This Might Be The Coolest Thing I’ve Ever Seen A Band Do: Finding God In Unexpected Places

There are people out there who believe that God is done talking. I am not one of those people. I’m not a person who believes that when the books of the Bible were decided on, that God said, “Welp, there you go! That’s everything I’ve got for you… Good luck.” I believe God talks to us all the time–whether we realize it or not. And not in a creepy “God told me that Ted Cruz is supposed to be president” sort of way… But I believe God still speaks… sometimes in the smallest of voices and the whisperiest of winds. In the most mundane moments of our lives, we experience a deep sense of “THIS is like THAT.” And the depth of the truth contained in those moments almost always leaves us in tears. Well, it always leaves ME in tears, at least. This morning was one of those times. And–as so often is the case–the vehicle for the voice of God in my life early this morning was a YouTube video.

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I want to grab life like this girl is grabbing this microphone.

So, before I show you the video, I want to say this whole “voice of God” thing–it’s not always actual words. Sometimes it’s just a realization. Sometimes it’s just something clicking inside of you, where before that moment you thought something was true, but after that moment nothing has ever sounded like more of a lie than that thing you used to believe. Like spending your whole life believing you’re worthless, and then–through whatever process–you realize that you are as loved as anything has ever been… And after that point, you can’t endure another moment in a place that still believes that lie. And you can’t tolerate surrounding yourself with people who don’t get it. And you just want to tell all of those people who are still mired there–in that dark place of unworthiness and despair–that you’ve got some good news for them.

Anyway, here’s the video. It’s a short clip from a Paramore concert in Rio Di Janeiro. It’s a clip from a song called “Misery Business,” and it’s only two minutes long, so I’m going to need you to watch it. The clip starts with the band pulling a fan up onto the stage. She lets out a primal scream, and for a moment, she holds the entire world in her hands. She is given a microphone, and she’s invited to sing a song whose words she knows by heart–words not even Alzheimers nor any dementia could ever pry from her brain. She dances so hard her shorts nearly fall from her hips. She sets her glasses down, and her hero picks them up and puts them on her own face. And in a moment of pure joy and confidence, she gives the chorus everything she has… And as she leaps in the air, her body–the one about which she’s momentarily forgotten any sense of self-consiousness–betrays her. She clumsily tumbles to the ground. And what might have been one of the coolest moments in her life, hangs on the precipice of embarrassment, humiliation, and shame… But watch what happens next.

I’m serious. Watch the video. Maybe watch it again. And listen for the voice of God, speaking to your soul, saying, “This is how I love you!” Because now–for me–that is all I can hear every time I watch this video. I don’t know much about this band. I don’t know their theology, and I don’t really care. All I need to know I see in that video. There were probably people in the crowd who laughed and made fun of her. In that same situation, some might have hurried over to her, as she laid on her back in front of thousands of people, and quickly tried to help her to her feet… in order to minimize her humiliation. And her shame.

But instead, what we see is a Love that rushes to the ground with us.

We see a Love that experiences what we have experienced.

We see a Love that knows how it feels to be humiliated. And broken.

We see a Love that encourages instead of trying to shame us.

We see a Love that gives us beauty for ashes.

We see a Love that lays itself down next to us, and encourages us to keep on rocking out.

We see a Love that declares, “This is my favorite person we’ve ever had on stage.”

We see an Incarnational Love. A Love that screams into the microphone, “EMMANUEL! GOD IS WITH US!!” And leaps into the air…

And then, I want you to notice what happens next… The guys playing bass and lead guitar see what Hayley has instinctively done, and they think, “Oh. Yeah. Of COURSE! That’s the only thing to do right here…” And following her lead, they recognize those same instincts inside of their own hearts, and they follow the example of the one who rushed to the ground. Because when you see the truth, no one has to convince you. You just know.

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This is us. This is how God feels about us.

Maybe you’ve been presented with the god who can’t wait to judge your performance… the god who is angry when we lose our balance… the god who withholds his love until we get it right. And if you find it hard to believe in, I get it… I don’t believe in that God either. I believe in the God who runs to meet us. I believe in the God who touches the ones nobody else wants to touch. I believe in the God who loves us so much that–when we fall and make an ass out of ourselves–God rushes to the ground, lies down beside us, and keeps right on rocking out… so that there’s not even a MOMENT when we feel like we’re all by ourselves. And other people see it, they recognize it as true, and they lie down as well… Until the one who has fallen comes to her senses. And what’s REALLY cool is that when you realize God loves us in our mess… In our clumsiness… In our brokenness… All of a sudden, you can walk off that stage without one ounce of shame. MAN! That sounds like some good news…

I *LOVE* writing this blog. I’m going to keep on doing it. If you feel like helping support me, you can totally do that by Becoming A Patron or giving on PayPal. Michele Cox did. And somewhere far away, Michele is probably feeling that feeling people get when they did something they know is really cool and kind and generous. What a great feeling…

Also, Twitter and Facebook or whatever…

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18 Responses to This Might Be The Coolest Thing I’ve Ever Seen A Band Do: Finding God In Unexpected Places

  1. Kathy Kerber says:

    Thank you. Tears ran down my face. This is exactly what He does for us and wants to do for anyone. His spirit draws us in, lifts us up, just like she was pulled up onto the stage. So much is settling over my heart right now as God used you to speak to me today. I have been asking Him to give me a song which expresses His pursuing, loving nature. Your words moved me. When my tears stop, I will be back at the piano praying as I wait for direction. Thank you again for writing this.

