Gulfcoast Getaway 2011 Recap

Gulfcoast Getaway was another great experience. Randy Harris did an excellent job talking about living cruciform (cross shaped) lives and doing so in light of the resurrection. He said that people want the life (resurrection) but not the death (crucifixion) but as Christians we are to embrace both. On Sunday morning he said that we are dead to the world so what can the world do to us? What do we have to fear? He said we are all an army of Christian zombies. Now that is an interesting mental picture! You know how fearless zombies are because what can you really do to them? Imagine if the church really lived fearlessly. What could we accomplish for the kingdom of God? In Harris’ class he pointed out that many churches have lost their wonderment and imagination and what is causing a lot of young people difficulty in the church is their inability to express themselves in biblically valid ways because of the barriers of tradition. He also pointed out that our young people have passion but not many have discipline and that God wants both. I think he is right on track.

Last, I am curious to get your feedback on this video that was shown at the Getaway. It is by the Michael Gungor band and is called “God is not a white man” See what you think…

My feeling on this video is that it is combating some old popular notions and makes some valid points. But in doing so it almost makes God out to be a fairy Godfather who gives kids candy and has reduced himself to doing merely whimsical things. I understand that this is a pendulum swing where they are going to one extreme to combat the view of the other extreme so I can take all those parts (candy on the plate, flying squirrel, etc) with a grain of salt. This video certainly strikes a chord with young people today.

About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

11 Responses to Gulfcoast Getaway 2011 Recap

  1. Hank says:

    To me, the song is quite concerning. To be honest, my feelings about it are similar to those of the person who wrote the following article. I found it here:

    http://thelatterdays.blogspot.com/2010/08/god-is-not-white-man.html

    In part, he wrote:

    “This song can best be described by the video itself, as that illustration gives a clear depiction of the “god” being promoted in this song. In tearing down what they depict as false images of God, the song’s conclusion is very simple, “God is love and He loves everyone.”

    In one scene, there is a child with a sad face because she is sitting before a plate full of vegetables. But then “love” comes in and changes these nutritious foods into candy…and that is what Gungor has done in this song.

    In this song, he has stripped away from his presentation of “God” any of the saving strength and power of the Gospel, and replaced it with a message that is sugary sweet & pleasing to the flesh, but has no spiritual value. It would seem Gungor has not moved as far from being a ‘people pleaser’ as he may think.

    What parent would cater to a childish whim to let kids eat candy instead of vegetables just because candy tastes better? How would such a decision affect the development of the child? Would not depriving him/her of essential nutrients and replacing that with empty calories actually be feeding sickness and death to them? Yet this is exactly what Gungor’s “god of love” does and that is also what he is doing spiritually to those listening to such “worship” music.

    Why am I even bothering to write about this? Because the church is being sung lullabies of false gospels and feel-good doctrines which are simply rocking many to sleep. We need to stop swallowing what every “artist” puts out and giving ear to every “song” when such is devoid of true spiritual food.

    There is a saying in the computer industry of “Junk in, Junk out.” It means that if you put bad data into a processor, you will only get out bad data. What are you feeding on? Do you not know that you are what you eat? And it is not just Gungor; he is but one example. There is a whole horde of “Christian” music which is about anything BUT Christ, yet many in the churchworld continue to embrace it. They play them on the radios, buy their CDs, and even sing them in the church fellowships; becoming increasingly indoctrinated into a one world Babylonian religious system that denies Jesus Christ.

    As people sing along with this song (and others like it), I hope they truly understand who they are worshiping.

    They are worshiping a “God” who is mocked as someone just like man, an imperfect sinner. Jesus then is no longer your Savior, but He has now become your “homeboy” as shown in the T-shirt graphic.

    They are worshiping a “God” who is one with cross-dressers and transvestites.

    They are worshiping a “God” who cannot “be owned by religion”. In other words, God is SO big, that there is not just one way you can access Him.

    They are worshiping a “God” who is a “friend” to “atheists, charlatans, communists, lesbians, and terrorists” to name a few.

    These are just some of the messages promoted in this song.

    Is that what God means when He says that He is love? The problem is not whom God loves, but the fact that man loves darkness more than he loves light (John 3:19). And according to this song, even embracing deeds of evil and darkness is “good”. This is the “god” they are promoting.

    So I ask you, “Who do YOU say that God is?””

    ——————————

    While I realize that God does in fact love everyone, he at the same time does also call his children (the church) to actually “come out from among them” and “be separate.” He calls for sinners to repent. Anyway, I know you know everything else I might have to say already and so I will save it. But, I think the song/video is typical and I understand precisely why it would strike a chord with so many of the youth of our day….

