Does God care whom you call your friends? Does He care how you dress, how you cut and dye your hair, if you paint your face white with black rings around your eyes, if you get yourself tattooed and pierced all over or if you cut your body?
Is God concerned if you feel like you don't fit in or if you experience the emotional pain of abuse from the immature craziness of a dysfunctional family?
Do you think that God cares one way or the other if you feed your mind with songs of death, depression and suicide or with horror films and Internet games glorifying evil? Does God care if you immerse yourself in the countercultures of darkness?
The question is: Does God care about you at all?
The answer is: Yes, He does care on all counts—and cares more than you can fully know!
The fact is: God is about life and light—not death and darkness.
The fact is: God has a culture, a place where you can fit in, a place of physical and emotional safety among true friends of high character and good cheer. You don't need a dark counterculture to find acceptance and identity.
We don't have to tell you about those involved in gothic or emo music, dress or lifestyle. You probably know some, and besides, in "the ever-mutating virus we know as American pop culture," goth and emo mean different things to different people (Helen A.S. Popkin, "What Exactly Is 'Emo,' Anyway?" www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11720603).
But almost everyone would agree that real goths and emos are disaffected with today's culture.
In an article titled "Finding Emo," Lauren Sloat, contributing writer to Berkeley's The Daily Californian, describes "an aimless generation of people searching for meaning and definition" and asks, "What is so fundamentally absent from our culture that could make premeditations on pain and alienation so...attractive?"
Ms. Sloat hit the nail on the head with that question. The answer, of course, is just about everything. Our Western, postmodern, materialistic, valueless society is lacking any semblance of giving real meaning to our lives.
"Perhaps it is the impersonalization of a culture defined by technology that threatens obscurity," Ms. Sloat suggests. But it is much more than that. The shallowness, unfairness and downright cruelty of society drive people away. Dysfunctional families, meaningless school and work, and mind-numbing entertainment doom our modern culture.
So subcultures like goth and emo arise and offer alternatives to the hated and hateful pop culture. Sometimes they offer acceptance and tolerance. Sometimes they offer freedom and creative expression. Sometimes they offer nothing but anger, anxiety and being tired of or bored with life.
There's no point in making generalizations, except this one: Like every other culture and counterculture in human history, people cannot find what they seek in goth or emo subcultures either. But there is a revolutionary and rarely practiced culture that achieves what no other can.
A great light
When Jesus Christ came to a corrupt world, He fulfilled a prophecy recorded by Isaiah more than 700 years before: "The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned" (Matthew 4:16; Isaiah 9:1-2).
Into a hopeless and meaningless world, Jesus Christ brought real hope and meaning. Though His name is well known even today, His way of life has rarely been understood or tried. The culture He represents runs counter to all the cultures in society. It's truly revolutionary.
Notice how different His culture is: "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it" (John 1:4-5).
The cultures and countercultures of today don't understand God's way of life. But they will in the near future. Christ will soon return to earth to establish His Kingdom and government over all nations. Then the divine culture will positively dominate.
A few decades after Jesus' life on earth, His true followers were viewed as those who "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6). The fact is, the world was already upside down since the sin of Adam and Eve. God's culture turns it right side up. Thus it is revolutionary—the one true counterculture of light.
Join the real counterculture
So what can you do?
• First, don't be drawn in by today's cultures or countercultures.
• Second, seek God and His way of life. Pray daily and read the Bible to discover the meaning of your life—a meaning and purpose you can passionately and positively pursue.
God deeply cares for you. He wants you to be part of His true culture, to find out who you are as one of His children. He wants you to feel healthy acceptance and safety from His people. Accepting God's culture may involve making some changes to your style of dress, conduct and music to fit His high standards of modesty, morality and inspiration.
God wants you to be part of His group of like-minded, faithful friends who love and respect each other, who seek to serve others and who love Him above all. Can God count on you to be an active part of His ultimate counterculture of light? GN