world where it appears most have forsaken biblical truth, it is becoming evident that God is raising up a generation of men and women that He will use as His ambassadors to a culture far from Him. A hunger for Truth and God's Word is growing and, while it may not be easy for all to see, rest assured. . .the best is yet to come. That's becoming clear through my small group where the vast majority of attendees are in their young twenties.
How do we respond to a culture so far from God?
With grace, love and truth.
This much has never changed.
Maybe the more things change, the more they stay the same? Since the 1980s are now the "good old days" of nostalgia, I think I'll go listen to my "Chicago" Greatest Hits CD.