The past year or two has seen many international musicians coming into the Zimbabwe. A lot of these shows were held at venues that are also used for worship ceremonies. One such place is Celebration Center and last year the church came under fire for allowing a lot of crude and non-Christian material to be performed within their building. I have heard this debate come up every now and then, but the conclusion has generally been that if it’s their building and they want to make money off it, they have every right to. Many people however, hold the opposite view and to them the house of God should not be open to all kinds of ungodly activities.
If we look back into the bible Jesus displayed his disapproval of those who were profiteering from the house of God when he entered the temple and destroyed the market stalls those who were selling their wares in the temple. According to many bible experts this is the one story in the bible where Jesus has lost his temper so much that he becomes physically violent. As a child of God who has been raised to value the sanctity of God’s house, I am trying to understand why he might have felt so passionately about the subject.
Jesus wasn’t because it was in his nature to blow up, but because he was furious that the place meant to focus on the spiritual well-being of God’s children, had now been turned into a market place. A holy place that was meant for communion between a father and his children was now a hustler’s paradise, where all kind of things could be bought and sold. In as much as Christians have the right to engage in trade, the line has to be drawn between commerce and respect for God’s sanctuary.
I attended one of these secular shows last year and anyone who was at the Tevin Campbell and Horace Brown show will attest to the sexually crude gyrations that Horace Brown was doing, on stage in the middle of a church building. In addition to that they never censored the lyrics to their tracks and all F-words and S-words remained intact . I was truly hurt that my fellow Christians had not been bold enough to even put restrictions on the artists use of foul language and dance routines. I went there hoping to enjoy some nostalgia as we listened to hits of yester-year, but instead I felt completely uncomfortable and out of place. As a Christian I felt as though I was partaking in some unacceptable gathering and I know that if Jesus suddenly showed up ‘all hell would have broken loose’.
Many people like to use and refer to the “What Would Jesus Do?” bracelets without actually thinking what Jesus would really do if he lived in our generation. Having creative cash generation ideas for churches is noble and impressive, but if we cross the basic Christian boundaries as evidenced by Christ’s example, then we are treading on very dangerous ground. Christians need to stand out and be counted and the more we dilute ourselves to make ourselves acceptable in society’s eyes, the more we choose to forsake our master and to defy the standard set by our savior.
After that eye-opening show I decided that was the first and last time I would go and watch secular music of that nature being performed in the house of God. If it wasn’t necessarily gospel music, but just positive and inspirational music I wouldn’t have minded. But when sexually-driven music made for the nightclub is pumped in a church I just don’t think it’s proper, even though itseems that Zimbabweans are beginning to accept it as a reality.