Learning How to Be Open with American Football

A couple weeks ago with students at the American Church in Paris we looked at the endless ways that God speaks to us through culture, from music to film to the visual arts.

One thing culture does it help us to see the pulse of society. The things that people are wrestling with. I’m not talking about your contemporary christian music (some of it is okay, but most of it is merely mimicking the wider culture, which is at best not very creative, at worst capitalistic) but about the vulnerable words of people hurting, hoping, anxious, and loving. 

American Football, existed briefly in the late 1990’s – early 2000’s, but their influence on indie music is widespread. To be honest, it took me a long to get into their music, but I finally get it. They’ve recently regrouped and have begun recording again, recently releasing a new track, “I’ve Been So Lost For So Long”, you can listen to below.

It’s no secret primary songwriter, Mike Kinsella, has a gift for writing music and lyrics that are as raw and honest as they come. There’s some kind of gift we can learn from this. Taking private emotions, which we most often want to hide from the world for fear of shame, and giving them up to the public for consumption and criticism.

For the songwriter, however, this can be an act of freedom. And here’s the lesson for us, it’s only when we let the truth of who we are out – as ugly, depressing, embarrassing, and scary as it may be – that we are able to make movements toward hope, healing, and peace.

How many of us have felt this way?

“I feel so sick.
Doctor it hurts.
And I exist.”

May we be honest with ourselves. May we not hide the pain and shame we feel, because when it is hidden it has power over us and will cause hurt to ourselves and to those closest to us eventually. May we open up. And in our openness find hope, healing, grace, and forgiveness.

So thanks, Mike. Thanks for giving words so many of us need to hear.

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