In my band "No Longer Music", I have very strict rules about what I expect in terms of holiness—not because I am legalistic, but because I know that as Christians in a position of public influence, God will hold us to a higher standard (James 3:1).
So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. - Acts 2: 46 & 47
Recently, I came across an interview with Selena Gomez. In the video, she very candidly talked about being a Christian, and I thought “wow, that’s encouraging.” And she’s not alone, haven’t you heard? Justin Bieber is cool with Jesus too.
Back in 2010 my band started playing a few shows in the busy hardcore scene of Guarulhos, São Paulo (Brazil). One time a few of the members of another band came over and said, “I like your message, we want to share this message in our band too!”
We have used many different ways to demonstrate the Cross over the years. One time, my band was invited to play at the Jaap Edenhall in Amsterdam. Slayer was booked the night before, so the local newspapers dubbed the event “Heaven and Hell at the Jaap Eden Hall.”
Following and sharing Jesus in the art and music scene often presents dilemmas - how should we live in this world today? What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus in the scene I’m part of? What can and can’t we do? What is sinful and what is just cultural? It seems that as the church we often fall in one of two extremes: either in our search for holiness we become isolated and alienated, not relating to the culture around us; or we sell out to the culture and forget our values and identity as a follower of Jesus. So how do we get this right?
Our band had just played a show in one of the most notorious male strip clubs in São Paulo, Brazil. There was hardcore pornography stored in the basement to be distributed to pornographic bookstores. To make room for the audience to watch our show, they had to remove a runway that ran through the center of the theater, which allowed the audience to get closer to the strippers.