PUNK PUNK PUNK*...

One of my favourite current bands is Manchester-based punk rock band Sonic Boom Six (SB6 to fans). Starting out with a raw ska-punk garage sound with their earliest albums, they've matured their production values through their career, touching on different styles and samplings, with more electro and drum 'n' bass in their most recent couple of albums. I'm impressed by a band that can keep on developing musically and providing an impressively diverse punk sound on every album.

As an elder, I can't recommend them to other Christians because of the naughty words they occasionally use. As with any punk band, their lyrics are characterised by rebellion against authority, and sharp, unceasing critique of the status quo. They clearly have a powerful moral conscience, and their songs speak about every type of corruption rife in our society.

Unlike some punk bands, they don't just spout profanity and impotent rage, they call their listeners to a higher awareness of social injustice and, with the seeming naivety of so many bands, suggest we could improve the situation by considering our attitudes and working together to fix things.

I could comment on the (to me) obvious hypocrisy of someone with no belief in an omnipotent God having such a powerful sense of moral outrage, but that's not my concern today, and it's hard to speak about the beliefs of a group of individuals whose religious beliefs are hinted at indirectly through their music (“School assembly Christian, but it never did rub me well...”).

Rather, I want to focus on a couple of ways in which their passion and anger puts confessing Christians to shame: Here is a group of people who don't know the Bible, and yet speak in condemnation of so many moral evils that many Christians accept with silence. Their music, swearing aside, is filled with passion and life. So much supposedly “Christian” music is asinine, wet, and emotionally neutered. The prevailingly soppy, “Jesus is my boyfriend” kind of sentimentality is not exactly helpful.

Of course, the extremes of emotion you're likely to find in punk music prove themselves to be a little unsustainable, but I have to ask:

1. Why do some expressions of Christianity seem to demand a lobotomised un-emotionality that is completely removed from regular Christian living and holiness?
2. Why are unbelievers speaking with greater anger about the sin which we, as followers of Jesus, should hate above anything?

This isn't a new problem. Think back to the 18th-19th Century, when the evil institution of African slavery was at its peak. The abolitionist movement was pioneered by Christians, yes, but there were also many Christians who either accepted or promoted slavery.

This is what happens when we don't read and wrestle with our Bibles – our whole Bibles, not just the familiar passages. This is what happens when we're content to accept our Christian confession without thinking it through or working out the fundamental ways it demands we change our thinking (see Romans 12:2). A Mancunian punk band shouldn't be leading the charge in condemning evil and calling for radical change – God's People should be.

We should consider ourselves rebuked.

*The title of this post is inspired by one of the most masterful pieces of Wikipedia vandalism I have ever heard of. Someone had edited the page so that every word was PUNK - all caps. It's possibly the most faithful article Wikipedia has ever had.