Friday, April 8, 2011

Soul Surfers and Roaring Lambs

A quick note:  I try not to mix my blogs, but if you are not familiar with the Downhere song The Real Jesus, then be sure and visit The 40 Day Adventure today and give it a listen,  Goosebumps every time!  Now on with our regularly scheduled post...

  Today the movie Soul Surfer opens in theaters.  It is the true story of surfing champion Bethany Hamilton, who lost an arm in a shark attack and still found the faith and the strength to come back to competitive surfing.  It has an outstanding cast (Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid, Carrie Underwood, Anna-Sophia Robb) and a great story to tell, and I plan to see it soon.  I feel a very strong personal connection to this film.  Bethany is from the Hawaiian island of Kauai- the same island that is the home of my friend Rick Bundschuh and that produced my favorite little band, Spooky Tuesday.  In fact, both Bethany and I wrote blurb reviews for Rick's Deep Like Me that appear in the book.  And we follow each other on Twitter.  I've never met her, but I do feel a connection.

But that is only part of the reason I am so excited about this film. The late Bob Briner, author of the life-changing book Roaring Lambs, often talked about how Christians had abandoned our role of being "salt & light" in our world.  Bob thoughts were that the great culture shaping mediums of our day- books, music, movies, TV and art- were mediums the Church had handed over to "the world."  Oh, we still do all of those things- but we do them for ourselves.  We have figured out a way to be neither in nor of the world- and that is not what Jesus had in mind.  Non-believers rarely visit the Family Christian Bookstore or watch The 700 Club.  The unchurched are not likely to be found in a Left Behind screening or purchasing the latest Third Day CD.  These types of artistry are wonderful and have great value to us in our "Christian Ghetto," but they do little to actually impact the culture around us.  Bob was trying to convey to us all that while we are sheep following the great shepherd, if we want to be agents of change for Jesus we have to let our lives roar.  And that is exactly what is happening with this movie.  Bethany is not a preacher, she is a surfer.  But her faith will roar through this film.  This film is not about Christianity, is it about being faithful and searching for God in the midst of real tragedy and real struggle- and that is the kind of story that will resonate with people far outside the walls of the Church.  And like the Narnia movies and the Veggietale movies before it, hopefully Soul Surfer will encourage major studios to spend big bucks on movies that speak of faith and morality in a language the entire culture can understand.  We need to influence culture, not abandon it...

You want to know what a roaring lamb looks like in our world?  On Wednesday night's American Idol, a young man named Jacob Lusk was preparing to do Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On for Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame night.  Jacob had shown his gospel roots in previous shows, and as he practiced several music business insiders told him it was awesome to see him step outside his comfort zone.  But Jacob felt uncomfortable with the sexual message of the song, and decided to change to a different tune- Michael Jackson's great song Man In the Mirror.  He explained all of this on camera.  He never mentioned God or Jesus, but he did speak very clearly abut being faithful to his beliefs.  He absolutely owned the song, and the crowd loved him.  Randy Jackson applauded him for standing up for his moral convictions.  At that moment, Jacob Lusk's life roared to to the 25 million people or so who watch Idol each week.  And he is still around for next week.

We may not have an audience of that size, but that is beside the point.  The question is simple: Do our lives roar in a way so that the people we encounter every day know that we are followers of Jesus?  Or are your spiritual thoughts and actions reserved for the friends  who already believe?  We cannot change the culture if we leave Jesus at church every Sunday.  Use moments like Soul Surfer or Jacob Lusk to start conversations that might just change the culture you spend most of your time in.  The world is not watching and waiting to see what we do.  The world no longer cares. It's time for us to make a difference in our culture.  It's time for the lambs to roar...

Because of Jesus,


  1. Anonymous4/08/2011

    An amazing post, CJ. I love the question "Do we leave Jesus at church?" For way too many of us the answer is yes. Keep pushing us, brother! - Phil in Utah

  2. I very much enjoyed this post. My husband just blogged about Bethany Hamilton and her story. he is also blogging about Baseball players and how they are living out their faith, this post so reminded me of the stories he is finding! I don't ever spam peoples blogs the first time I visit, but I honetly think you may be interested!! =)

  3. No problem Stephanie, and thanks for stopping by. I will check out you hubby's site, as I am a huge baseball fan and it does sound right up my alley.

  4. Anonymous4/08/2011

    Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!


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