I decided to go beyond listening to “Handlebars” and listen to the larger aka entire body of work by The Flobots, and I’m hooked!
If you’re unfamiliar with The Flobots, here’s a brief 101 about them; they’re defined as a “rock and hip hop musical band” via Wikipedia, and yet while their music is catchy their lyrics are even catchier. Consider the political rock nature of System Of A Down or Rage Against The Machine, and they’re that lighter to the ears but more to the point about issues.
Not only do they talk about issues past and present in America’s marred history, but they point out the struggles of people across the globe. Yet I think what grabs me most about their music is the ever present theme of liberation theology; the branch of theology that views Jesus as a sufferer, a sharer of man’s blight and humanity, rather than one of Jesus as a conqueror and a vanquisher.
I’ve been a pacifist in my own way ever since I was younger. I think some of it had to do with reading anti Vietnam literature from conscientious objectors but I know that war language/metaphors affixed to Christianity (think “Onward Christian Soldiers” / “I’m in the Lord’s Army”) bothered me. War kills and destroys lives, it divides both internally and externally, and it perpetuates a paradigm of “allies versus enemies”, nothing good can come from a war that is unjust…except for the windfall that sometimes follows, hence the Baby Boomer generation post World War 2.
The recent wars America has fought in do not smatter of justice or doing the right thing, rather it is about vested interests and lining wallets under the guise of “defending America’s freedom.”
But back to Flobots.
Their lyrical content is about reversing all that, about setting right wrongs, about being vocal about social issues that need to be addressed, about making a difference for all of humanity. Yet I think the song that I dwell upon the most is their song “Wrestling Israel” because it causes me to wrestle out what I hold dear, as well as my thoughts and views.
Wrestling isn’t the same as doubting; it’s about being on the defensive and offensive, being prepared to be in a headlock and provide one if necessary as well. I enjoy this notion when it comes to matters of faith, and I would much rather wrestle it out and come to my views with openhanded faith instead of having a closefisted belief system. As a follower of Christ I recognize that the Bible contains black and white truths, but there is also a lot of grey.
My views as a follower of Christ have come through a lot of wrestling (and I still am) as to “what my parents believe” to what do I believe. I used to think it was about getting saved and going to heaven, but I don’t think that way anymore. I believe my position is to be one of love, faithfulness, and testimony for the long-haul; testimony of what God has done and what God is still doing, to love one another as I have been loved, to extend grace to all whom I come into contact with. It’s not my business to “save” anyone, and I myself do not see myself as being saved but rather God is in the process of saving me; God is saving me today and he will be saving me tomorrow. I choose to use dynamic words rather than static words, I choose to use words of creation and growth and life. I also like to dwell on the fact that no matter how bad this world gets sometimes God never retracted “it is good” and that perfect shalom is on the horizon. 🙂 Things will get better in time for all of humanity, all in due time.
I will keep questioning, keep wrestling, and keep loving for as long as I have air in my lungs!