Theology, Street Art & Metallica circa 1987

Posted: December 16, 2010 in Uncategorized

I was a Reagan kid, which means I grew up in the 1980’s (which is still the coolest decade of at least the last 4…does any other generation have a Breakfast Club or Back To The Future series? ‘Nuff said).  The music of the ’80’s was generally cute and polished until thrash metal arrived. 

Bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer burst onto the scene in the early and mid-’80’s.  They played music faster and louder than it had ever been played before (with the possible exception of Motorhead).   Thrash metal had grit and a real angry authenticity to it and I dug it. 

Oh, when the ladies were around I had plenty of Bon-Jovi and Def Leppard to “set the mood” but once they exited my cherry black Chevy Blazer, I would pop in Metallica’s Ride the Lightning or Megadeth’s Peace Sells into the cassette player. 

The really cool thing about thrash in the mid-80’s was that it was my music.  Few people seemed to know about it.  MTV didn’t play thrash videos and the dudes who played the music were way too ugly to make the cover of mags like Hit Parader or Circus. It all seemed kind of underground and that made it mine.  That was cool.

But then Metallica slowly became popular and they made videos, which were played constantly and they headlined arenas and hung out with Hollywood stars.  I remember fans complaining that Metallica had “sold out” with the multi-platinum “Black Album,” but the fans weren’t really complaining about the album as much as they were complaining that Metallica didn’t seem to belong solely to them anymore.  It just wasn’t as cool anymore.

The same thing is happening with street art.  Late last night, I watched the documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop, which, in part, lampoons the current state of graffiti art that is praised by high society…the same high society that street artists often mock. 

I became a huge fan of street art more than 10-years ago when I was turned on to Shephard Fairy’s Obey stickers and Banksy’s ingenious graffiti that was popping up all over London.  Few people seemed to know about it.  So it was cooler because it was my thing. But now this guerilla art form has gone mainstream and it just isn’t as much fun anymore.

Odd as it may seem, the same thing happens with theology.  Bored Christians, of which there are plenty, love to discover underground movements or little known books and make them their own. 

This happened in the late ’90’s with the missional movement–I remember seeing the odd person here and there in a coffee shop with Stan Grenz’s “Beyond Foundationalism” and maybe listening to an independent CD from a little known worship artist named David Crowder.  That lasted for 5-6 years until everybody and their brother was listening to Crowder and Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis became a bestseller.  A large number of those within the movement became bored with the whole thing and moved on.

It is happening now with the “Young, Restless & Reformed” movement.  I confess that I was really into reading the Puritans a few years ago until every other blogger and pastor I met was doing the same.  I moved onto to biblical theology with guys like Christopher Wright but now that is picking up too. 

There are always going to be people who want to join the crowd and those who want to be part of an underground.  The former may be co-dependent while the latter sinfully wants to have a crowd to look down upon.  There is a feeling of power to be a “person in the know” as to things a few steps away from becoming hip.  We become like those on Mars Hill who are always looking for something “new” (Acts 17:21). 

It is a sin of mine.  What about you? Have you ever asked why you like what you like? Is it because it gives you a feeling of being set apart? Is this feeling a Godly one or a snobby one?

Something to pray about.

  1. […] blog is my response to pastor matt’s blog: Theology, Street Art & Metallica circa 1987. so read that before reading my little […]

  2. i wrote a response, but it became so lengthy that i just decided to post it in a blog. lol. here’s the link:

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