  2. Gil Gonzalez says:

    Dude ….. seriously. I am going to have to retract my Patreon support in order to afford the tissues your writing keeps making me use. This is absolutely beautiful.

  3. Gil Gonzalez says:

    Reblogged this on Gil Gonzalez and commented:
    The Reblog function in WordPress is a great way of sharing great writing, but I hesitate to use it often because I feel it is, in a way, cheating. I’m ‘posting’ a blog that is not something I wrote. Still, in the case of this post by Chris Boeskool, it’s too important and beautiful not to share.

  4. Veronica says:

    I hate to be the lone voice of negativity, but how do you see God in this? (I’m agnostic.) Why can’t it just be a nice woman doing something nice for someone else? Why does everyone ascribe the wonderful things to God and yet none of the bad things are credited to Him? I have such a hard time understanding that way of thinking.

    • theboeskool says:

      Hey Veronica. That’s a good question. I’ll answer it in two parts:

      First–I’m definitely not a person who credits all the good things that happen in the world to God (and none of the bad things). I’ve written about this many times. I don’t believe that’s how things work at all. That way of looking at things is not only intellectually dishonest… It’s dangerous. It turns God into this horrible thing that helps football teams win meaningless games while letting kids die of leukemia. It’s gross. And wrong. There may be plenty of things God is not in control of. Anyway, that’s not what I was doing. What I was doing…

      Second–Involves your use of the word “wonderful.” Why would we–as humans–look at an act like this, and say, “WONDERFUL?” Why have I watched this video probably 30 times now, and why has it brought tears to my eyes each time? Different people have different answers to that question. I am a person who believes that God is love. And that the story of Jesus is true on a cosmic level. If you look up the term “Cosmic Christ,” you’ll see some more about this. I believe there is a God, and that God wants us to be our best selves–Fully human. I agree with Saint Irenaeus who said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” I believe that Jesus was the best picture we have of this, but I also believe that we can be pictures of God’s love to each other. And in the video above, I caught what I believe is a glimpse of God’s love for us… In the good way Hayley demonstrated love for another. It is the same reason that a picture of a person beating another person in return for some wrong that person committed will NEVER be as powerful an image as the young, black girl putting her body between a Ku Klux Klansman and the angry crowd kicking his ass and possibly killing him. You can read about it and see the image here: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24653643

      But yeah… If you don’t see something higher than “just animals,” I doubt I’m going to be able to change your mind. Though our instinct to “root for the underdog” doesn’t seem like something that would benefit natural selection. Maybe it’s an arrow pointing at the existence of a power/law higher than ourselves?

      • Veronica says:

        “Just animals?” You’re putting words in my mouth. I believe in love, I believe in good deeds, I believe in helping my fellow human beings, I believe in having a purpose in life. None of those is dependent on having a belief in God.

      • theboeskool says:

        What makes a deed “good” without the existence of a higher moral law? The reason I said “just animals” is because I don’t think it’s “good” or “bad” when a young lion kills an older lion to control the pride. What makes it different if one of us was to kill our boss and take his job?

  5. Susan says:

    Absolutely beautiful. Beautifully written. A beautiful perspective. A beautiful video.
    Wish it was easier to find this authors full name.
    Had to click on Twitter to find a name.
    Consider adding the authors full name within the blog area.
    Well done!

  6. arachne646 says:

    This is the Gospel of Jesus of Nazareth, he said: “I come that people may have life, and have it abundantly”, not so that they can have abusive Sunday School classes with scary judgemental God like theboeskool mentioned. That’s the religion I believe he was travelling and teaching against.

    I believe God is still speaking, and what Jesus called “the realm of God” is inbreaking into our world wherever people are acting like this band. Wherever fundamentalists of any religious stripe are seeking to control “the least of these” as Jesus called them, even when they seek to bring on God’s world to come, they are working against what Jesus taught, especially that God is LOVE.

  7. Tom Riley says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I was not aware of it. Haley is in a small study group that I participate in. Your comments were so meaningful to many of us today. Let’s just say some tears were shed. By the way, Haley told me later that the day this happened had been a terrible day. A friend in the group told her that God was using this now to “give her a kiss on the cheek.”

  8. Jennifer Deg says:

    I commend you for this post. Typically if a band isn’t a worship/Christian band I won’t bother watching/listening, at least without doing research on them. But I watched this, and it was beautiful. I will say that I looked up the band and the meaning of their name afterwards, and well, it certainly doesn’t line up with our belief’s, but that doesn’t change what happened here. They showed this girl LOVE. We can pray that they will all experience that love and turn their musical abilities in a different direction to impact the Kingdom of God. He loves them so! 🙂

  9. I shared this post as well because of your words. What I love about being in relationship with Christ is that our eyes and mind see things so differently, more as through His perspective. AND we begin to look for Him and His touch in everything. Life more abundantly is His gift if we choose to step over that line, into faith, and take His hand. I remember the day I finally understood just how much He loves me (and every.single.person, whether they believe or not yet). It had always been easy to talk about and let others know how He loved them, but one day, He proved it to me in the quietest whisper. Now I listen and watch for Him in the most unexpected places. So glad you shared this one. Keep writing, please. It’s one of the gifts He’s given you.

  10. Brooke says:

    Way to make me cry at work, dude…

    Dammit. Non-waterproof mascara. Again!

    Love does indeed rush to the ground. Always. And in all ways. Makes me cry every damn time, too.

  11. Michele P Cox says:

    Crying here but with the biggest smile on my silly happy face. Acceptance and love, how beautiful ! Thank you Chris !

  12. Pingback: Watch Florence & The Machine Sing To A Kid In Hospice | The Boeskool

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