It’s been a g’billion years since The Purging Lutheran read this. It has already been sent away to a somewhere for a someone to read sometime so the details are sketchy. Anyhoo, I shall sally forth with my thoughts on Christianity’s mix with popular culture. I will do my best getting to the point:
Question: So, just where does Ozzy and his music fit in with your Christian faith?
But wait! These lyrics are from an early Black Sabbath album.
After Forever (Black Sabbath)
Or perhaps you think that when you’re dead you just stay in your grave
Is God just a thought within your head or is he a part of you?
Is Christ just a name that you read in a book when you were in school?
Would you like to see the Pope on the end of a rope do you think he’s a fool?
Well I have seen the truth, yes I’ve seen the light and I’ve changed my ways
And I’ll be prepared when you’re lonely and scared at the end of our days
If they knew you believe in God above?
They should realize before they criticize
That God is the only way to love
In with the pack wherever they run
Will you still sneer when death is near
And say they may as well worship the sun?
I think it is sad the opinion you had was the only one voiced
Will you be so sure when your day is near, say you don’t believe?
You had the chance but you turned it down, now you can’t retrieve
Open your eyes, just realize that he’s the one
The only one who can save you now from all this sin and hate
Or will you still jeer at all you hear, yes I think it’s too late
Frankly, they fit pretty well as ‘Christian’ lyrics. It’s got The Gospel in it and it is life affirming. Maybe if Sandi Patty* sang this song it might be considered a song of faith (though not popular with Catholics). I don’t know why Ozzy wrote this song. Was he a follower at the time? Is he still a follower? That’s not for me to judge but when you look at his body work you’d most likely answer the same as My Sweet Rib,
“Yeah … no”.
Still, not our place to judge** but as Matthew writes in chapter 7,
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Take Ozzy for who you will. He should not be ’ignored’ by Christians and not because he’s some sort of ‘bad guy’ singing ‘naughty’ songs but because Christ wants ‘no one to perish’ such is His great love for all of us. My Sweet Rib frequently prays for the salvation of Paul McCartney. Me? Keith Richards. Though none of us deserve His grace, He offers it freely to all. Do your part. The unsaved will thank God for it.
What about these other topics listed on the book cover? The Passion is pretty obvious but what about Star Wars? Well, it does include the the line
‘May the force be with you’
which is a parallel of the Lutheran greeting, “May The Lord be with you” but without proper response. Lutherans know the response – “And also with you”.
So there’s that. What I’m getting at is, sure, it’s possible to find the pearls among the swine but you gotta slosh through books and films to find them. What does the Bible say about rooting around in a mess?
Matthew 7:6 (King James)
6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Is the King James’ version to hard to read? Try the ESV …
Matthew 7:6 (English Standard)
“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
Is the English Standard too complicated? Let’s try this version …
Matthew 7:6 (The Message)
Don’t be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honor to God. Don’t reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you’re only being cute and inviting sacrilege.
I used to work in our church/school library for a few years but only most recently about five years ago. We carried the complete set of the Harry Potter books and a complete ‘Left Behind’ series. While Harry Potter was certainly not meant to be Christian-themed you could probably find ‘pearls of Christian wisdom’ throughout its pages. The ‘Left Behind’ books are meant to be a blow-by-blow account of The End Times and Jesus’ return to Earth. I don’t care for either set but for way different reasons. Harry Potter takes place in a fantasy world and anyone reading them ought to know they need to be read for entertainment value only. There is no long range Christian value in this series. Why do we have them? We, it’s possible the library has removed them by now but a likely answer,
“Well, they get the kids reading, right? That’s important”.
Persisten Reader: So what could possibly be wrong with Left Behind? They’re Christian books written by a Christian. Huh?
TPL: Well, they are ‘Christian’ books filled with scripture written by a Christian but it isn’t doctrinally safe. The author has taken the liberty to explain The End Times according to his and, presumably, his denomination’s interpretation of them. Without going into it too much, my main (and important) complaint is that it suggests that after Jesus returns and takes His people home to Heaven all those persons ‘left behind’ get a second chance to commit their lives to Jesus and be ‘taken home’ at a later date. This is only after they have suffered the calamities visited on Earth by The Anti-Christ during ‘The Tribulation’. My point – if we get a second opportunity to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior why bother the first time? How many souls might be lost to Satan for those who took this to heart hoping to put Jesus off for another day thinking, “I’ve got plenty of time” only to die too soon for salvation?
Harry Potter or Left Behind? Given my choice I’d throw them both out but there’s a better chance fewer persons would recognize Harry Potter as a book to take seriously as ‘a Bible for their lives’. Left Behind offers the false hope of possibly having more time than you probably do.
“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.