For the second straight year, I barely watched any of the Super Bowl. I’ve just basically decided to stop even pretending I’m a football fan. A good game might draw me in, but a 35-point blowout like the one put on display last night definitely will not. Thankfully, though, social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook now keep on providing game-related entertainment long after any interesting aspects of the game have died, so I turned most of my attention there as the Seahawks continued to pound Peyton Manning’s big-game legacy into dust.
Sometimes when posts and tweets are flying by at a million miles an hour, you have to dig kind of deep to find an interesting angle. Halftime shows are always good for at least a couple of good lines, and last night was no exception. I guess Bruno Mars put on a good show; I didn’t watch that part either. Apparently a lot of other people did, though, including Christian music artists Bart Millard of MercyMe and Chris Tomlin. I only know that because they both posted on Facebook about it … and that’s where all the fun began.
Both Millard and Tomlin made complimentary posts about Mars’ (Or is it Mars’s? Whatever…) performance. This wouldn’t have been a big deal, except Millard and Tomlin have both carved out careers singing about fairly virtuous subject matter, and Mars had just finished singing a song about someone’s sex taking him to paradise. Obviously, the comments sections on both of their posts went nuts, which highlights both the cool thing and the ridiculous thing about social media giving fans the opportunity to interact with artists.
I noticed that by today, Tomlin had removed his post, but Millard decided to come out swinging. I don’t know exactly what irked him, but he apparently felt that folks were being a little religious and judgmental in their assessments of his earlier comments. So instead of removing the earlier post, he took folks to task on the MercyMe Music Facebook page with a response that included the following:
“I’m a huge fan of music regardless whether Bruno misuses it or not. I’m a huge fan of sex, so is my wife…so is God by the way, regardless if the world abuses it. I’m also a fan of the word of God REGARDLESS if some of you people twist it to make a point. In other words, I’m no longer living my life based on what people say or think about me.”
The choice of what music to listen to has got to be one of the finest lines to walk for an American Christian. I can count at least three times I’ve cleaned out my “secular” library, only to gradually build it right back up again. I don’t let my kids listen to a lot of stuff, but a quick run-through of my iPod will find all kinds of heinous stuff, from profanity to, well, Bruno Mars. I do believe it’s important to not fill our minds with a bunch of lyrical junk, but the good stuff can just be so boring and dull musically that I eventually start looking elsewhere.
So do I blame Millard for grooving to a little Peter Gene Hernandez between halves of the big game? No, not really. What I do have a problem with is when people don’t know when to stop running their mouths. For instance, one person’s comment to Millard’s post today mentioned how family-friendly Mars’ performance was. I’m not sure what kind of family they have, but I don’t really want my kids listening to a song about sex taking someone to paradise. And, sorry, Bart, I’m pretty sure he’s not singing about a husband and wife.
It’s difficult to defend someone who earns their living preaching purity lashing out at fellow Christians the way Millard did today. That may seem like a harsh statement, but if you’re going to present yourself in a certain way, you’ve got to be prepared for backlash. Millard points out in his post that the scripture in James that refers to teachers being judged with greater strictness was actually directed at overly-religious people who liked to judge others for their behavior. I say it means if you place yourself in a leadership position, you need to be more careful with what you say and do.
Who’s wrong here? Well, we’re all wrong. I’m wrong for being a music hypocrite. Millard’s wrong because he doesn’t realize the responsibility of his position. Those commenters are wrong because they’re either operating under the assumption that anything goes or they’re getting ready to burn all their MercyMe CDs because of some words on the internet. We all just look dumb. I think we all just need to shut up.
This will probably not be a very popular post, but I’m okay with that. If we don’t figure out we can’t just shoot our mouths off about every little thing, we’re going to run into some serious trouble. Millard said we all need to “find a bigger cross to die on.” I’d rather mine not have anything to do with the Super Bowl.