Before the title makes you think I’m opposed to country music, don’t get that idea. I like old, real, pining country. The new stuff feels like pop with an accent, but that’s a different post for a different day.
I’m not raising objections to country music here.
I do have an issue with Country Music Christianity, though. What is that? Well I’m glad I asked myself.
Country music loves to mention prayers, God’s blessings, God’s providence in watching over our soldiers, and a myriad of other things. The idea of God is speckled throughout the lines. He’s never the focus, just a supplement.
But the hypocrisy, often within the same verse, is what really gets me. It simply reflects the mindset of millions who claim to be Christian. God’s blessings and the importance of prayer are beautiful, but how can you truly grasp those if you’re living in sin and praising that sinful lifestyle? If you’re getting in bar fights, raising hell on the town, and cheating on your wife, how can you experience the bounty of God’s plan for your life?
Country music lyrics tend to compartmentalize God, only acknowledging Him when asking the blessing, talking about the troops, or when He needs to take the wheel. We turn God into a genie in a bottle. Many of us recognize how wrong this is, but still buy into this mindset because it’s comfortable.
We like that kind of God. I know I do.
I like God to be there with my family in the hospital, but I don’t want Him there in my dorm on a Saturday night. I like God to listen when I’m asking for an answer on an exam, but He can’t listen to the jokes I make when I’m with my friends.
I like a medicine cabinet God. One that I can turn to when things aren’t ideal, yet one that I put away when everything’s going smoothly. I don’t wanna overdose and be one of those crazy people, after all.
I’m afraid that many of those professing to be Christians fall into this mindset. Many live this way for years being comfortable, but not changed. This comfortable Country Music Christianity gives people just enough God to deceive them. I overheard a guy in my cafeteria put it candidly:
“I think there’s some good ole boys that know the Lord, and then I think there are some that think they do.” – Guy in my college cafeteria
These people love the medicine cabinet God that helps when they’re down or need something, but is absent when they are in living in sin and rebellion. Even those who don’t live this way continually put God in a box in certain times in their lives. I know I do.
The problem is that God is much more than that. I’ll never comprehend the plans He has for me and my life. He shouldn’t just be sprinkled throughout my life like a country song, but my life should pour out a chorus of praise and surrender.
He should be a fire that consumes every aspect of my food, drink, language, jokes, relationships, sexuality, attitudes, finances, school, my life.
So I want to encourage you, Church. Avoid compartmentalizing God, allowing Him to consume you will transform your life in ways that a half-surrendered heart never could.