The Scene has a story on Rocketown this week.
For those of you who have no idea what Rocketown is, the brief description is that it is a Christian club started by Michael W. Smith. The club’s aim is to reach young people who are in need of Jesus. They have workshops, a large indoor skate park and they book bands.
I’m about 25 years too old to be part of Rocketown’s demographic, and as a lifelong Christian, I’m not the person they’re trying to reach. I’m too fat, too old, too white and too churched to be the target Rocketown customer–and that’s not a bad thing. (You’d likely have to hold a gun to my head to get me into anything called a “skate park”, since even the presence of Heelys makes my blood pressure skyrocket.)
I read the Scene’s story about Rocketown today, and for the most part was pretty pleased with the fact that MWS has been able to make his vision work. (Full disclosure: one of my former bosses was somehow in on the founding of the original Rocketown in Franklin. I can’t remember specificially how, but she went to lunch with a guy who was working on it and came back with piles of things with the Rocketown logo that I had to file.)
But what I’m concerned about is the larger picture brought to mind with the show booker for the club mentioned that he books non-Christian acts for the club. One of the acts he booked does an anti-homosexual song called “Faggot”. Aware of the hate message, he booked the act anyway “because the kids wanted to [see that particular band].”
And this is where I have a problem with what we Christians do when we’re fishing for men. See, I know that oft-quoted meme of “Jesus ate with tax collectors and prostitutes”. People (including me) have been throwing that out there for decades to justify associating outside The Circle. I have non-Christian friends, non-Christian business clients and I even read non-Christian books.
But I think we need to realise that while Jesus ate with tax collectors and prostitutes He himself never extorted money from people or turned tricks. That’s why I think it’s really important to watch what we do in Jesus’ name. To me, if you’re operating a club in Jesus’ name, you ought to not hire performers whose act is blatantly anti-Christian. And to me, espousing hate for anyone is fundamentally anti-Christian. If Christ is love, then hate is not of Christ.
Do I think places like Rocketown shouldn’t hire non-Christian bands? Not necessarily. But I do think there’s a difference between “these people don’t have a faith in Christ” and “these people actively espouse tenants that are wholly contrary to the tenants espoused by Jesus.”
It may be a fine line, but I think it’s there.