Cigarettes & Black Leather

Art and rebellion go together like cigarettes and black leather, pessimism and sleeping in, anger and fear. And it sort of makes sense, because every new thing is, in a way a reaction against the past, an unwillingness to go along with the popular current. Even when this begins without a trace of angst, and everything is as sunny as the seventh of May, good natured change is soon challenged by the status quo – questions are raised, motives are examined with suspicion and resentment hardens resolve like soil baked in summer’s sun without one drop of relief.

There is no question this cycle exists.

There is no question it is anti-kingdom.

“Honor your father and mother…”

As artists, writers, and musicians we would do well to examine our selves and see if there be any trace of rebellion, any seed of contention tucked inside our creative impulses. The tendency to create from a place of reaction runs deep and only leads to the dissolving of community and the destruction of the very expression that we have invested all our efforts.

When we compete with the previous generation, we are unwittingly sowing those very same seeds into our own sons and daughters – developing a culture where advancement, breakthrough, and progress all come with the steep price of discord – one that we are all to ready to pay, because we know nothing else.

Some of us feel as though we must distance ourselves from those that have gone before us, as if their achievements in expression were too basic, too rigid, too “message driven”. But this is juvenile sentiment – the 13-year-old who is embarrassed by his parents and refuses to be seen with them, choosing to live happily within the illusion that he has, in fact, driven himself to the movies – though, everyone knows that he did not drive, because he cannot drive, and he certainly didn’t just “appear”. He was assisted by his very own father and mother.

There is certainly more to say – and in the coming weeks, I will, but for today, examine your heart and give this adolescent rebellion no quarter. This begins with learning to honor the fathers and mothers that God has placed in your life. Let this begin in your heart and in prayer, but emerge into the light of real life – speak your affection, write it in a letter – be specific.



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Adam Russell is a worship leader turned pastor. He also leads a worship band known simply as "The Embers." He and his wife, Heather, along with their three children, live and minister in central Kentucky.