When I was a kid, it seemed like when I had to make awkward conversation with an adult, we always stuck to two topics: what I wanted to be when I grew up, and who my heroes were.
The most popular hero that I can remember my elementary classmates claiming was Michael Jordan. If not him, then some American Olympian – the Olympics came to Atlanta in 1996, and that was a Big Deal.
I remember thinking – even in elementary school – that it was dangerous to have heroes because they couldn’t live up to expectations. You might think someone was cool or interesting, but then they might say or do something that offended you in some way – and it was as if this person had betrayed you. It didn’t matter if your hero was someone you knew personally or a celebrity, it still hurt when you realized that they weren’t perfect.
I think I was born 35 years old and cynical.
As a Christian raised in a Christian home that was active in the church and Christian culture – I’m fluent in Christianese – I remember there was a lot of pressure from all sides to like “wholesome” celebrities.
Unfortunately, the Christian celebrities often turned away from God or got caught in a tricky situation and were condemned by the Bible Belt and laughed at by secular America.
Of course, I began to feel the need to detach myself from anything “Christian” in pop culture because such things seemed to fall into two categories: poor quality and/or hypocritical.
As I’ve gotten older, that changed. I woke up one day and realized that my heroes were my parents, my siblings, CS Lewis, and JK Rowling.
My parents inspire me in so many ways it would take several blog entries to discuss how so here. The same with my siblings, although I will say that my brother makes me want to be a better person, and my sister is courageous.
C.S. Lewis – My grandmother always says that when she dies and goes to heaven, one of the people she wants to meet is Johnny Cash. I want to meet C.S. Lewis.
The more I hear about JK Rowling, the more I’m impressed by her. God bless her.
Having been immersed in Christian culture, I worried what would happen to me the day I had to live in the world. How did one “be in the world but not of the world?” How did one stay a Christian when the safety net was gone?
I downloaded a CD from iTunes in 2010 called Almost Alice. It was a soundtrack for Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, and I really rather enjoy it. One of the songs on the album is called “The Technicolor Phase” and is by Owl City. I had probably listened to the song about 30+ times before I took to Google to find more.
Thus, I discovered Owl City, also known as Adam Young, a musician from Minnesota. As I listened to his music online, I really liked it, and I downloaded his discography. Soon it was rare for a week – even a day – to go by where I had not listened to an Owl City song.
I found Owl City on Twitter, and I can honestly say that Adam Young is one of the few celebrities worth following. (I regularly purge my twitter of unnecessary celebrity tweeters.) He’s actually very funny and very, very geeky.
And sometimes he tweets about God.
When I came home from London last week, the latest edition of Relevant magazine was waiting for me, including inside an interview with Adam. As I read it, one section stuck out to me:
My prayer has always been that the Lord would use my music to whatever end. I’ve always kind of just asked the Lord that this music be useful more than anything else, and really beyond that my job is just to remain steadfast in my relationship with Him, and just kind of let these songs write themselves more or less, and ultimately never be ashamed of my faith, and of my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And really, I feel like if I were to water down or try to hide that part of me it would be like hiding that huge percent of who I am and who God has created me to be in all of this. It’s never been my intention to really over-think – ‘Well, am I going to write up tons of Christian songs, or am I going to try and skirt away from it a lot?’ I’ve always just kind of prayed, ‘God just send me the songs that you want me to write, because once they’re written and recorded, I’m going to send them all back to you and point all fingers back to you.’ It’s almost none of my business in a funny way. Once these songs are done, I just want the Lord to use them however He chooses.
- , September/October 2011
[He sounds just like my little brother.]
I find that so encouraging because that’s the type of Christian I want to be. I want to be proud of my faith. I want to identify with it not just when it’s comfortable for me. And most importantly, I want my God to be proud of me.
Adam Young, my new role model and hero:
You rock. Thanks for being a bright spot of optimism in my life.
12 Awesome Songs by Owl City:
- • “Dreams Don’t Turn to Dust”
- • “Galaxies”
Dear God, I was terribly lost
When the galaxies crossed
And the sun went dark
But dear God, You’re the only North Star
I would follow this far.
• “Honey and the Bee”
• “The Real World”
- • “If My Heart Was a House”
If I’m you boy, let’s take a short cut we remember
And we’ll enjoy picking apples in late September
Like we’ve done for years
Then we’ll take a long walk through the corn field
And I’ll kiss you between the ears
If you’re my girl, swirl me around your room with feeling
And as we twirl, the glow in the dark stars on your ceiling
Will shine for us as love sweeps over the room
‘Cause we tend to make each other blush, you make me blush
- • “Peppermint Winter”
- • “Enchanted”