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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Are We Young... or Are We Sleeping?

Hello, all dozen of you blog readers! You're in for a treat today. My dear friend and prayer partner has offered to guest host our blog today. Take it away, Tina!

Commentary to which Tina is responding:

"We Are Young': The Anthem of a New Generation?

 by John Stonestreet

Earlier this summer, I kept hearing this song with a very memorable sound – and not the “if I can’t get this song out of my head I may jump off a cliff” memorable sound of “Call Me Maybe,” the most popular song of the summer. No; this one reminded me of the rock anthems of the 80s and 90s.
So when I heard a commentator suggest that this song, “We Are Young” by the band Fun, could work as an anthem for the Olympics, I looked up the lyrics.
I already knew the chorus: “We are young, so let’s set the world on fire; we can burn brighter than the sun.”

As someone who often played sports with Queen’s “We Are the Champions” playing in the background, I assumed this was one of those “seize the moment” and “we can do it” songs. But the rest of the lyrics were anything but: “My friends are in the bathroom getting higher than the Empire State” and “If by the time the bar closes, you feel like falling down, I’ll carry you home tonight.”

That’s what setting the world on fire means? Scottish writer and politician Andrew Fletcher was right when he said, “If a man were permitted to write the ballads of a nation, he need not care who writes its laws.”

My friend David Eaton, who leads a terrific worldview ministry for students called Axis, says “We Are Young” is like so many other songs that focus on the here and now: dissociating actions today with consequences tomorrow. Get drunk, get high tonight, but no worries about waking up tomorrow with a pregnant girlfriend, or a drug habit, or being unable to hold down a job.

This sort of postmodern fantasy — that ideas don’t have consequences — dangerously resonates in the minds and hearts of young people. In fact, Rolling Stone called the performance of “We Are Young” the defining singalong moment of one of the largest music festivals this summer.

But the immorality is only part of the problem, and celebrating the drunken bar scene isn’t what bothers me most about “We Are Young.” Most troubling is how this lifestyle is portrayed as not even really meaningful, but as all that’s left because there’s nothing significant to live for.

In fact, another song by Fun called “Some Nights” is no better. The video utilizes something as historically significant as a Civil War battle in order to sing: “So this is it? I sold my soul for this? Well, that is it, guys, and that is all, five minutes in and I’m bored again.”

The rebellion of the past was a way of expressing youthful independence or personal toughness. The rebellion of today is doing anything in order to feel something, to cope with the sickening sense that life is ultimately meaningless.

Ravi Zacharias suggests that God created us with a sense of wonder that is ultimately only fulfilled in the wonder of Him. A generation without wonder, that has lost purpose, is one that needs a new anthem.

But what can we do about it? After all, you say, songs that promote immorality and nihilism have been around for decades. But folks, today’s songs are more blatant and more accessible than ever before. We went from “I want to hold your hand” in the 60s to “I want to sex you up” in the 90s, to lyrics I can’t even mention today.

So please, talk with, not just at, your students about their entertainment. And if you need help, check out the work of Axis. David Eation and his Axis teams are more effective than any group I know in confronting students’ apathy toward ideas. Go to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and we’ll link you to their website. We’ll also link you to today’s "Two-Minute Warning," where I call on Christian professionals and business people to step up to the plate and engage culture.

Because if we don’t, it won’t be long before faith will be banished from the public square.

 Again, that’s my Two-Minute Warning at BreakPoint.org.

As the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, John Stonestreet provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.

BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.

Publication date: August 16, 2012

Tina Simon’s Response 8/21/12:

Although I agree with the response of John Stonestreet (BreakPoint Commentary) to the song “We Are Young,” I think it is only one part of the story.
How often do we pray for those without Christ? And more than that, how often do we weep? Isaiah says that God collects our tears; if our tears were the rain, then perhaps this is why we have such a drought? When is the last time any of us looked out of a window down onto a crowded street and cried as if our hearts would break for the walking dead? Is it only the young unbeliever who has become complacent and apathetic?


For every trafficked girl, for every beaten wife, for every grandmother sitting alone in a nursing home chair, for every child soldier in Sierra Leone, for every person who has decided drugs or suicide is better than his reality, for every gay man who wants love and finds only AIDS, for thousands dying of starvation and disease in third world countries (who hardly really lived), for every warrior who dies in a myriad of unending wars, for every aborted baby and the hardened hearts that think it is “business as usual,” for every abused child who loves the hands that abused him, for all the money and goods that are consumed in the empty pit of unending pleasure that only gives pain, we should be on our faces before the throne of God. No matter how large the church, it is more than she can handle. Only God through the Holy Spirit can deal with all the weight of this much sorrow, wickedness, and woe.

Let us not harden our hearts. Remember, if we are children of the King, then we live forever; so even those who are old in earthly years are young. Let us cry an ocean over them till we put out the fire that is consuming them.

Yes, we should stand and be counted for what’s right. People need to know that we care about right and wrong. But we should go to Godly war with tears in our eyes and God’s Word on our lips. We need to speak joy and hope in a world that has become cynical, frightened, suspicious, hardened, wary, bored, mocking, disgusted, and hedonistic. As an old Peggy Lee song puts it: “If that’s all there is, my friends, then let’s keep dancing, let’s break out the booze and have a ball, if that’s all there is.”

“If life is only cradle to tomb, then perhaps it is only a Cabaret,” sings Liza Minnelli.

Cynically jaded songs are not new, but choosing them as songs of honor is new. Let’s sing a responding song in the darkness. Let us sing the songs that God gives us in the night: “Day by Day and with Each Passing Moment,” “O Love That Wilt Not let Me Go,” “All The Way My Savior Leads Me...”

For life lived only under the sun which is just vanity and a chasing after wind, are there no tears? There are over seven billion people in the world and the number one problem is loneliness; we should be sobbing. It was not Jesus’ anger that brought us salvation; it was his blood, tears, sweat, and death. With His resurrection, He opened heaven and life eternal for us. Tell of it, sing of it. Life is more than nasty, brutish, and short. Let us speak of heaven, brotherhood, love, faith, hope, joy, our Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and all else that is lovely, good, uplifting, and kind. Let us bring the wisdom of Scripture into a world that worships the short-sighted, adolescence, instant gratification, nastiness, and cruelty.

If the righteous King of the universe, who is our brother as well as our Lord and Savior, could give His life for us, surely we can spare some heartache and tears for this generation that is being consumed on the fires of Gehenna. Let’s pray Icharus down from the sun and tell him those who try to get to heaven on their own wings will crash and burn. Let’s “carry them to the throne tonight,” that we might see them in our Father’s home tomorrow.

Is that a choir singing, or is someone just praying them home tonight?

 Check out Keith Green's Asleep in the Light