Today’s post is by guest Nikki. If you say something true about Jesus, but your Jesus is a different Jesus, is what you said about the first Jesus still true?
What if you’re singing it?
<!–[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 <![endif]–>Earlier this month, I had an audition to be a keyboardist & vocalist for a band. They advertised themselves as doing songs “on the Christian side. More Christian than Creed, less worshippy than Mercy Me….” I knew by listening to them on MySpace that they were a bit too heavy-metal for my tastes, but I thought I would give it a try anyway.
I went over there with the guitarist/songwriter (let’s call him “Steve”) and the vocalist (“Ann”). They also had a bass guy (“Adam”) auditioning that night too. We played through one of their songs. They were impressed with both of us musically. Next we sat down to chat. Steve asked questions like: “Why do you want to be in a Christian band?” and “What does it mean to you to be a Christian?” I explained that I am very conservative, but lately have been leaning more liberal and realizing the importance of tolerance for other people. I felt like I was becoming more like Christ in loving people and being accepting of a variety of people. Adam’s answer was very similar to mine. He had been raised Baptist – very strict, conservative, and judgmental, in his words – but the past few years had taken a path similar to the one that I described. He now reminds himself: “Who am I to judge?” Adam and I seemed to be in much agreement about what it means to be a Christian. Steve & Ann had a few clarifying questions. Ann wanted to make sure that we didn’t believe “once saved, always saved” – they wanted to make sure that we were going to ACT like Christians (as opposed to one member of the group Creed, who they informed us would “go home and beat his wife”). Steve wanted to make sure that we were really Christian and not following our own wacky made-up religion.
Up to this point, I had retained the info that I’m a <gasp> Mormon. But Steve’s statement made me think that I should tell them, since some Christians do consider us a bit wacky. So, in a lull in the conversation, I told them: “in the interest of full disclosure – I’m Mormon.” I looked around to see their reactions. In particular, I glanced at Adam, since I equate Baptists with being anti-Mormon. But, he was totally cool with it. Relieved, I figured that all was fine. Steve & Ann were silent for a bit. After a deep breath, Steve asked me, “Have you ever really sat down and talked to any Christians about the differences before?” I wasn’t sure exactly what he was asking. I wasn’t raised LDS. I investigated the church for 18 months, and yes, I had talked to lots of different kinds of people about the church. Just over a year later, I had served a mission. I had talked to LOTS of Christians there about the differences.
To help me understand, he pulled out his Bible. Now, I used to Bible-bash with the best of them, but I have become much more tolerant and less argumentative. I basically just listened to their arguments, smiling & nodding (yes, smiling! I didn’t even cry!) His main complaint was the difference in how we view the Godhead because “real Christians” believe in the Trinity: Father + Son + Holy Ghost = all one person. We Mormons believe they are three separate persons, but one in purpose, one in unity… one Godhead. He referenced John 8:57-59, where Christ says “Before Abraham was, I am” and told me that this proved that Christ is God. Well, I didn’t disagree. I DO believe that Christ is God -God the Son. And I thought about going into how Jesus Christ, Jehovah, is the God of the Old Testament, but I decided to hold my peace. He talked about the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost all forming the Godhead. Well, using that terminology, I agree completely. Of course, he believed that they were one single person, and I disagree. But I didn’t even need to tell him what I believed. He already knew it (which, he informed me, he knew firsthand because he had sat down and talked with Mormons before. He had LDS friends as well as having been visited numerous times by the missionaries before. And, he remarked: “Well, you can say whatever you want, but you’re still not Christian.” What a relief for me to not have to worry about explaining my point of view, since he clearly understood exactly what I believe, right?) I tried to point out that some scriptures of the Bible can be interpreted in different ways by different people. Well, Steve insisted that even though it was confusing, and he couldn’t exactly explain the Trinity to me, the Bible was very clear about it. According to Steve, the God and Jesus that I believe in are not the God and Jesus that he believes in, and not the ones that the Bible teaches us about.
Poor Adam was just sitting there, strumming on his bass while Steve tried to decide what to do with me. At one point, Steve asked Adam’s opinion. Steve’s concern was that because I’m not a “real Christian,” could I really sing about Christ and have it ring true to people? Adam responded with his mantra: “Who am I to judge?” He thought it would be fine for me to be in the band. He pointed out that we probably wouldn’t be singing music that was doctrinally controversial for me. The group was not aiming to be an outreach group. They mostly wanted to play for entertainment purposes, with a Christian background. Adam doubted we’d be singing any songs with lyrics such as “God and Jesus are literally the same person… la la la…” I finally told them that for me, it wasn’t a deal-breaker, but that if it was for them, I understood. They said that no, it wasn’t… but that they’d have to talk about it & think about it some more.
In the end, it was a productive and entertaining night. They clearly have some reservations about my religion, but I also have some reservations about their style of music. In a follow-up email, Steve said that our audition helped him & Ann realize that they really do want to be outreach-oriented. So some good did come out of our visit. He asked me a few more follow-up questions about music and about my beliefs. In my reply, I informed him that I was going to just keep searching for a band that would be a better fit. In a few months, if we’re both still looking, then we might revisit the topic again.
In honor of this audition, I have written a little song. Technically, I borrowed the tune from a hymn you might be familiar with. I changed the lyrics to fit my situation and did a poor-quality recording of it for your enjoyment (by the way, that’s not me on the keyboards). Is anybody in the Midwest looking for a Mormon girl to join your band?
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I believe in Christ, He is my King.
But that’s not enough for me to sing
Or to play keyboard with Mormon hands
In your quote “Christian” hard rock band.
I believe in Christ, He is God’s son.
On the other hand, the three are One –
In purpose, but not physically –
HF plus Christ plus the HG.
You believe in Christ as one of the three –
Three persons comprising just one Being.
From where came this Trinity idea?
Some men defined it in Nicaea
They believed in God; that’s person one.
And person two is Christ, the Son.
The Holy Spirit is person three.
One form, one essence physically.
Let me review: I think we’re agreeing
On the sum of persons, but not beings.
Despite our differences, there’s so much
we have in common, let’s do lunch.
You worship Christ, adore His name –
But can you see I do the same?
Now that you know our mutual view,
Next time, please let me sing with you!