Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Taking "self-regard up to eleven"

I was listening to Bad Company and Pink Floyd yesterday and grieving that rock-n-roll is dead. Pop music is a wasteland of bad taste and even worse music (or is it the other way around?). Who could have watched the Black Eyed Peas at this year's Super Bowl and not missed the Who's somewhat off key performance of a year ago? But, I digress. What turns so many of us off about the modern music scene is the insufferable self-importance of the artists (it hurts to use that word). But is this any worse than my own insufferable self-importance? Granted, I'm a bit more subtle than Lady Gaga but sinful none-the-less.

Carl Trueman weighs in on modern pop and our all too common self-regard.

Neil Strauss has a fascinating article over at the WSJ about the number of top pop stars who think that their careers are specially anointed by God as part of his higher purposes. I guess it is indicative of the overall decline in rock music over the years: when I was young, graffiti declared that Clapton was God, not simply used by him to accomplish the world's destiny.

Despising the modern pop scene, and having more important things to do on Sunday evening, I did not see the Grammys, though I was struck yesterday when I saw a clip of this ghastly Lady Gaga person (she with the central role in God's cosmic plan: see Strauss above) being carried on to stage in one of those plastic pods that were apparently left over from the set of This is Spinal Tap. I laughed at the latter; indeed, I laughed at the former -- until the portentous arty commentary indicated that LG was making an artistic statement, not sending up the inane self-importance of the pop establishment. Indeed, looks like she had very much taken self-regard it up to eleven, as they say.

Yet vacuous pop stars are soft targets when it comes to mocking the theologising of self-importance. They look and sound ridiculous because we can all hear what they say, see what they wear (`You'd be beaten up in Chingford is you showed up dressed like that!!'), and smirk at their assumption that, because they can entertain, what they have to say about everything is somehow important, unique, and, indeed, coherent. My guess, however, is that more than a few of us in the church also fall for the `God has a special purpose for my life' line. This is often simply a way of saying `I believe myself to be uniquely important and indispensable.' Actually, we are not; none of us are. There is always somebody else who could do our jobs better; and let us not kid ourselves -- there is probably somebody else who could have married our spouse and made them just as happy, if not more so. God's love for us is exceptional, not because we are unique, but because we are not so; not because he needs us; but because he does not need us at all. [emphasis mine]

God calls us all by name; he cares for us. But make no mistake: he could quite easily do without us. Just as, frankly, we could quite easily do without some skinny bleached bimbo in a sequined dress jumping our of a plastic carton and giving us the definitive statement on gay rights, global warming, and, y'know, isn't it all that other stuff, yeah?

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