Sunday, January 29, 2012

It's, Like, So Ragamuffin

“I grew up hearing everyone tell me 'God loves you'. I would say big deal, God loves everybody. That don't make me special! That just proves that God ain't got no taste. And, I don't think He does. Thank God! Because He takes the junk of our lives and makes the most beautiful art.”
― Rich Mullins
I went with Lacey to a Christian concert Thursday night.  Rock n Worship Roadshow, or something like that.  Lacey had been talking about going for a while.  Considering I wasn't familiar with any of those bands there, I wasn't really into going.  Hey, my favorite Christian singer has been dead for 14 years, and he was the greatest.  Pardon me for listening to the old but best stuff than settling for the second best modern stuff.
Anyway, she inadvertently (at least I hope it was) guilted me into going with her.  Hawk Nelson was the band I was familar with and they performed "Bring 'Em Out."

Frankly, that would've made the whole night worth it.  Even the screamo band that I couldn't understand a word that singer sang before them that gave me a headache.

The second to last group was this group called Tenth Avenue North.  The lead singer of that band was the only one who smiled while he was singing.  He actually looked like he was having a good time there.  I know the rest were, but he looked as happy as he should've been.

I really liked this group.  As a Rich Mullins and the Ragamuffin Band and Brennan Manning fan, I really liked them.

Brennan Manning's message was that "reckless, raging fury that they call the love of God."  He preached about Jesus.  Not about vices or virtues, not about what you had to do to earn salvation.  He preached about the love of Jesus, how He loves you as you are and not as you should be.  He preached that Jesus loves the poor, the sick, the whores, and the tax collectors.

Jesus loves sinners.  Ragamuffins.  Rich Mullins and the Ragamuffin Band captured it wonderfully:

We didn't know what love was 'til He came
And He gave love a face and He gave love a name
And He gave love away like the sky gives the rain and sun
We were looking for heroes He came looking for the lost
We were searching for glory and He showed us a cross
Now we know what love is 'cause He loves us
All the way to Kingdom Come

-Composer Rich Mullins

There's a wideness in God's mercy
I cannot find in my own
And He keeps His fire burning
To melt this heart of stone
Keeps me aching with a yearning
Keeps me glad to have been caught
In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God

-Composer Rich Mullins

Well who's that man who thinks He's a prophet?
Well I wonder if He's got something up His sleeve
Where's He from? Who is His daddy?
There's rumors He even thinks Himself a king
Of a kingdom of paupers
Simpletons and rogues
The whores all seem to love Him
And the drunks propose a toast
And they say "Surely God is with us."

-Composer Mark Robertson (one of the Ragamuffin Band)

But this man of no reputation
Loved the weak with relentless affection
And He loved all those poor in spirit just as they were
He was a man of no reputation

-Composer Rich Elias (one of the Ragamuffin Band)

There was one particular line in one of Tenth Ave. North's songs that hooked me:

The One the wind and waves obey is strong enough to save you.

They had a lot of other songs that I liked, but that was the dealmaker.  It was early in their performance, so they really had me.

I don't care for a lot of Christian music.  I don't like most Christian fiction.  I don't like going to church.  I don't remember the last time I cracked my Bible.  Countless times I've asked myself why I even bother being a Christian when Christian things really bug me.

The answer that comes to mind is really embarrassing:  I was raised this way.  To change it would shatter my worldview and would mean a clean break with my past.  I grew up in church.  I would probably be disowned.  To quit at least trying to be Christian would ruin everything and require a completely fresh start.  I'm a little too lazy for that.

On closer inspection, I do believe in that reckless, raging fury that they call the love of God.  I don't have to like the other sheep, (if we're all brothers and sisters in Christ, that makes us all family. You may not always like your family, but you'll always love them.) but I like the Shepherd.  He hung out with sinners and got His fingernails dirty and He's not all that popular these days.  But He is nothing if not admirable.  He traded His life for a world full of sinners He thought was worth saving.  Not a lot of people would think that was very smart.  During Eastertime in France, people say, "L'amour de Dieu est folie!"  The love of God is folly.  Thank God!

When I find something I like, a style, a song, or whatever, I tend to stick to my tastes.  I love Ragamuffin-esque songs.  Rich Mullins and the Ragamuffin Band had plenty of other themes in their songs, and I love those too, but I tend to go for the Ragamuffin-y songs.

So, in addition to seeing Hawk Nelson sing "Bring 'Em Out," I found another band that I could listen to.

All in all, I'd say it was a pretty good night.

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