This has got to be one the strangest faith-related news stories I have seen in years. the guardian (UK) reports on insane clown posse’s revelation that they are, in fact, christians who have been attempting to use their crude and violent music for evangelistic purposes.
a couple snippets:
…All of which made Violent J’s announcement a few years ago really quite astonishing: Insane Clown Posse have this entire time secretly been evangelical Christians. They’ve only been pretending to be brutal and sadistic to trick their fans into believing in God.
Violent J explained himself unapologetically to a New Jersey newspaper: “You have to speak their language. You have to interest them, gain their trust, talk to them and show you’re one of them. You’re a person from the street and you speak of your experiences. Then at the end you can tell them: God has helped me.”
in the best seth myers and amy pohler voice i can muster up…
i suppose this should serve as an absurdist case study to make us ask some good, hard questions about the approaches to evangelism we use in youth ministry. we might not be insane, but we often manipulate and masquerade like clowns.
(thanks to bob for sending the link)
8 thoughts on “Evangelism via cursing, misogyny, and violence”
Oddly enough i got this weird feeling about their message when i watched their “miracles” video on the internet. take out the cursing and it is a very introductory message on the existence of God. This could be a first step for some of their fans but their issues with violence and language almost completely drown out the message they seem to want to present.
A youth pastor in a town I once lived in would listen to ICP because “it’s what [his] youth were into.” They were all looking forward to finding out what the Dark Carnival was – something refered to in previous ICP albums I guess. Hearing about the lyrics and content of the songs, I chose to stay away from ICP. When it came out that ICP was Christian, there was a lot of issues about their music. The youth pastor compared it to the making of an elaborate grandfather clock. From the freshly chopped tree to the final product, the wood goes through a lot of cutting, sanding, and refining before it becomes the beatiful clock it was designed to be. He felt that ICP was reaching out to those who were freshly cut – rough, ragged and needing someone to lead them to the right path.
I’m not sure that I really bought into his defense, but he did have a good point that I still have to remind myself of daily. The kids we work with are not the finished product we want them to be. For that matter, we’re not the final product God wants us to be yet. We need to meet teens where they are, but then, with the guidance and directing of the Holy Spirit, we need to guide them along the path of righteousness.
As a side note, here are some interesting Wikipedia links about ICP and the Dark Carnival. It talks about the symbolism and “message” Aaron refered to.
Dark Carnival (Insane Clown Posse)
Insane Clown Posse
I found the article to be ridden with their pain and … I think, regret. The Johns have dealt with a lot of stuff since childhood and have really went down a road through their adult lives that I think they regret. If they are Christians, which only God knows, then I pray that they are delivered in a “Miraculous” way to being servants of the Lord (Jesus). Not once did I hear Jesus’ name used, so the question is…are they Christian?
As far as evangelism techniques, it is critical to meet people where they are at before they can come to Christ. Sharing God’s message of grace, forgiveness, and mercy doesn’t need to be relegated to a church service or a megaphone on the corner of a public intersection. It can be done through subtlety and through relationships. Does that mean Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope were onto something? Perhaps, but they were using “reverse psychology”, which isn’t something that I read Jesus doing in the Bible. I will not say they were right or wrong, only God has authority to do that. What I will say though is that we need to pray for them, love them, and encourage them during this lonely time in their lives. Satan is prowling, ready to devour! The Victory is ours in Christ!
Wow… just wow… Talk about out of touch with reality…
Sort of a “Neo-Gnosticism”: ‘whatever I do in the physical or speak with my mouth can not be wrong… it’s the “spirit” that counts…. My body can do no evil.’
Hmmm… this will take some thought….