Saturday, November 21, 2009

Jesus is Emo

My friend A.J. listens to songs on repeat... a lot. He will listen to a song about 300 times in a row. I have always thought this was rather pathetic and vaguely OCD. Seriously, bring some variety to your life. No song is that good.

But it turns out if you listen to a song long enough, you start to learn things that you never contemplated before. I know because I did it today. I was listening to Tenth Avenue North's "By Your Side" like ten times in a row and I just started thinking about how emo that band is. I mean for a bunch of guys who say they have peace that surpasses all understanding, it seems like they are really transfixed by some deep and spiritual longing. It's not like I am Mister Happy-Go-Lucky all the time by any means but Christian emo just seems to me to be a musical genre never before tried and somewhat uncomfortable to conceive.

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you

And as I'm sitting there listening to this song and wondering whether I should be liking it as much as I do not knowing whether I like it because it is so emo or because it is about God.

That's when I realized that it was perfectly ok for Tenth Avenue North to be emo.

Because Jesus is emo.

Now hold on before you throw stones at me and scream, "Heretic!" because I called the savior of the world emo. Do people still do that? Southern Baptists probably still do.

But just think about it for a minute. The guy sweat blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, all his friends betrayed him, he spend most of his life saying things people couldn't understand, and he spent massive amounts of time alone in quiet places. That's emo.

I mean Jesus on the cross laments, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" All the teeny-bopper angst-ridden Twilight-reading sadness in the world cannot compare to the depths of loss expressed in that statement. Not even Edward Cullen could master the necessary brooding techniques to utter those words and explore the depths of the macabre like Christ.

And strangely, this makes me feel better about me. Because Jesus was emo for the same reason that every guy ever has been emo and for the same reason that I am emo.

He loves a woman. But she will not accept His love.

Now the woman he loves is more of a metaphor for the church, the world, and creation. But look at the gospels and again and again you see Jesus having to experience the kind of bone-crushing, sinking feeling loneliness that can only be associated with unrequited love.

This comforts me because it describes about 95 percent of all experiences I have had with love so I can understand a suffering Savior in this way.

But he doesn't love the "woman" because she is blonde or brunette or because of the quirks of her personality or because she laughs at his jokes. He loves her because he created her, he died for her, and purified her by allowing his love to wash over her. She is His. There is truly no where else for her to go other than to Him.

That's the breathtaking hopeless enduring love that every book and play and poem and song has been written about for all time. That's a kind of love I may never understand and only God is capable of and yet somehow it is the Love that holds the universe together and through which everything was created that has been created. It is this creative force of love that captivates the human mind and inspires us to live deeper, more meaningful existences. It's the kind of thing you just want to be near.

The idea that God has the kind of love for us that we cannot truly comprehend much less return is overwhelming.

Jesus is emo... for you.

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