    Hank

    • mattdabbs says:

      First off, I think it is a needed move to point out just how much God loves us. The reason young people want so badly to hear that is because many of them have grown up with painful home situations and have felt so unloved that they have sought out love from so many other sources. Many of them grew up in churches where they didn’t even think God really loved them because God was out to get them or God only loved them if they did certain things. So I get that.

      But, how did God’s love present itself as revealed in scripture? It wasn’t about candy and hamsters. It was about bringing love and life where there was hatred and death. God’s love was ultimately displayed through the gift of his son and the reconciliation that was brought about through his death, burial and resurrection. To me, this video waters all that down to the mundane. We all get God isn’t a man or a white man and all of that (so much for the sistine chapel!). But the alternative is certainly not a God who gives people candy or throws parades. It is a God who raises the dead and who loves us all so much that he is gracefully willing to bring victory in our lives from everything evil and bad about the world.

  2. Hank says:

    True. People need to know that God loves them as much as he has ever loved anybody else (and that, regardless of their upbringing, background, and sin). And it has always been a challenge for sinful men (and churches) to preach and teach against the wickedness of sin without sounding hypocritical, arrogant, unloving, narrow-minded, old fashioned, judgmental, etc.. However, the answer is not to quit calling sinful things wicked and to play as though God approves of the lives, practices, and (religious) beliefs of all men equally. The truth is that he does not. Truth is exclusive. We all get that, in practically every realm of life except when it comes to the spiritual. I know you know this and am not therefore speaking to you. But, I believe (am convinced) that there is a movement existing today which desires to fashion God and his truth to better align with the world in which we live. I feel as though many wish to liberate the God of the Bible from the actual words (teachings) of the Bible.

    While I only learned of the song “God is not a white man” this morning – I believe that it is a prime example of people wanting to free the God of the Bible from the Bible itself. You solicited feedback here and personally, I believe that the above song/video was getting at much, much more than the fact that God loves everybody. When I searched the opinions of others…I learned that I am not the only one who believes as much.

    I sure hope that I don’t come off as unloving, judgmental and/or arrogant here. Those are just my initial thoughts…

    Thanks

  3. wjcsydney says:

    Guys, I’m curious… why do you expect a 3 minute (or so) song to teach ALL the characteristics of God. The song portrays ONE aspect of God, and I would say is designed to touch those who have an ill-conceived view of God (ie God is hate or God is only for WASPs). And it does it very successfully I would say. Kids aren’t that naive that they would believe that ALL they need to know about God is in ONE song. I LOVE Michael Gungor’s work (and I am distinctly middle aged) because he does challenge the stereotypes and gets one thinking outside the traditions and conventions.

    I’ll play this to my 16 year old and get her reaction.

    • mattdabbs says:

      Thanks for you input. I think the issue we are all talking around is the tendency of every generation to emphasize the characteristics of God that are most like ourselves or that fill the biggest hole in our lives. This is not anything new and it is not really wrong to do that. We just have to maintain balance in our understanding of who God is and what He is up to, otherwise God ends up not being any bigger than any of us. You are right that this video only portrays one aspect of God and is certainly no attempt at a systematic theology (which usually take 1000+ pages to write).

  4. wjcsydney says:

    Nicky says the song dispels common stereotypes about God and merely emphasises one aspect of God. The song uses irony and quirkiness to show that it’s not specifically a childlike fantasy or simplistic. People are not that stupid, says Nicky (16)

  5. Hank says:

    Well, I still have a feeling that there is more behind the song than merely an attempt to show that God is “love.” I do believe that there is an agenda attempting to disassociate the God of the Bible from the

  6. Hank says:

    ….teachings of the Bible. For example, I would be very curious to know what they believe regarding what it means to become a Christian? In other words, who do they believe to be the actual children of God? I wonder what they believe in terms of who it is that are saved versus who it is that are not? I just have a feeling that they believe that a person can be an unrepentant homosexual and be just as pleasing to God as any other…. I may be wrong, but I believe that the singers of this song would actually say that an unrepentant homosexual could be saved….

  7. wjcsydney says:

    Hank, since when does a band have to decide who is saved and who isn’t? Isn’t that up to God?

    • mattdabbs says:

      He isn’t saying they decide. He is drawing conclusions about their views of who God might save based on the inclusive nature of this song/video. Hank may be right or he may be wrong. I have no idea. God can certainly love everyone but not save everyone. I am guessing that what Hank is getting at here is not just about this song but about broader trends he is seeing in Christianity in general.

  8. Hank says:

    “I am guessing that what Hank is getting at here is not just about this song but about broader trends he is seeing in Christianity in general.”

    Yeah, exactly…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: