Jesus Christ did not come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live.
Do you ever ask people how their day is? What about those who you work with? If you’re like me, you have heard the response, “I’m living the dream.”
I pity these poor folks because this statement is always drenched in cynicism. I learn two things about these individuals: 1) these people have dreams 2) currently, they are living in a nightmare.
Do you have dreams? Sure, you do. Or at least you did. The following is a dream I held for many years.
I have played guitar since I was ten years old. It began as a curiosity at age eight thanks to my father who had acquired over three thousand LP’s while working for a record company. I was raised on the sweet melodies of Aerosmith, Journey, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, and Led Zeppelin to name a few.
Once I got my first guitar, I was addicted! It went everywhere with me, just ask my parents. Going grocery shopping with my mom (the bane of my pre-teen existence!), for example, became fun because that meant I got to hang out in the magazine section and learn the newest licks from the latest songs (Yes, I sat on the ground and played my guitar at Fry’s every Wednesday attempting to memorize songs so I could save five bucks. This was pre-internet people, back when we really had to use our brains.).
From age ten through my early twenties, I dreamed of being a rock star. I wished I was Scott Weiland. I would spend hours listening to my favorite tunes imagining the stage lights were on me and the screams were for me. I wanted to write the anthems for a generation and not have a care in the world.
Or at least that’s how MTV sold it – carefree and fun. Just money, girls, and the envy of everyone who knew of you.
In high school, a friend introduced me to the band Stone Temple Pilots. I was in love. As rockers they mixed hard with beauty and I was drunk with this nectar. They deeply influenced my writing style for years.
Well, I’m now in my thirties and rarely play the guitar. I chose to pursue a teaching degree, family, and ministry. I just couldn’t figure how all these could work together so the musical dream had to give.
It is now December, my favorite time of year, and one of my musical heroes has died. I was greatly troubled, although not shocked, to hear of Scott Weiland’s passing. He was notorious for being a man of so much talent, success, and potential wrapped with so much pain, addiction, and tragedy.
Scott typified what it meant to be a rockstar, an iconic frontman of modern freedom, dominating the stage, mic, air and video waves for decades worldwide. A life with no bounds, he lived a reality millions covet and for it he paid with his life. (Mt. 16:26 anyone?)
Interstate Love Song, one of STP’s biggest hits, discloses Scott’s struggle with heroin. As STP recorded this album in Atlanta, Scott was lying to his fiance´ back in California about this bondage. He wrote this song from her perspective. Try to figure out who the clown with the growing nose represents.
The writing was on the wall if Scott did not pursue freedom…
Below are some excerpts from a very sobering article written by Mary, an ex-wife and mother of Scott’s two children, written days after his death. Think of the tension between slavery and freedom, and also ponder the common pretension propped up as freedom in today’s media as you read.
…December 3rd, 2015 is not the day Scott Weiland died. It is the official day the public will use to mourn him, and it was the last day he could be propped up in front of a microphone for the financial benefit or enjoyment of others…
…But the truth is, like so many other kids, they lost their father years ago. What they truly lost on December 3rd was hope…
…At some point, someone needs to step up and point out that yes, this will happen again – because as a society we almost encourage it. We read awful show reviews, watch videos of artists falling down, unable to recall their lyrics streaming on a teleprompter just a few feet away. And then we click “add to cart” because what actually belongs in a hospital is now considered art…
…Over the last few years, I could hear his sadness and confusion when he’d call me late into the night, often crying about his inability to separate himself from negative people and bad choices. I won’t say he can rest now, or that he’s in a better place. He belongs with his children barbecuing in the backyard and waiting for a Notre Dame game to come on. We are angry and sad about this loss, but we are most devastated that he chose to give up…
…Let’s choose to make this the first time we don’t glorify this tragedy with talk of rock and roll and the demons that, by the way, don’t have to come with it.
Did you notice what the first excerpt boldly declared??? December 3rd, 2015 is the day Scott’s heart stopped beating and he went to face his Maker, however, he “died” years earlier according to someone who knew him the most. Someone who climbed into this addict’s prison.
My heart breaks to read this mother referencing her children’s hopelessness now that Scott’s story cannot be redeemed with him in it. His race has been run, and he left a legacy of despair, drug dependence, and death.
This music video below, by RED, is so insightful into the struggle of an addict, prisoners to the baser, animalistic instincts. Scott, like so many, was “unable to separate himself from negative people and bad choices.” The song is rough, but so is the misery of a walking zombie.
This world offers so much under the guise of fulfillment, fortune, and freedom. If it does not transcend, it is temporal and two-faced. (check out the book of Ecclesiastes)
Many believers, myself included, downplay addiction, sin, and anything else that quenches the Spirit’s power and re-label them as preferences or shades of a personality.
Be careful what you celebrate in your own life and the lives of others. As Mary Weiland wrote, “what actually belongs in a hospital is now considered art.” This begins with an Ethic that eclipses evolving morals.
Church, these people are all around us! Many do not know the God we know who sets the captives free, while many others pretend that their secret struggles are manageable or minute.
As ones indwelt with the Spirit of Christ, we bring hope, freedom, and life wherever we go! Look for the “Scotts” that God puts in your path; the price is too high to look the other way.