Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Punk Rock

I like punk rock. Still. I am 30 years old and have been a part of this culture for more than half of my life. It has brought me a lot of grief over the years and has provided a lot of fuel for some of my more negative actions in life, but I still find myself intimately identified with many of the key, foundational principles that punk rock has taught me. My values, while evolved and matured, still reflect the counter cultural basis that punk rock screams out.

Take for instance the freedom of expression that is inherent in the culture. Diversity and uniqueness is celebrated and encouraged. While there are cookie cutter punks, the culture itself is made up of numerous subcultures and factions that all make up one collective whole. There are your anarchists, socialists, right wingers, hyper liberals, artists, musicians, straight edgers, drunk punks, skins, gutter punks, skatepunks, pop punks,vegan punks etc..... All of them fit into under the umbrella of the "scene." There is room for them all. Growing up in the Texas Panhandle really reinforced this concept to me. Everyone hung out together because we had nothing else, no one else. We might be into different things, however we were all outcasts to a certain degree and found community in our own unique freedoms of expression.... even if we identified ourselves and punk rock or something else. It was all subculture.

This one aspect, and there are many others beside this one, has probably been one of the most important lessons I have taken from the scene. Not because of how I See me, but because of how it has helped me see others. I can appreciate and value the uniqueness of others more fully because I was nurtured in a culture that placed value upon this trait. I think that this has made me able to be more fully Christian. I don't come from a sheltered culture where "different" is to be feared and therefore can be free to see people radically different from me as they are. Unique, individual, created in the image of God and full of value. Fear does not allow us to see people this way. Fear makes us defensive and often hostile.

In addition, the concept of community has been strengthened through the punk rock scene. We were not all the same, but all found common enough ground to be somewhat unified. Sure, there was more than enough drama, but somehow we all retained a sense of community that has lasted over a decade. It is the secular expression of "one body made up of many different and specific parts" No cookie cutter people. No common political view. Just a commonality that supersedes the one.

My wife and I get this. We love it. We wish the Church could be a little more punk rock.

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