Real Hard Cash at Touchstone Magazine

Touchstone Archives: Real Hard Cash

Perhaps if Christian churches modeled themselves more after Johnny Cash, and less after perky Christian celebrities such as Kathy Lee Gifford, we might find ourselves resonating more with the MTV generation. Maybe if we stopped trying to be “cool,â€? and stopped hiring youth ministers who are little more than goateed game-show hosts, we might find a way to connect with a generation that understands pain and death more than we think.

Perhaps if we paid more attention to the dark side of life, a dark side addressed in divine revelation, we might find ourselves appealing to men and women in black. We might connect with men and women who know what it’s like to feel like fugitives from justice, even if they’ve never been to jail. We might offer them an authentic warning about what will happen when the Man comes around.

What are your thoughts?

9 Responses to “Real Hard Cash at Touchstone Magazine”

  1. Jerod says:

    “I wear the black for the poor and beaten down,
    Living in the hopeless hungry side of town.
    I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime
    But he’s there because he’s a victim of the times…”

  2. Rebecca M. says:

    I think we worry too much about how things on the surface will “connect” with a generation who has the same soul sickness as the first Adam. Why not concern ourselves with being people who are so permeated with Truth that whomever we encounter can’t help but receive or reject something much deeper than our clothes or music or hip quotient? They THINK they want something that connects with their particular brand of generational angst, but we should know better. What they really want is for something/someone to answer that ache in their soul which cries for the deep and beautiful things of God. Something to incite both fear and fascination for the Holy. And Someone to heal their brokenness.

    I don’t think Johnny OR Kathy should be the model for that.

  3. Thomas says:

    Agreed – sounds like what you are saying is we should model ourselves after God as fully expressed in the Christ, Jesus? Regrettably, that is a rather novel idea in much of Christendom.

  4. Ryan says:

    Interesting post: I didn’t know Kathy’s religious affiliation before reading it, and considering the point of the article, well, like I said, interesting. My thought is that Johnny Cash (at least as far as I can tell) came to his beliefs based largely on his upbringing, namely his mom. And she wasn’t “in black”. Also, June Carter while not being perfect was not “in black” and she is credited by him as saving him from himself. So what I am left thinking is that someone like Johnny Cash wouldn’t have convinced Johnny Cash to change his life. But I’m still glad he did a couple Billy Graham crusades, and I’d much sooner watch a movie about him than Kathy Lee.

  5. Jonathan says:

    Well, as a goateed youth minister, I must admit that I somewhat “resemble” that commentary. But I think that the one thing I’ve seen that is the most powerful way of communicating God to the next generation is AUTHENTICITY. People are looking for something that is real. Johnny Cash looked real; Kathy Lee Gifford does not. I agree with Ryan — it was not the folks “in the black” who held out hope, it was the folks who weren’t afraid to be real with Mr. Cash who were able to affect change. Our hope in Christ is very real, so we have permission to be authentic AND joyful AND at peace, even in the midst of hardship.

  6. elijah says:

    I like black

  7. elijah says:

    it goes with everything

  8. Kevin says:

    A good thought at first, but if you or your church tries to be like anybody else, you will not be like you. I am so sick of churches (pastors) looking for the “secret” of church success. Are we going from mega churches to “niche churches?” (Man in Black Baptist Church? Man in Black Ministries?) Is that the next big thing? If it is, you heard it here first. It isn’t a bad idea, you just have to think a minute-are we going to get down the path and see Cowboy church, Goth church, Geek church, Skater church, etc? Obviously, the great thing about Cash was that he was who he was. (See the full page ad he ran in the country music newspaper the day after his record company dropped him after decades of hit songs.) Not gonna see THAT at the LifeWay store. The great thing about authenticity is that it has a “gravity, or gravitas”-(see George Bush, 2000) that will draw people of all types in. THAT is why people respect men and women (and churches, pastors?), even if they don’t like everything about them.
    Cash did not sell himself or his music for the sake of success. That is why success came to him. Jesus did not sell Himself or his message for the sake of success. That is why the Cross came to Him. It is expensive to be who God called you or a church to be. Just be you-that’s who God wants to use today. Hi Thomas-congrats on the new (and improved?) model.

  9. Thomas says:

    Kevin, good to hear your thoughts. Niche churches is the next big thing, apparently, check it out at