I’ve never a big fan of the “culturally relevant” church. Not because it’s a bad thing, but because most churches tend to suck at it. Usually, it’s something like “The Dark Night; An Easter Story” which tells how Batman and Robin “discover the true meaning of Easter”. And, it’s not a good Batman on the poster; it’s usually Adam West from the cheesy 60’s TV show (which, I now shamefully admit, I avidly watched as a kid). But, once in a while, someone gets it right.
A good example is Jeremy Smith and his website, Hacking Christianity, who often makes reference to Star Wars and, one the best most under-rated TV shows ever, Firefly. Consider that last statement for a second and imagine my (giddy) surprise on recent Sunday morning when Michael Usey, pastor of College Park Baptist Church began his sermon with a mention of Serenity, the Firefly movie that Joss Whedon made when the morons at Fox cancelled his show after only 14 episodes. Specifically, Michael referenced what’s come to be known as the “I aim to misbehave speech”. Here it is:
The “they” he’s talking about is the government (Alliance) and what they’d done is introduce a drug into the air of the planet Miranda that should have made people more docile, less violent and more pliable to control. Unfortunately, the drug worked too well and 99.9% of the people just gave up; they laid down and died. The remaining .1% reacted just the opposite and became incredibly violent, uncontrollable, even feral (called Reavers on the show). Of course, the government covered it up and denies the existence of the Reavers. In saying “I aim to misbehave”, Mal is refusing to accept the status quo and let the government do what it chooses. As a Christian, it is my call to misbehave in the same way: by refusing to accept the status quo and let my leaders do as they please.
So, when behaving means stepping on people rights, I aim to misbehave. When behaving means I listen to, and even cheer, a 4-year-old boy sing “Ain’t No Homos Going to Heaven“, I aim to misbehave. When behaving means I embrace war and violence, I aim to misbehave. When behaving means I’m more worried about someone’s “soul” than I am their stomach, I aim to misbehave. When behaving means I empower a system that concentrates the wealth in the hands of a few and demonizes the poor, I aim to misbehave. And when behaving means I put any material thing before people, I aim to misbehave. Bucking the system like that may not be all that smart, but, to quote the great Jayne Cobb:
“Shepherd Book used to tell me, “If you can’t do something smart, do something right”.
I think Jesus would be on board with that.