My brother plays in a band called Future of Forestry and they recently ran across a situation that really posed for some tough decisions. The following is a blog that Eric Owyoung, their lead guy, posted on their myspace. read the blog. i’d love to hear your thoughts on what role we as Christ followers play on an issue like Gay Marriage. what role should the church play on the issue and maybe more specifically as it relates to voting and the political realm? lastly, if you took a 30,000 foot view of how the church is and has dealt with the Gay and Lesbian community in this past 30 years to present what would you have to say about it?
Put in the position that the band was what would you have done? i know there is a tendency to jump to what feels like the ‘right Christian answer’. but take a second, read this and think about some of the questions and then sound off. good food for thought and let’s stay away from gay bashing and actually use our minds before we just respond.
here’s the blog entry from Eric:
FUTURE OF FORESTRY CANCELS HEADLINING SAN DIEGO PERFORMANCE 8-8-08 TO AVOID GAY RIGHTS POLITICS
I have told my fan-base that they will be attending a worship concert. If they are not getting exactly that, then I can’t play with integrity.
Four months ago, I called a promoter/friend to request putting together a Future of Forestry headlining concert focused on worship with one or two opening bands. What started as such became an event called “8-8-08.” Eight bands, eight speakers. Just 5 days before the event, I was informed that a part of the messages that will be spoken will involve a campaign rallying together voters against same-sex marriage in our state.
I went into this show to play music and bring people into a worship experience. I do not understand how this political discussion got involved. I have asked, pleaded, begged that the event would omit any discussions of gay rights but have been refused. I cannot play this concert with integrity. This is not what I signed up for.
I was told not to be concerned because any messages spoken about gays would be “truth spoken in love.” But we live in a culture where people, Christians, even conservative Christians disagree on how to approach subjects such as gay rights. We MUST realize and be sensitive to the reality that even IF they agree on a Biblical interpretation, Christians still must choose their way of approaching homosexuality in our culture. I don’t expect my band-members to agree on the subject and they don’t. So I don’t bring it up on stage.
I WENT INTO MUSIC TO PLAY MUSIC
I reserve the right not to involve the music of Future of Forestry in this political discussion. I have been told this isn’t a political discussion but a Biblical one. But when we are talking about laws, voters, and legislation, we are talking about politics. Fine, you call it a Biblical/Political issue, but never the less, it is still political.
I went into music to play music. I was challenged by the promoter to step up to the subject rather to step out. But I have no desire whatsoever to get up to a microphone and describe, debate, or publicize my political views on gay rights. I have told my fan-base that they will be attending a worship concert. If they are not safe to get exactly that, then I can’t play with integrity.
A CALL TO SPEAK CLEARLY
I told you that the promoter of this a good friend. And he is a good person. There is nothing malicious in his endeavors. He is extremely passionate and unafraid. What was missing in this situation though was clear and timely communication about what was involved before it was too late. As an artist and person, I deserve a choice whether or not to be a part of an event involving such a sensitive subject. Not to be told afterwards.
Promoters, Pastors, Event Organizers, I urge you to speak clearly and with integrity to artists as well as people going to the show about the content of the events you are putting on:
“Hey, Eric, I am putting on a worship concert with a ten minute Obama (or McCain) plug. Do you want to be a part of it?”
“No thank you. Maybe next time.”
“Hey, Eric, I am putting together a basketball game with a ten minute intermission talking about gay rights. Do you want to play?
“No thank you. I’m too short. Please call me when you want to just play music.”
In the end, I believe the intensions for “speaking in love” are merited. But whether they are spoken harshly or lovingly, I just ask that a Future of Forestry worship concert not be a political platform. Is that too much to ask for? Talk about gay rights in your homes, talk about it at work, most of all talk about it in your voting booths. I am sure that I will too. But why INSIST that it needs to be talked about in worship?
THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE
I play music because it is the universal language of all people. Blacks, whites, males, females, gays, and straights. I play music because I believe it will draw people together and draw people closer to God. I leave the political discussions up to my own conversations and my own right to vote. But in this creative space called music, I will fight to have a place where we are all safe to be loved and embraced by God through every tone and every note that is played. This is the nature of worship music.
To the Forestry fans that were excited to see our hometown concert, I am very sorry and sad that we will not be playing. We promise to put together a smaller show soon in the San Diego area. No politics, no basketball…just music.
(Future of Forestry will not be performing, but the event has not been cancelled. If you intended on going to the event to see the other 7 bands or 8 speakers, they will still be performing)
THINK AND RESPOND!!!