On a recent morning drive to work, I saw a billboard advertising the Christian music radio station. The ad didn’t label it as the Christian station, it was just showing that this is radio that’s “Safe for the Whole Family.”
This is not a criticism of “Christian” music or the Christian music industry. There may be things to be said about that, but we’ll save that for another day. No, this is about that billboard and the greater reality behind it.
Here’s my issue with the message of Christian radio being “safe for the whole family”- it’s false advertising. The radio content is indeed “safe” in terms of avoiding music with rampant sexual references or DJ’s who use foul language. But ideally, Christian radio will (hopefully) lead people to Christ, and this is where “safe for the whole family” becomes a terrible lie.
Following Jesus is a lifestyle that is far from safe. So long as we are on this side of heaven, walking in the steps of Jesus will be counter-cultural, radical, and unsafe. The Christian life when lived to the fullness of our ability will make people nervous. The concept of free grace flies in the face of all human logic and reason, yet it holds true because it is not from humanity. If we are to live lives of such open rebellion to the ways of this world, we will be living dangerously.
Jesus said this in Matthew 10, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Those are words of losing our earthly lives and being in conflict with those who are closest to us- our families. So to advertise a Christian entity as “safe for the family” is giving Jesus an image that is inaccurate. It reminds me of Dani’s post about faith being just about a social construct. Has a radical life devoted to a wild and unpredictable God been watered down to a mere club of “safe” people? Is Christianity just a synonym for the “safe for the kids” option on the radio dial?
Let us not forget that Jesus was murdered for his lifestyle and his truthful declarations about himself as God. Most of us may never experience anything so severe in our lives, but let us not delude ourselves into thinking that we will be safe against a culture that still opposes God.
The music on this station is worshipful and intended to point people towards Jesus and those who find their rest in God will indeed find true safety. However, I highly doubt that the advertisers intended that to be the message behind “Safe for the whole family.” So I recommend an advertising re-write that is likely too clunky to actually work, but will represent the subject matter better:
“Music that reminds your family that God will keep you safe.”
I’m no Don Draper, but at least my version isn’t so misleading about the reality of following a homeless outcast that was falsely accused and tortured to death.