Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Art of Being a Christian-Lithuanian METAL-head

I would like to dedicate the following reflection to all of us Christian metal heads. We are a genre of people that have been misjudged by society and I would like to make right all the wrongs that have been assumed about us. In advance, I would like to say that this perspective could possibly be offensive and politically incorrect. I believe that life is too short to be worried about what offends us and what does not.

As I enter what is known as the "Decade of the 20s" I choose to identify myself as a Christian-Lithuanian metal head. Just like some people are straight, others are gay, some believe in God, others don't, some like classical music, others like rock......also an important note, it is crucial to remember throughout our lives as Christians, at the end of the day, we are all Children of God, our TRUE IDENTITY is found in Jesus Christ.....secondly, as God has blessed us to live on this earth, our second identities are found in our various passions, visions, dreams. I would like to focus on this "2nd identity".

So what exactly makes us different? Well, firstly sometimes metal music is stereotyped for being a "Satanic genre".......I would like to share with you the lyrics of my favorite Christian metal band, For Today

"Father, forgive him. My blood is sufficient for him."
Though I had nothing left to give,
It had already been given as perfect provision.
So, gladly, I gave my life
To the only One who could save my life.
Dead to rights.
He took my place and saved my life.

And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged, every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." [Revelation 20:13-14]

So basically, for people who mistake "ALL" metal as to being Satanic, in this case, you just called the gospel of Jesus Christ, satanic... quite controversial if you ask me.....As Christian metal heads, we are different because we love Jesus and believe in a personal relationship with Him. So basically adding the "Christian" lens changes the stereotyped perspective.

Also, I would like to bring to attention how we choose to dress. You can see us with tattoos, gauges (tunnels), piercings, crazy hair, bright red lipsticks, and makeup, lace up black leather boots, black leather jackets, fishnet tights, bold shades of reds, blacks, any color that stands out, and finger less gloves. This is simply how we choose to artistically express ourselves. From a christian perspective, I personally don't see anything wrong or immodest with what I just described as the metal fashion. I personally believe tattoos and making holes in your ears is simply artistic expression. In fact, I plan on getting at least 1 tattoo sleeve eventually, I just haven't decided which arm yet. We might look scary or intimidating from the outside, but in reality we are just normal people like everyone else, who happen to have a sense of creative fashion.

Metal haters: You know who you are. I personally used to be one of them. Growing up, I had this very skewed view of metal music. I realized in the end, when it comes to Christian-metal music, I totally judged the entire art from a biased lens, and didn't take the time to get to understand the perspective. Just because someone listens to Christian-metal music, doesn't make the satanic.I believe that God has called all of us to reach different people groups wither it be through metal or worship music...NEITHER genre is better than the other in God's eyes at the end of the day.....  I hate to make "ministry challenge comments"...but seriously, my metal music ministry VERSES your worship music ministry has potential to reach people for Christ. Some people relate better to metal, while others relate better to worship, rock, classical, hiphop, rap or other genres. At the end of the day my music ministry will succeed and yours will probably as well for God's glory.For example, take Wacken festival, which is Germany's largest secular metal music festival. About 80,000 people atttend this festival at the end of July...........if we Christian metal heads didn't exist, who would reach this lost people group for Christ? To completely REJECT 80,000 souls because of the stereotype of metal music is "Satanic" would be ever so COMPLETELY stupid. What is the point of "IGNORING" this evangelistic need?

 This is where God's beauty of creativity of evangelism comes in. As I've written in previous blogs, we are each called to reach people for Christ through our own unique, inspiring and individual way, no two evangelistic styles are exactly the same.  I believe ALL styles of evangelism are essential in order to effectively reach humanity for Jesus Christ.

I believe in the art of loving all of humanity equally regardless if I have anything in common or not.  I also strive to be that person who accepts everyone, because I remember being that girl in highschool (mokykla) who was rejected by society.I would never choose to relive those very dark, depressing days of mokykla. I was that girl who loved Jesus, Christian-music, art, europe & russia. No one around me exactly shared these same passions. I barely had any friends during that time in my life. I felt like even the friends I had during that time, truly did not understand the pain and rejection of life that I was feeling. Nobody around me understood my double cultured perspective. Nobody around me even knew what "Lithuania" was....they assumed it was in Africa or something. I honestly know those feelings too well. seriously...TOO WELL.... It got to the point where I seriously wanted to kill myself and end it all.....THANK GOD to this day I am actually still ALIVE..I prayed to God after the traumatic highschool experience that He would heal me from such deep scars...and by His amazing grace He erased the emotional pain associated with that experience and most of the bad memories have been forgotten and blocked out. But God used this very horrible experience of my life to teach me one of THEE GREATEST MOST VALUABLE lessons of my life. Since I have been in those shoes of feeling "NOT INCLUDED, REJECTED AND OUTCASTED BY SOCIETY" I make sure to INCLUDE EVERYONE I MEET. If I see someone who is left out in society socially, I ALWAYS make sure to include them. I do my best to be kind to everyone, and make sure no one is left out. I once took this spiritual gifts test, and my #1 gift was INCLUDER...figures I suppose.......Like I feel SO BAD to see a dear child of God being rejected by society....My goal in life is to ALWAYS make sure people feel  loved, welcome and secure. If I have accomplished those 3 things, then I can truly say I have lived my life to the fullest with no regrets. and so with this perspective in mind, that is why I personally, as a Christian choose NOT to judge ANYONE, wither they are straight, gay, have purple hair, a million tattoos, like metal music, or classical or rock.............that feeling of living human being should EVERY have to experience such a horror as this.....

Furthermore, Christian-metal goes onto addressing the “dark issues of society that we are too ashamed to admit”.  Christian metal takes  a controversial issues such as human trafficking, broken family relationships, sex, drugs, alcohol etc, and screams how something must be done to change this. The change in this case would be Jesus Christ, HE is TRULY the only hope in all those issues mentioned. That IS THE HEART of Christian metal, bringing LIGHT into the DARKNESS.  To deny that heavy issues like these exist, is to avoid the reality of the human experience.  Jesus did NOT come to save the healthy, but the sick.
Also, there is a REASON behind the metal vocalist’s screams. General society assumes that anything screamed is truly “satanic”. From a Christian-metal perspective a scream in this case describes an emotion of hope, passion, a desperate plead to God for Him to move mightly amongst His people……….that is what makes Christian metal COMPLETELY different from secular metal. Don’t get me wrong, also within Christian-metal, the screams can also can  mean sadness, depression, hopelessness, anger, rage….BUT the key difference in this case is that in the end, those screams end in HOPE. That JESUS is truly the HOPE and the reason and purpose for the meaning of life.

So at the end of the day instead of wasting our precious time on this beautiful earth arguing and disagreeing with one another when it comes to evangelizing through metal or any other genre of music, I think it’s time to rise above such a childish standard, and simply go proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world through our creative and unique giftings.

 I would like to end on a controversial and thoughtful note…….in the wise lyrical words of Mattie Montgomery, lead metal vocalist of the band For Today, he screams, “Dead men tell no tales. Make no mistake, time is running out...." 

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