This update is from the road from Levi The Poet from the For Today tour.
If you did not read the first one click here.
“So I’ve got to ask you: what’s it like being on stage while a bunch of kids are screaming ‘Shut the f*** up!’ throughout your poem? …At the beginning of the night, two of our kids texted me when you started performing and said, ‘Please get this guy the f*** off the stage’. But I said, ‘No way!’ and, by the time you were done, they had responded to that text saying, ‘Well, that was pretty cool, I guess.” – Joe, promoter.
I’m sitting in our Confessions Video Booth right now, at the SOMA venue in San Diego, CA, while over 700 kids on the other side of the curtain dance to a band called Stick To Your Guns. Yesterday, my beautiful mom came to the show in Ventura, and poked her head over the top of the video booth to watch the same set (scared for the lives of the hardcore dancers in the pit… or her own), and asked me if I still dance like I used to… to which I replied: “Heck no! I could die in there!” It has taken us at least this long to meet everyone on the tour package (40+ people caravanning across the United States is a lot of people), and even now, I’m not sure I know everyone (if I do, I’ll apologize profusely until the end of tour that I don’t remember their names), but the camaraderie grows with the days that pass, and it is a joy to have been invited to participate.
Over a week’s worth of Spring Break festival dates have passed since the first Fight The Silence Tour update, and time is flying out here on the road. The Anaheim House Of Blues show in Downtown Disney this week set the bar for “best date of the tour” – at least, as far as XXXChurch is concerned. I’ve finished up some shows convinced that not a single person heard a word I said, and then there’s Anaheim HOB, where the entire crowd is silent and attentive, responsive and participatory, eager to share their stories. Though I don’t have an official count, we’ve had the opportunity to record approximately sixty different video confessions from people voluntarily sharing their histories with pornography at these shows. I’m praying for a “200 Confessions” minimum by the end of the tour and, by the grace of God, we’ll reach it.
I must admit, I’ve been reminded that God has some sense of humor lately, putting this introverted little kid on a stage in front of a 500+ attendees a night that might be interested in what we have to say – in what XXXchurch stands for, in who Jesus is – and then again, maybe they’d rather just scream, “Shut the f*** up!” over and over again until I’m done. Then again, I’ve been in the same sort of uncomfortable predicament since Levi The Poet started, so praise be to the one who directs and sustains me through the stage fright, as he has not chosen to take it away!
Regardless, and however cliche it may sound, it is encouraging to know that it is Christ who does the prompting, and that even one heart prompted towards him and away from the slavery of [sexual] sin is a heart nonetheless. I pray for these hearts, and to whomever may read this update: I would ask you to join in as this tour continues and bends back towards the east coast. Tonight, a kid came up to Brandi and I to let us know how thankful he was to hear that we would speak boldly about an issue that (as we well know) is not often spoken of at all, irregardless of delivery. He said he would pray for us, as he did tonight, because he looked around and “could see people hate [me], because we are speaking about a truth written on our hearts, that we try to deny.” It remind’s me of Christ’s words on two different occasions: “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account…” and “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” Not that I am, in any way, attempting to elevate myself to the office of prophet (or Christ – haha!), or make my wife and I out to be martyrs, but simply that a bit of those truths resonate on the road.
There is a certain freedom in honesty, in transparency, in speaking secrets into existence for the first time. We’ve seen that freedom as personified in faces whose expressions change when lips betray pride and spill their secrets. I swear, if the guilt removed could be seen, it would be in the form of mountains disintegrating off the shoulders of tough-guy hardcore kids that have always fronted like they’ve had it all together.
In closing, a truth that has been encouraging throughout this week: In 2 Corinthians, when Paul rebuked the church of Corinth (which was a church flooded with sexual immorality), he told them that he was working with them for their joy (2 Corinthians 1:24). The Bible says that God disciplines those that he loves like a good father would, and that, as the best Father, it is his kindness that leads us to repentance. The Bible also says that there is joy before the angels of God when even one sinner repents. And who sits before the angels of God? GOD! So praise be to the One who takes joy in our repentance – to the One who provides it as clearly seen in the eyes of the kids at these shows who realize for the first time that there is a joy who exists with a name: Jesus – and that his joy lasts longer than ten seconds.