Christians Against Slipknot?

EDIT- 3/18/17-  As some of you have tried to bring to my attention in the past, it is clear that CAS is nothing but a satire/troll site.  I’m leaving the post up but the point is moot.

I am sure that last week you spent your St. Patrick’s Day doing what I was doing… no not drinking green beer, but frantically trolling the net to find out more about the announcement that Alysia White Gluz had taken up the reigns as the new lead singer of Arch Enemy.  Ok so maybe you found other pursuits like watching paint dry or figuring out what green clothing you were going to don that day.  So in case you missed it here’s the skinny: Angela Gossow had stepped away from the stage into the role of manager and White Gluz left The Agonist to front AE.  A link to their first single (War Eternal) in this new configuration can be found here.

Anyway the news left me truly bummed.  But rather than wallow in my sorrows or make up my mind that I simply would never like AE with White Gluz I went and did some digging to find about more about her.  I checked out some Agonist videos and then started reading her official FB page.   When I got to something she posted on  February 8th I stopped cold.

1891045_780701455290794_338218905_nShe had reposted something from a FB group called “Christians Against Slipknot” which claimed that metal will destroy families and pollute children’s mind.  White Glutz  posted it with the comment, “Please tell me this is a joke.”

Unable to resist the urge I did some digging.  The page is a series of pictures and post that rail against the dangers of heavy metal.  Based on what I read one can infer that listening to heavy metal will cause you to become an unemployed, murdering, Satan-worshipper.  In fact very few of the posts had anything to do with Slipknot per se.

Their posts were so absurd (for example on March 18th they picture a picture of Mick 1904241_786499021377704_1016754413_nHucknall of Simply Red and claimed that his devotion to demonic heavy metal caused his somewhat troll-like appearance) that at first I thought it might be a parody (Simply Red- metal?  If you say so.).  Yet the mission statement and explanations are so extensive that I had to conclude that  unfortunately the page is entirely serious.

My point is not bring more attention to a seriously deluded group of people but rather to ask the question, why in the world do so many Christians still have a problem with rock and roll, particularly when it gets heavy and loud?

It’s not like this is a new issue.  Any music that made people want to dance or have fun has suffered the condemnation of people claiming to act in the name of God.  So why can’t we Christians wrap our heads around the idea that just because something is new, or if we just don’t “get it”, doesn’t therefore mean that it is therefore automatically bad.

images (1)I get that most metal acts try to generate a dark and menacing image.  Some go to great lengths to create an association with evil.  Yet it is the widely accepted fact that in the vast majority of cases all the corpse paint and pentagrams are simply part of the act.  There are a few exceptions like Deicide and Deathspell Omega who leave no room for doubt that their image and lyrics also reflect deeply held personal beliefs.

But even in those rare cases when you are dealing with the proverbial true believers it only begs the question of what purpose does “protesting” such bands actually serve?

In reality it only brings more attention.  As a parent I know that the surest way to get your kid to think something is cool or interesting is to repeatedly condemn it.  I can recall from my own experience as a teenager who specialized in trying to shock my parents that nothing could  make a band cooler than knowing that their name, album art or lyrics was going to give my mother a heart attack.

So why do some Christians keep banging their heads against a wall instead of just accepting that some people just want to bang their heads?  I don’t really know for sure, but I am quite sure that Jesus is probably more concerned with issues like poverty, starvation, war and preventable disease than he is with Slipknot.

“…a godly, righteous and sober life”

So now that we are deep in the midst of the penitential season of Lent I realized that several folks have asked me if I was again giving up alcohol. I am not, at least not this year. Instead this Lent I have chosen to focus not on giving up a pleasure but on using that spiritual energy and discipline to try and do something positive each day.
Yet last week as I knelt on the cold stone floor of the church and lead the people in confession this post (and the experience that inspired it) came to mind.
I hope you enjoy it!

So This Priest Walks Into a Bar...

It was the morning after attending the 2nd Annual Philly Craft Beer Festival.  As I knelt on the cold tile of the church floor and said these words (which come at the end of our confession of sin) I couldn’t help but be struck by the irony.  There I was at 8:05 am, still slightly green around the gills from many hours of sampling craft beer the day before, and I was praying that God would inspire me and help me to lead a “sober” life.  Did I really mean what I was praying for?  How does one define a “sober” life?  This got me to thinking about what it means to find an honest balance between one’s spirituality and one’s love of beer (or wine or scotch or whatever your drink of choice may be).

The answer is not nearly as poetic as the circumstances that inspired…

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“Hey Padre, gimme some of them ashes”

As I think about Ash Wednesday and take a break from smudging hundreds of foreheads, my trip to the Henry James that day still stands as one of the great spiritual encounters of my priestly life.
Thanks for your patience. I’ll be back with a new post next week.

So This Priest Walks Into a Bar...

It was Ash Wednesday and it also happened to be my sexton’s birthday.  So after the noonday service he and I walked two blocks down to my favorite local lunch spot, The Henry James Saloon .  Needless to say, I was still in my full clerical garb complete with a big smudge of ash on my own forehead from the service.  So we are sitting there me with my Yuengling Lager  (a Philadelphia staple) and him with his Bud (may God forgive him).  Across from us are four women, obviously there on their lunch break as well.  Anyway, there we are, chatting and suddenly one of the women calls out, “Hey Padre… Padre.”  Needless to say I quickly knew she was talking to me (When one is wearing clerics it doesn’t take long to realize that you attract a lot more attention from strangers than if you were in civilian…

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