How I met my maker in metal music
Many Christians claim that they first met God in a church or while reading their bibles.
My story is a bit different.
"God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars."
- Martin Luther
I was introduced to metal music at a young age. I loved the husky screaming over grungy, melodic riffs on the electric guitar. When I rocked out to Avenged Sevenfold and Killswitch Engage, my soul felt refreshed and overjoyed.
I starkly remember visiting one of my friend's youth events at a strict, fundamental church and being told by a leader there that rock music is from the devil and as Christians, we should only be filling our lives with good and pure things (which according to him was the multi-million dollar worship industry of the time). According to this youth leader, there was no holiness to be found in the rock-music scene and it was our duty as Christians to take Jesus to them!
The problem was that, while I enjoyed some of the worship music that was in circulation at the time, most of it felt manufactured and I struggled to connect with God through it.
One of the best things that could have happened to me was building a friendship with our church's new youth pastor when I was about sixteen years old. He showed me that God speaks to us all unique ways. In fact, if we learn to open our eyes, we can experience God in places we least expect it.
In the gospels, people often wouldn't find Jesus in the synagogues and so-called "religious" places, but rather in the slums, at the wells, with stinky fishermen and even hanging on a cross.
Jesus himself told us that we will find him in the despair of the prisoners, the pain of the sick, the hunger of the poor, and the loneliness of the stranger (Matthew 25).
And yet, unfortunately, Christians seem to be famous (or rather infamous) for who they exclude, rather than who they include.
"For in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible - all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together."- Colossians 1:16-17
If we claim that God is in everything, why do we think that we have the right to decide who or what carries the image/presence of God?
When I was still young, I noticed something good and true in metal music that started me on a journey towards other things that were good and true. It was only later that I realized that God didn't lead me from evil, devil music to a place where I could meet God. Rather, God was right there with me in the honest, screamo lyrics and sweaty mosh pits.
As I have grown in my faith, I have noticed this truth carry into other parts of my life. We do not need to take Jesus to the sinful, the lost and the broken. We can meet with Jesus who is already present there and bring out the good that is already in that situation.
I truly believe that one of the greatest parts of living in a relationship with God is being able to experience Christ in all people and all things.
Image Source: Luuk Wouters