Tuesday, January 08, 2008
West Side Story
Before blue-ray, dvd, and vhs there was CBS, NBC and ABC. Before disc, dish and cable there was CBS, NBC and ABC. Before Blockbuster, you tube and internet streaming there was you guessed it CBS, NBC, and ABC. When I was around 8 my mother told me of a movie called West Side Story that was coming on network television. Being in that stage between Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang and Enter The Dragon I pretty much blew off some dumb musical based on a play. However being the dutiful son I sat down and watched the first few scenes before going onto bigger and better things (btw what did we do before play station and Madden?)
Anyway from the first bars of the opening song I was hooked. That movie was baaaaaaaaaaaad. And the Jets were da bomb. I still remember the first few words of their theme song ‘when you’re a Jet you’re a Jet all the way from your first cigarette to your last dying day‘. I watched mesmerized as the actors danced and sang across the screen exulting in their complete control of their small piece of turf. Their joy in being a Jet was contagious and it seemed that nothing or no one stood in their way until the song was abruptly cut by Ricardo. Ricardo clearly wasn’t from the West Side and he definitely was not a Jet nor did they have any intention of making him one. At first Ricardo wasn’t much of a threat. However little by little more of his friends began showing up. (before I go on you need to know that this is not a piece on immigration or racial reconciliation) By the end of the movie the Jets are in a turf war with the Sharks.
Sometimes I feel like a Jet (stay with me here folks). I walk the streets of my community, shop at the local supermarket (which is a pretty decent one) for groceries and once in a while drop in on the local big box store and see the growing influence of Islam. I see African-American men and women who may or may not have had some kind of Christian influence adopting the garb of muslims. I look and wonder if the church is taking note of this and if so do we have any plans to address it. For all our wrangling over the supposed blackness of the church my guess is that these new converts aren’t embracing Islam because the music at Temple # 2 is more stimulating than that of Second Baptist or the local imam can bring the hoop with more power and eloquence than Rev. Brown. I’m concerned because while some of our churches are mainly focused on buying and filling abandoned sports stadiums local Muslims are investing themselves in our communities and working the youth. I’m concerned because the conviction that what one believes about God, scripture, mankind, sin, salvation, Jesus Christ and the church is an irrelevant matter of personal preference has left many of our members without the slightest clue of how to accurately and adequately present a cogent account of the gospel or explain other important aspects of biblical truth.
I’m concerned that when those looking for spiritual direction do drop in on us they’re treated to a superficial show that focuses on temporary bling (called blessings) and are told that these ‘blessings’ are directly tied to ensuring that the voodoo guru up front lives a fabulously lavish lifestyle generated from their income.
I'm concerned that my West Side Story might turn into a tragedy when what is now a trickle mushrooms into a flood as our older churches will close only to be purchased by those who declare ‘all praises due to Allah who has no son’.
To Him Who Loves Us…