Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm NOT going to be a History Maker in this Land

So last night was Delirious's last gig. I know a few people who went to it and I seem to have wound someone up on facebook by suggesting the song 'History Maker' epitomises, for me, much that is wrong with popular charismatic-evangelical spirituality and theology. And that's because, in short, it doesn't seem to deal with the ego.

When you stop to think about it, to say "I'm going to be a history maker in this land" is incredibly egotistical. The fact is that almost all of us aren't going to be history makers (at least not in the sense that I think most people would understand that phrase).

But our egos would love us to stand out from the crowd - to be someone important - someone that really mattered - someone that history will remember.

That's what I object to in this song.

Charismatic-evangelical theology/spirituality seems to leave the ego unchecked. It suggests that as long as we say we're doing these things for God (and of course that's what everyone DOES say) then our ego's can just find a new way to express themselves.

So - didn't mean to spoil anyone's moment last night at the gig (and years ago I went saw Delirious play plenty of times) but felt this was worth saying.

12 comments:

Jim said...

Reading this I was reminded of the old axiom "Be careful what you wish for..." I think Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker and Todd Bentley were all History makers, just not how they percieved it?!

nightshiner said...

alwight delirious brothers?

just posted this on my facebook page...maybe helpful for the discussion...

just read the blog entry...I am not "wound up" - i just disagree with the pigeon holing of "evangelical spirituality" based on an interpretation of song lyrics...

firstly, i think it depends on what we mean by making history. We all make history - for good or for ill. For some it means making history that impacts the human lifestory, for others they make history that impacts a generation, for others it is a handful of people - and for some it is simply impacting the person we have lived next door to for 25 years.

Given that we all make history then the question is what motivates the history we make - ourselves, others, and/or our faith?... See More

Surely viewing history as being made by "some" rather than all is where the ego and elitism emerges not in wanting to be. We all have a place in his-story - History is not just written by the headline-makers.

So yes I want to be a history maker - not because I want to be immortalised in history textbooks (only to have my picture vandalised with moustaches or worse by bored schoolkids) but because I want to make a difference - to whomever I meet. To see Jesus Christ not Jon March impact their lives for the good.

And in terms of ego...you could then have a damn good discussion what Jesus meant when we said "you will do even greater things"...but that's for another conversation?

wound up? nope but happilly disagreeing!

Matt said...

Thanks, Jon. Glad I hadn't wound you up. I'm sure it was a good gig.

I have to say though that I think song lyrics are very good indicators of theology and spirituality. People like Pete Ward and Robin Parry would seem to agree - they've written whole books on the subject.

And, as has been pointed out plenty of times, when you look at song lyrics in the evangelical/charismatic world there seems to be a high level of me/I language.... See More

This to me is a clear indicator that the ego is being left unchallenged, and is still front and centre. It's still all about me - only now it's about the new christian me. Not much has really changed.

I accept your point about us all making history - in fact I conceded that point in my blog post I think. And of course that's true - I hope to make good history for my family etc.

But I'm still pretty convinced that's not the sentiment in the song which seems to me to be about doing spectacular things. No?

I just think the ego is tremendously resourceful and will always find new ways to bolster itself and we have to be really careful that faith (and especially ministry) isn't just being used for self-promotion. I'm sure you'd agree with that.

An Evangelical's "Spiritual Beachcomings" said...

"Charismatic-evangelical theology/spirituality seems to leave the ego unchecked"...

Speaking as a British Evangelical, Charismatic Evangelical Spirituality, if properly engaged and practised is and becomes a kenotic process of emptying the false self - the "old man" or false self is everything we have not emptied out of ourselves [cf. Philippians 2:7] and it will take you right inot the burning heart of the Trinity, you will find your self setting the controls for the Heart of the Son.

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