Random Notes From What I’m Reading

The story of my life is the story of my faith…

Avoiding Hollywood’s Lure

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Me. You. The World. Stop it. Stop.

Stop what, you ask?

Stop believing you can do it on you own. Stop thinking fame is there for the taking. Stop hoping that obtaining a measure of wealth will buy your way out of your situation, whether it is small-town poverty or another arrest in Hollywood.

As I sit to write these words, the world seems to have gone crazy–and I feel as if I am caught up in the whirlwind of a generation gone mad.

Allen Ginsberg’s voice is echoing in my soul, a voice from the past speaking to the confusion of the present day:

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix; Angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night.”

The best minds of my generation. Destroyed by madness. Madness we have created in our cultural insistence on (groupthink) individualism and (false) freedom.

And like those few honest voices around me today in the culture–whether it be Craig Ferguson recently on television or “The Jay” in the blog world–the time is primed for a generation to press the stop button on the insanity of shame-filled images of debaucheurous lifestyles. Stories that end in nothing but cycles of pregnancy, addiction, emotional abuse and mountains of debt.

We are making and spending our money on the brokenness of lost people. We are bartering with the glossy side of sin.

I buy into the allure of famous, emotional train wrecks. You buy into the ease of bashing your more famous peers on the edge of spiritual collapse. A collapse that cannot be avoided with a big enough donation to the Church of Scientology, a retreat of Kaballah wrist cords and water, a single night of tears in an arena revival/show or a repentant public statement issued through a “friend of the family.”

And what do we turn around and do as a generation of gawkers–both Christian or otherwise? We dress just like the famous targets of our scorn, and we go to the bar/club for a drink, and end up nursing a hangover the next morning as we stand in line for an espresso at Starbucks. The details of the night before usually are slightly fuzzy, or all too painfully shameful. And all too often, this is the story of young Christians like you and me–where we justify our copycat lifestyle on the terms “being real” and “accepting” of culture.

We have to stop it. We have to start living like we believe there is a better way. The way of Jesus in our context as Generations X, Y and Z is not an excuse to continue to live our lives as we once did before we met him.

God didn’t send his only Son so I can party like a rock star.

Last evening, a friend of mine made a powerful statement. He said, “We are the most narcissistic generation in Western history. Our parents were the most affluent generation, and yet we are spending our lives trying to live like them without putting in the work.”

For once, we have to start admitting that the Jesus we say we love is devastated by the cycle of destruction we see magnified in the tabloids and replicated by our friends in towns and cities across America. God is near, and is very much wanting to grab us by the face, look us in the eyes, and say to all of us: “I love you, now stop.”

If you think I am angry or upset, realize that we are swimming in a cultural wasteland of wrecked lives. And to prop celebrities up, while mocking them simultaneously, is to whitewash our own bad deeds done. And I think God is tired of a cultural system of, well, disposability. Waste. Of needless gossip and reports of famous girls and boys “gone wild.”

Where is love in this cycle of misery among our peers–whether be addiction, depression, harmful sexual escapades, gluttony or materialism? Are we loving our neighbor in the way Jesus would? Are we living lives of examples worthy of our King?

It is time we stop. Stop and think of what lengths our God has gone to redeem all of creation. It is time we start embracing the redemption won and proven through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

In the words of friends at To Write Love On Her Arms, it’s time to scream, “Love is the movement.” We can and must stand up as a generation of young Christians and say we refuse to allow the destruction of sin and its equally dangerous polar opposite, religious fundamentalism, to dominate the headlines, while the message of our Messiah is continually watered down across television pulpits and coffeehouse conversation.

We are supposed to live as cultural and spiritual revolutionaries.

We have to start living lives that illustrate the power of redemption. A place where love overcomes addiction. A place where salvation is something that is continually occurring. A place where you and I begin to subvert the powers and principalities that are destroying our brothers and sisters.

For hope can only be obtained when people can feel it lived out by those who have faith that it exists.

There is a better way than the mess we are in.

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Written by Ryan

February 16, 2008 at 6:32 pm

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