I am so ashamed, so very very ashamed of the not ashamed campaign song.
Since The Office, cringe factor comedy has been a big part of the laughter making subculture. Now with Sarah Palins Alaska documentary and with Christian Concern’s latest campaign theme song (see below for video) which they are trying to promote to Christmas number 1 in the UK, comedians are out of a job because the people they might want to lampoon are producing “cringe comedy” themselves.
But there is more that needs saying about the Not Ashamed Campaign.
My parents work in eastern and central Europe. It involves meeting interesting people, thinking people who have had experienced Christianity and often have been disillusioned by aspects of it. These people sometimes doubt their faith, have serious questions around doctrine or simply want to learn how the Gospel can impact society, whether in politics, art, in film or any other sphere of life. Given that faith was a very private thing under communism, there is lots to explore about how Christianity relates to society and what opportunity exists for Christians to impact their society with the good news of redemption.
Sometimes the people who my parents meet don’t have a theological problem but rather its a problem with Christian subculture, and church life. One such man, whose name I do not know, and whose story is infinitely more complex than what I have heard or what I can write about in a blog post, serves to remind me of the feeling I had when I first heard the song that Christian Concern are promoting as part of their Not Ashamed campaign. I am utterly ashamed of being in any way associated with it.
This young man my Dad worked with, after some weeks of debate and apologetic work, finally became a believer. But he also said: “Marsh, I don’t want to be known as a Christian” (pregnant pause for effect and to illustrate the point) “I want to be a man of God.” Now apart from the fact that the comment has connotations to being a good person embodying the values that God stands for, the reason he didn’t want to be known as a Christian was because he was ashamed at the subculture associated with Christianity and a lot of the “baggage” that comes with being associated with people and practices that are what makes up our “global” Christian subculture.
I also don’t want to be associated with the Not Ashamed Campaign, not because of what it stands for (I am not ashamed of being a Christian ‘rightly defined’), but I don’t want to be associated with some of the baggage that comes with the “program” of Not Ashamed.
Have a quick listen to the song. If you like it don’t bring this blog post up in conversation with me.
One comment on The Church Mouse blog got it exactly right:
The problem lies, not in being ashamed of the Gospel but in the shame of trite and musically unimaginative ‘christian’ music. Now a campaign to get ‘Mumford & Sons to No1 I could back …
“Love that will not dismay, betray or enslave you, it will set you free, be more like the man you were made to be” “there is a design, an alignment a cry of my heart to see the beauty of love as it was made to be”… (from Parish Giving)