Everybody’s talking all this stuff about me //
Now now why don’t they just let me live //
Oh oh oh i don’t need permission //
Make my own decisions oh //
That’s my prerogative
-Bobby Brown, “My Perogative”, released 1988
I love road trips.
Hours in the car with friends or family can* be a wonderful thing. Miles of road (err, kilometres?) can lead to all kinds of wonderful converstation, and insights. Waaay to many nibs and chips, bladders that are ready to explode hours from the nearest bathroom, uncomfortable sleeping positions, license plate and headlight games, jokes that get funnier and and funnier the longer you’re in the vehicle together, and music. Lots and lots of tunes…
… unless of course your ipod cable doesn’t work.
And you’re literally in the middle of nowhere.
Over the school winter break Melissa and I took a bunch of students to Invermere, BC to go snowboarding at Panorama Mountain (eat your heart out, Table.) And it was just after rosetown that our radio signal faded away, and my vehicle was stuck with nothing. Just the dial numbers screaming by as the seek button did absolutely nothing. Of course, no one carries CDs anymore. I offered to sing, but that didn’t get much response, so we chatted as we meandered our way through the fog towards Calgary.
By the time we we’re rolling in to Kindersly, the discussion of whether to just bite the bullet and pay gas station prices for a CD no one would agree on had started. And was then forgotten after we left Tim Horton’s. Shoot.
By Hanna we we’re desperate. WE. NEED. MUSIC. After much discussion, and a thorough mathmatical evaluation of CD length we settled on two choices: Classic Rock GOLD dual album, and to their eternal credit as wise, musically savvy adolescents, Classic 80′s HITS GOLD.
Axel F may never be this popular again.
A few hours of (finally!) tunes later, we came across the Bobby Brown song, My Perogative. First came the shock that it wasn’t an original Britney Spears song. Then came the discussion around the lyrics.
We’ve been talking and teaching on relationships, sex, temptation, and a biblical understanding of purity, and holiness at SNR HI for the last month and the song captured the polarity of the hearts attitudes we can have. Who makes the calls? Can we really do whatever we want? Should we have the right to do whatever we want, regardless of what other people think?
And then came the really tough questions… I wonder if too often, we take the Bobby Brown approach
to our relationship with Christ? Jesus, I want to follow you, but I also want to keep living my life the way I want, and I want control of who makes the decisions, and I have veto power. Jesus, I want you to lead, but not if I don’t like the direction you’re leading. Jesus I want to follow, but not if it’s going to cost something I want to hang on to. Living a personal theology of “My Perogative” goes far beyond just choices of sex and dating. Do we try and regulate God that way?
I once read that we tend to live as though we are giving God control of our own little kingdoms, but that there are still our kingdoms, whereas God’s desire is that we give up our little independent states and join him as a servants in HIS Kingdom. He’s not interested in a shared power partnership. He call us to give him complete control.
1 Cor 6 flies in the face of Bobby’s classic tune:
“Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. … You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. (v.2, 19b and 20).
And so, with Bobby Brown turned down so we could talk, in the middle of the badlands of Alberta, high on licorice and energy drinks, a bunch of high school students wrestled honestly with the authority of God in their lives. How a submission to THE King flies counter-intuitive to our cultures self-sufficient, independent mentality.
I love road trips.
* I say “can” because I am fully aware that too many hours in the vehicle with a brother or little sister who is annoying you is excruciating, and behind forced to walk a kilometre down the highway with the family vehicle trailing behind with the flashers on like some bizzare
Terry Fox run is not super fun, and neither is having to do laps around the gas station because I won’t stop pestering my brothers. So road trips weren’t always fun. But hey, they are what you make of them!