“Christ did not die simply to make men Christians. That is not enough; his work too great. He died so that we might be human, living and acting in a human way, as God originally made us to live, in love and freedom.” H.R. Rookmaaker *
One of the unspoken things I felt when I began to follow Jesus, way back in 1976, was that I needed to give up, to walk away from some of the artistic activities I had enjoyed previously. That somehow playing the drums was inconsistent with being a Christian. And this was especially true if I was playing the music I really liked! I tended to feel the same way about drawing and painting. Looking back I can now realize how silly that is. But at the time it felt very serious. That somehow, to really follow Jesus, I was to leave all creativity behind.
During those years there were several things that kept me wondering how true it really was, did I really need to walk away from the art and music that I enjoyed making and listening to? One of those thought provoking songs was sung by Larry Norman entitled, “Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music.” Great title, huh?
They say Rock ‘n Roll is wrong, They’ll give me one more chance. I feel so good I want to get up & dance.
I know what’s right, I know what’s wrong, I don’t confuse it. All I’m really trying to say Is , Why should the devil have all the good music?
I ain’t knockin’ the hymns, just give me a song that has a beat,
I ain’t knockin’ the hymns, just give me a song that moves my feet,
I don’t like any of them funeral marches, I ain’t dead yet.
I discovered along the way that many of us have felt this way. Some of us were told this outright. Others, like me, just felt it. But many of us have experienced this struggle. And personally, I think this struggle is a good one. Really? Yes.
As I heard and began to understand the message of Jesus from the New Testament and from the lives of those I knew who were trying to follow him; as I began to understood the implications of the gospel, I rightly realized that this message, this new way of life, if it was true it was going to effect every single area of my life. Nothing would remain unscathed. Nothing would be untouched. Nothing would be left unhealed.
Rightly so, this leads to a thorough examination of every part of our lives. An overreaction at this point could easily cause us to jettison even good things from our lives. I am so thankful for discovering the writings of Hans Rookmaaker and Francis Schaeffer, and a couple of relationships with really good friends. These writers and friends kept me from the knee-jerk overreactions and helped me to see how God had been shaping my life long before I had become aware there even was a God.
One of many things I’ve learned along the way is how God blesses and encourages the human part of my life. My spiritual life and my bodily life are not at odds with one another. Rather as I follow Jesus he is inviting me to become more human, more the way he intended me to be. More able to appreciate and enjoy everything and everyone he’s created. More in love with him in all the depth and breadth of his character. And so much more free to be the person he created me to be.
*H.R. Rookmaaker, “The Creative Gift, Essays On Art And The Christian Life”, Crossway Books, 1981, p. 25