Monday, August 6, 2012

Do Christians Need Alternatives?

I stood in the Christian book store aisle, perusing the list before me with interest. The heading read, "If you like this.....try this:" On one side of the paper was a list of secular music groups, many with names I could  not even mention as a Christian. The other side was a list of Christian groups. At least that's what the paper told me. In reality, the Christian group names looked like a knock off the ones on the other side of the paper. Kind of like when I go to the discount grocery store and purchase Honey Crunch 'n' Oats instead of....well, the "real one".

Without hearing the secular groups mentioned, I could see by the names of most of them, that these were not ones that true Christ-lovers would appreciate. Some of them made me feel disgusted as a disciple of Christ, and some of them made me sad because I know they hurt His heart.

I've since heard samplings of groups from both sides of the list. I can attest to the fact that the author of the list was probably right. If a person liked a secular group, they would probably like the Christian group meant to mirror it as well.

Other moms tell me that their kids need alternatives. Alternatives to the music, movies, entertainment and hobbies of the world. I half-nod in agreement, then wonder if I really believe that. If they mean that our children need another choice, I wholeheartedly agree. After all, if some of those groups on the bookstore list were the only artists producing music, I would advise my children to give up music.

Thanksgiving turkeyWhen I think of alternatives, I think of Thanksgiving dinner growing up. My grandma would roast a humongous turkey stuffed with her delicious stuffing. Invariably, there would be two bowls of stuffing going around the table. Someone would explain, "This is box stuffing in case someone doesn't want the stuffing from the bird." Since that tradition went on for many years, I assume there was someone who truly wanted the boxed stuffing. But can you call it stuffing, if it was never inside the bird?

Can you call it music if it didn't come from the original Author of music? Can you call it art if the Creator of all artistic pursuits does not acknowledge it as so? Can you say it's Christian if its origins were somewhere besides the Christ of glory?

What do you think? Do Christians need alternatives? Or should we remember that we actually have the real thing to begin with? That there really isn't a choice between the real and the copy.

If I were given a choice between a real Louis Vuitton and a copy, the only deciding factor would be the cost. If I could not afford the real thing, I would go for the copy, but only because what I really wanted was the real thing.

Perhaps the real question is, what do we perceive as the real thing? For me, real music is melody that issues from the very nature of God. Real entertainment is that which refreshes and brings joy and draws me to Him. Real art is that which inspires awe in me for the majesty of my Creator. Real fashion is that which clothes me in His righteousness and brings glory to Him.

Imitation of mozzarellaWhen the world passes its side dish of imitations to me, I will go for the real thing every time. How about you?


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