Sunday, February 24, 2013

How We Became Youth Pastors

We trade high school stories
of Christian rock bands,
bands that toured
with Christian rock bands,
or any band that played
all ages shows in the late 90’s--

so many questions? Do you remember
Five Iron Frenzy or Roadside Monument,
Waxwing, These Arms Are Snakes,
when we stopped liking ska,
when skanking ceased to be cool, but
hardcore dancing still, somehow, was.
Older siblings talked of Soundgarden,
Nirvana, or Modest Mouse--handmedown
musical taste mixed with youth group piety:
Church youth rooms became venues,
ping-pong tables were folded-up
frankenstein-half stack amps wheeled in,
cops called on noise complaints: the legends
that got youth pastors fired and worshipped.

More questions: were we actually cool?
When was the last time you listened
to a Tooth and Nail band? We were cool.
Thrift store Doc Martens, Dickies slacks,
and band t-shirt with unrelated graphic.
We were seeker-sensitive-missional-
emergent-artisan church before it was...

We’ll be thirty soon, and then what
will be cool? More bands? Or singers from old bands
new solo project? A collection Motown on vinyl?
Scotch whisky, homebrews, secret garage stills?
Werner Herzog documentaries? May it never be!
Will the category cease to exist, and all the scenesters
turned socially-conscious progressives
ease into poorly paid professions
dress sensibly, eat ethically
raise poorly behaved children
with aspirations to become artists,
or worse yet, poets.