A couple years ago, my friend called my other friend and invited us to his youth group. Now, I love youth groups, but this is one I’d never been interested in going to.
Megachurch. Youth building. It has a food court. Indoor basketball. I know, sounds awesome right? I am slightly a contradiction. I have nothing against these things on principle, but they also were exactly why I was against going–said youth building cost two million dollars. Which, you know, could have fed and clothed and medicated and sheltered a lot of people, near and far. God does not need to be sold to youth with cool video games and bonfires outside of garage door walls.
Yes, money is what fuels us in many respects. It’s a rough concept—empowering and demeaning depending on who is the possessor of the money, and how much money they are the possessor of.
And that night, as one friend and I sat in a church where we couldn’t even find the guy who invited us in the throngs of people, where nobody reached out to us, where nobody reached us, where we were asked if we wanted to purchase various things, where the material things of the world took precedence over the God that the youth had just listened to a pastor discuss.
The beautiful letdown. I still want, and at the time I still wanted, a church that’s full of realism. People who have been the victimized, the distraught, the depressed, the desperate. The desperation that has ultimately allowed them to experience healing, the desperation led them to the people they are now—these are the people I feel I can identify with most. Because they are not trying to be what they’re not, only what God wants them to be.
Who are we, letting society decide our coolness, attractivenss, who is to be idolized, by random unknown standards? Who are we, using these things to divide ourselves further than this great big world has already divided us?
Walls . . . breakdown.
It was a beautiful letdown / When I crashed and burned / when I found myself alone, unknown and hurt / It was a beautiful letdown / the day I knew / all the riches this world had to offer me / would never do. / in a world full of bitter pain and bitter doubts / I was trying so hard to fit in, fit in / until I found out / that I don’t belong here / I will carry a cross and a song where I don’t belong
It was a beautiful letdown / when You found me here / yeah for once in that rare blue moon I see everything clear / I’ll be a beautiful letdown / that’s what I’ll forever be / and though it may cost my soul / I’ll sing for free / we’re still chasing our tails / and the rising sun / and our dark water planet’s spinning a race where no one wins and no one’s one
See I don’t belong here / I will carry a cross and a song where I don’t belong / I don’t belong here / I’m gonna set sight and set sail for the kingdom come, Your kingdom come! / Won’t You let me down / Let my foolish pride forever let me down
Easy living / you’re not much like the name / easy dying, hey you look just about the same / won’t you please take me off your list / easy living please / come on and let me down
We are a beautiful letdown / painfully uncool / the church of the dropouts, and losers and sinners and failures and the fools / what a beautiful letdown / are we salt in the wound? / and let us sing one true tune
I don’t belong here / no I don’t belong here / nah, I don’t belong here / feels like I don’t belong here / won’t you let me down, come on and let me down, you always let me down, I’m so glad that i’m let down, come on and let me down / cause I don’t belong here, come on and let me down
The Beautiful Letdown, Switchfoot
This song went through my head all night. Because I didn’t belong there. In the small sense, I did not belong at that church. My church now? It’s so full of love. It’s in debt, but it’s full of passion. Full of prayer and tears and hope and big, big love for each other, and most importantly, big big love for Christ.
But after sitting at that table in silence with my friend thinking about it . . . I don’t belong here in this world either. There are greater things beyond it when the journey here is done.