The great divide.

Last night I went to a hardcore show with a friend, and at many hardcore shows I’ve attended I feel a shamelike compulsion to make up a reason for why I don’t punch dance out my rage in the pit. Is it because I’m too afraid of pain? or I dont know the moves? or is it basically… I’m not so rage filled? And as my internal excuse contructing monologue went through its usual routine I got to a strange dialogue where I imagined I was addressing the entire crowd from the outer rim of the pit I refused to join.

The rant started out explaining how the hardcore scene in Australia has always been blessed by unqiue difference. We’ve had the fat beardy guys who end up taking off all their clothes before the end of the show, We’ve had the preschool teacher who ends up bleeding at the end of every show because he is so violent to himself and usually not so violent to anyone else. we’ve had the short lead singers, we’ve had the thin lanky lead singers, last night one of the singers wore fluro pink shorts in the midst of a scene that traditional wears black or plaid.

I used the example that in a jazz band you can’t make as rich a sound if everyone plays bass versus having some trumpets in the mix. The hardcore scene most definitely needs the dancers, the bands, the booking agents, but the hardcore scene also needs the guy up the back nursing his beer listening to the rhythms drumming on his heart, and the scene also needs the Jeremy’s moving his legs around whilst his upper body makes no movements at all. In our difference, we find uniquely creative input which also keeps us from stagnancy. When a guitarist using pedals instead of feedback releases possibilities, or when a drummer uses some traditional south american drums or a tambourine, or takes the hi hats up far up the back of the room just for kicks, our musical perspectives are broadened and deepened.

For years now I have struggled with getting my head and my heart to reside in the tension between the conservative parts of Christianity and the way out there liberals. I understand the attraction to tradition and the solid commitment of sticking to the “old ways”. I understand that truth has elements to it that we cannot and should not even begin to recommunicate, as they are timeless. But I also understand that cultures are different and the more difference we have in our cultures, like the Australian hardcore scene, the more beauty we see of God, the more love we have the capacity to share and the less likely our love and lives find ways to stagnate. Because stagnation is uncreative and dying. We have been given lives to LIVE and to LOVE, not lives to sit around waiting for deaths hands to quietly clasp our hearts and take us away from a world begging to be beautiful.

I say all that to say this, 2015 had within its borders some of the greatest moments of mind altering goodness that I have ever seen. I had the honour of doing life with a catholic family who allowed me to ask any questions i wanted, I also sat and had coffee multiple times with a conservative evangelical in the midst of a very tight-knit Christian community who thought almost the opposite of me and we still got along. I talked karma with some new European friends, I started listening to science podcasts that poked fun at my conservative anti-science roots and I sat in on some apologetics that somehow melded science and God in the most exciting of ways.

I have been on a beautiful journey that kind of neatly clicked in the kitchen yesterday when listening to a song written by a friend. He describes his struggles to simply connect with a God who he has always heard was big and powerful but has not really interacted with Him like others say they have. and I get that. My love of God and my increasing comfort to reside in tension is based in a relationship that has tangible roots and experience outside of the black and white theory of some schools of faith. The great divide between conservatism and progressivism shouldn’t be so wide. It should be brought together in the beautiful hands of Jesus and surrounded by a commitment to the subtle and sharp voice of the Holy Spirit.

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