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A Slice Of Life To Go is an online Christian blog written by Todd Thompson. It encourages people to see the beauty in ordinary moments and to know God’s unconditional, unfailing love in everyday life.

Who Cares?

May 17th, 2005

I believe it was Mark Twain who said, “The more time I spend with the so-called “good people”, the more I understand why Jesus preferred to spend His time with sinners.”

The setting was a facility owned by a large church in the Phoenix valley. The scene was a music concert. A local band was celebrating the release of their latest CD and they had kindly asked me to join them to play percussion. The members of the band are Christian, but they play at many different venues. They enjoy performing their music and talking about their faith to people on the fringe who, for whatever reason, aren’t comfortable in a church.

After the concert everyone gathered for food at the back of the auditorium. I was working my way past the croissant sandwiches when I noticed that one of the band members seemed to be cornered by a couple whose body language indicated a two against one situation. Not a fair fight.

After loading some meatballs on the paper plate I stepped in and interrupted with a “Hi. I’m Todd. Whatcha’ talkin’ about?” The lady stepped back just far enough to face me. I thought it curious that she and her male friend didn’t offer their names in response to my introduction. They just continued on with what I quickly learned was a not so nice critique of the evening.

The lady was short, sharply dressed with bleach blond hair and a ring on one of her fingers. Dangerous though it is to speculate, I’m guessing she was pushing 50. The gentleman accompanying her was all of that and also nicely attired. Since they didn’t offer their names I don’t know if they were married. Let’s just call them Mr. Tweed (for his jacket) and Ms. Sparkle (for her ring).

Mr. Tweed said, “I just couldn’t find the message in the music. The message wasn’t clear at all.”

“Do you know anything about the band?”, I asked. “About where they play and the audience they try to reach?”

Ms. Sparkle adjusted her ecru wool jacket. “It doesn’t matter. One shouldn’t have to hunt for the message. If you’re Christians then you need to play Christian music.”

“The band members are Christians. However, many times the audience they play to…”

Ms. Sparkle interrupts me. It was the first of several times she stomped on the tail of my sentences. “Those people just come for the music. They probably don’t even listen to the words. They might dance to it, but they don’t listen to the words.”

I can’t believe what I’m hearing. How could people who look so intelligent utter such nonsense?

“Are you telling me that non-Christians don’t think? Have you listened to any popular music lately? Many of the lyrics are loaded with spirituality. That’s the mark of our current generation. People are seeking meaning and they’re looking down every imaginable path to find truth.”

Ms. Sparkle didn’t bat either of her fake eyelashes. She responded with attitude. “You know, we have the money to back this band if we want to. But this concert should have been held at the Legion Hall. Because that’s where this music belongs.”

Everyone has their personal taste in music. That’s no big deal. What astounded me was her arrogant rudeness. And that somehow her money made her opinion superior. It made me angry. I had to remind myself these people claimed to be Christians. It took considerable restraint for me to stay in adult mode and not go off on them. So I asked a question.

“What specifically bothers you about the music you heard tonight?”

“There’s nothing about Jesus in your music.”

“Really? So the arrangement of “For A Thousand Tongues To Sing” wasn’t clear to you? That part about “if we keep silent the rocks will cry out in praise to God” was too subtle?”

Ms. Sparkle ignored the question. “I was at the “Just Give Me Jesus” conference last week and Fernando Ortega was there. He was wonderful! His message was so clear. I understood exactly what he meant in every song.” She sighed like a little school girl as she remembered it. Like she had a little Fernando Ortega statue mounted on her dashboard.

“I’m familiar with his music. It’s good. But you need to remember something. You went to a Christian conference with Christian friends and heard Christian music through your Christian grid of church background. Of course the music made sense to you. How could it not? You know the lingo.”

Ms. Sparkle started to stomp on my sentence again but I jumped ahead just in time.

“My question to you is if a person had attended the same conference and heard the same music only they had no church background, no Christian friends and no Christian world view, would the message of Jesus in the music been equally clear to them?”

Ms. Sparkle stared at me. She looked me straight in the eye. With stone expression and chilling level tone, she answered my question with two simple words.

“Who cares?”

When we focus only on ourselves, our view of God becomes myopic. When our view of God becomes myopic, our faith becomes ingrown. An ingrown faith that concerns itself only with fulfilling personal desires is no faith at all. When we no longer care about the spiritual condition of other human beings created in the image of God, we are pitifully blind and pathetically self-absorbed.

To pick one truth of God as most wonderful is to pick the most beautiful flower in a glorious field of lilies. Yet if I were to choose the most beautiful truth of the Bible, it would be that “Jesus is a friend of sinners.” Which is to say He is a friend of mine. And a friend of yours.

Whatever music they’re playing down at the Legion Hall, I think Jesus would be down there. He loves us sinners. He’d be there and anywhere there are people who need to know they are loved, forgiven, and accepted.

Maybe someday Ms. Sparkle will hear the music and drop in.

“For the Son of Man (Jesus) has come to seek and save the lost.” – Luke 19:10