Every once in a while you run across something that is a few parsecs beyond the utter frozen limit. What do you do then? Tim Bayly recently posted a video of an offertory performance done at Redeemer Downtown in Manhattan, along with his comments, and I have reposted the video below. You can watch the whole thing, or if you have a medical condition, you can watch 30 seconds of it and still get the drift. If confusion were beans, this would be a 9-layer dip, suitable for Super Bowl parties.
So here it is. Brace yourself.
What is the problem with this? Summed up, it is that this performance is gayer than the kiwi queen at the Fire Island Fruit Festival. This performance is gayer than an HR memo at Google headquarters. How gay was it? It was gayer than an NPR tote bag full of rainbows. It was gayer than a unicorn parade through the Castro District. It was gayer than a lavender sparkly pen.
And to top it all off, we live in an antinomian generation, where the only sins possible are those represented by something like the preceding paragraph. It is not okay to say “gayer than,” but it is beyond okay to be “gayer than.”
It is no sin to watch this video clip and not know what the particular problem is. Human self-deception can occupy the heart like a rabbit warren under a large meadow. The particular problems can be hard to identify and trace. But the general problem is screamingly obvious. If you can look at this clip and not know that there is a grievous problem somewhere, then the self-deception involved is truly profound.
I referred above to the problem of confusion. Scripture obviously refers to blatant sexual sin as abominable, and the term abomination is sometimes lost on us because we think of it as merely some strong form of Bible-ese. But the Bible also talks about this kind of sinning, and the antecedent rationalizations, as inchoate confusion. “Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion” (Lev. 18:23). “And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them” (Lev. 20:12).
In our case, the confusion depends on the fact that, in the Christian world, we have limited the sin to actual genital contact. Stay away from that, and you can be as much of a swish as you want. But this is not what Scripture teaches. Adultery does not begin in the bed; it begins in the heart (Matt. 5:28). Homosex begins, not in the bathhouse, but rather in the kind of cosmos a man imagines himself to live in—provided it is not the cosmos created by the living God. Underneath the passive homosexual act is the sin of wanting to be soft, and underneath that desire to be malakoi (1 Cor. 6:9) is the sin of pride and arrogance.
So the bedrock problem here is pride. And on this, I am not speculating. What are their parades called? We have pride parades, pride days, pride festivals, and pride stickers. Pridey pride pride. This is what it means to glory in your shame. “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts” (Ps. 10:4).
Incidentally, I am aware that some will say that I obviously don’t understand art, or ballet, or culture, or something important to blue state urbanites. That’s as may be, but I understand men who still have their spiritual gonads. And if you can look at that clip and fail to understand why the church is so deeply unattractive to real men, then there is very little hope for you. And speaking of art, if you can look at that clip and fail to understand why real men are so repulsed by the artistic “community,” then there is even less hope.
By the way, for those who think that “style” is morally neutral—shoot, for those who think style is sexually neutral—here is a hypothetical test case. Leave aside all regulative principle considerations (which I do not leave aside, btw), but just leave it aside for the sake of discussion. Why would a trendy Reformed church never perform something like the below for their offertory? I will tell you why. It would trigger half the session, with the other half hiding in a safe space at the nearest community college.
In case you missed it, the Redeemer clip is appalling. It represents, as very few other things could, virtually everything that is wrong with us. “The city of confusion is broken down: Every house is shut up, that no man may come in” (Is. 24:10)