It was a relief when we switched churches after the wedding so I could avoid ... we’ll call him Pastor A. To clarify, the avoiding lasted until an in-law sponsored intervention several years into our marriage, where he was called upon to lovingly threaten me with spiritual and legal destruction (and possibly losing my children forever) if I even suggested a desire for separation over such a spiritually weak reason as "feeling abused." Under those threats, I stayed, but managed to continue avoiding the man from then on. -- Let me just point out that this is one of the many reasons I no longer call myself a Christian. Who would voluntarily associate with this mentality?
|"bluebirds" by Chris Taylor (Shared with permission.)|
Oddly enough, chance recently brought about an interesting juxtaposition between a musician I recently met and Pastor A.
As I ran a search for Chris Taylor’s past musical accomplishments, I found an old article containing his name, written by the pastor. Curious, I clicked through to find a scathing explanatory judgment upon all who listen to “the devil’s music” and then my friend’s name, included in a very long list of musicians that all readers were invited to condemn and avoid.
Since Chris is one of the people I value for his honest and spiritual approach to life, the article made me laugh with an ironic “who is ‘of the devil’ here?” sense of anguish and anger.
If you look at external events from afar, as too many Christians do, it would be easy to quickly agree that Chris has walked through painfully shattered pathways. Comparatively, the snow-white pastor remains in tight control of his subdued and admiring congregation, idolized, and secure.
Knowing these men, both by reputation and conversation, I see in their lives a very strong contrast of attitude and activity.
Let’s just ask a few clarifying questions.
Who is honestly amazed that learning from his mistakes has strengthened his character and given him opportunities to encourage and help others, which he wouldn't have otherwise?... Who sacrificially comes alongside the wounded, unwanted, and abused with gentleness and non-judgmental compassion?... Who refuses to claim he knows anything much, but simply lives and shares what he has learned through life, without avoiding or ignoring the questions?... Who demonstrates an inner character that both the church and the world easily identify as loving?
Let me give you a hint.… He sings, too.
Seeing this, I have the privilege of choosing to listen to the one whose life is most inspiring. When I’m looking for love, kindness, humility, generosity, compassion, and gentleness ... then it is Chris who has obviously demonstrated these qualities since I've known him, without any need for redefining the terms or re-framing his actions. (AND I enjoy his music! *gasp!*)
This is often what the self-proclaimed church fails to notice, in all its whitewashed glory. It isn't the ones who hide their pride and problems beneath saintalistic goody-two-veneers that live the most meaningful lives. It is those who are revealed in the light, ragged, raw, and ever-growing.... Actual human people, y'all!
I see God’s fingerprint in both the tragedies and the joys, because this storied life is how Chris came to be the person he is now … and how he will continue to become who he is. Watch his life as experience uncovers the vein of gold, even while embedded in this rough world we all face. This value explains why I want to introduce you to him.
As a musician and a visual artist, Chris writes healing music for those who need songs that acknowledge the way life is lived. His paintings expose the masks we wear over our reality. Of course, I’d love it if this introduction leads to you support and enjoy his music and art as well. Have you heard of the real Chris Taylor?
Do take a moment to stop over and find out more from the person, himself. Find your new favorite song by listening at ChrisTaylorWorld.com, or just browse his gallery and plan where to display his paintings. Chris can also be found on facebook and twitter @RealChrisTaylor.
Edited to add:
If you've met or been influenced by Chris (or his art) and have a blog post or personal experience to add, then post your experience in the comments or send me your link to share.
A Passion for Creating - Chris through the eyes of The Groovy Gringa. (Check out the comments from others who have met him, too.)