Burn, Baby, Burn!

Mad props to my wife for this posting. I know, I know, no one says "mad props" anymore, but if leg warmers are back in style, "mad props" has gotta be back soon. Kelly forwarded me the link from this Christian music-ish website that is trying to dissuade people from burning CDs that they didn't pay for. They're selling t-shirts that have slogans printed on them such as, "WWJB- What would Jesus Burn?" and "Jesus loves the little Children- except those that burn CDs." My absolute favorite, though, has to be the ever popular "Burn CDs . . . Burn In Hell."

Now I'm a recovering burner myself [I say, "Um, hi . . . my name is Steve and I'm a CD burner." Everyone else says, "WE LOVE YOU, STEVE!"]. Pirated Guns 'n' Roses cassettes in high school were my gateway and I hit the gutter on Napster. But I finally felt convicted that I was stealing and that's still one of those Ten Commandment and that I should stop doing bad things. Even though I felt no guilt from my theft, I needed to purge the habit from my lifestyle. I've been clean ever since, but I'll always be a recovering burner.

So even though I'm totally against illegal CD burning, I find the messages on these shirts ridiculous. I have a low tolerance for the Christian Contemporary Music industry as is [read John Fischer's Fearless Faith], but this just pushes it to a new low. I have two gripes:

BEFORE I RANT: I was unable to figure out who actually produced these shirts. I bet the people who thought of the shirts aren't even the actual artists, but promoters and label execs who make a living off CCM artists. If this is the case, I apologize in advance to the innocent. I know these shirts don't totally reflect the entire CCM industry, but someone needs to be blamed. We had Sanctus Real at our church last week and they were some awesome guys. It's too bad that the people who made these stupid t-shirts give Christian performers a bad rep.

1) These people don't appreciate how blessed they are to be able to make a living from their music. True, God calls people to certain ministries and a worker is worth his keep [I Timothy 5:18], but is it really "a ministry" when you charge twenty to forty bucks to participate in it [by purchasing a CD or a concert ticket]? You might say, "But Steve, you get paid as a minister! People have to pay you for your ministry by giving offering to the church." In a sense this is true, but no one is forced to tithe to a church, unless they serve Kool-Aid or where Black Nike Shoes. I guess it'd be different if CDs and concert tickets were free and people were asked to donate to their music ministry. Being a CCM artist is a huge blessing and instead of retaliating against music piraters with t-shirts [which by the way cost $15 each, another way to make some cash], they should find a more appropriate way to preach against.

2) The message of the "Burn CDs, Burn in Hell" shirt is a calloused one. I'm not sure its creator realizes how insensitive it really is. If I'm a non-Christian and I see someone wearing one of the "Burn In Hell" t-shirts, am I more or less likely to understand the grace of Jesus? These CCM people are trying to be all edgy and hardcore using the word "hell" on a t-shirt. Congrats on that. It's about as offensive as those shirts with Jesus on them that say, "Body Piercing Saved My Life." I'm just not impressed. Just a sidenote, I'm rather leery of condemning people to hell- that's in God's job description and not mine. I try to stay in my place and leave the eternal damnation to Him.

I could say more, but I'm really tired of the whole thing. Sorry for ranting. I guess it's my wife's fault for showing me in the first place [kidding, Kel].