This story by Jonathan Parks-Ramage about his encounter with an evangelical church in LA is moving and beautiful:
Treat presents a ready-made identity, perfect for those who feel lost. In the months leading up to this service, I spoke with failed actors, drug addicts, and burned-out rock musicians who all found Jesus at the lowest point in their lives, when they had lost the narrative of their own existence. Jesus quite literally saved them by giving them a new story in which to believe. I marvel at how strange this must feel, to release the individual anxieties of a self forged by will and give up responsibility to a larger collective entity. Yet I can’t help but wonder: What would it be like to surrender?
There’s a lot to unpack here: the framing of salvation as surrender, the “everybody worships” bit, the way in which Hollywood is a microcosm of the brutal pressures that our contemporary culture puts on people and how the Church has to preach in such a way to offer balm to the souls of those crushed by those pressures, the author’s conversation with a “power gay” who is now celibate because of his relationship with Christ reports that said relationship has helped his libido decrease ten-fold. (I suggested on Twitter that he check out the Revoice Conference this summer in St. Louis, which will feature all sorts of wonderful gay Christians that have never seen their libidos go down to 10% no matter how long they’ve been walking with Jesus.)
But mostly, it’s a really moving story, and I hope you’ll take the time to read it.
Matthew Loftus teaches and practices Family Medicine in Baltimore and East Africa. His work has been featured in Christianity Today, Comment, & First Things and he is a regular contributor for Christ and Pop Culture. You can learn more about his work and writing at www.MatthewAndMaggie.org