A reader sent me a link to the following article:
How many church pastors begin their service by offering free earplugs?
How many turn to a heavy-metal band to preach their sermon?
Pastor Ron Vanderwell of The Gathering was ready Sunday with earplugs and a message from Metallica.
Yes, the Bay Area heavy-metal band and author of what Vanderwell posed as thought-provoking lyrics: "Broken is the promise, betrayal/ The healing hand held back by the deepened nail/ Follow the God that failed."
"These guys are not happy," he said of the group, whose latest album is 2003’s "St. Anger."
Anger and the sense of betrayal conveyed in lyric after lyric are quandaries facing a lot of contemporary Christians, Vanderwell said.
"There’s a lot of things in our world that just aren’t right," he said.
Metallica’s lyrics provide the perfect conduit to the Bible, which offers solutions, said Vanderwell, who paralleled lyrics, such as the band’s 1991 "Follow the God that Failed," with Bible verses to make his point.
And from 1988’s "And Justice for All," the lyrics despair over the hopelessness of seeking justice.
Vanderwell points to Isaiah 59:4, which says, "No one calls for justice."
Is it possible, Vanderwell asked, that God is a Metallica fan?
And he is saying: "
‘Yes, that is what I’m trying to say,’ " Vanderwell said.
The group’s past travails with the unexpected death of a band member in 1986, rehabilitation of another from alcohol addiction and members’ own inner conflicts revealed in the 2004 documentary "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster" are all anger-generating fodder, said Vanderwell, adding that the Bible promises redemption.
Well maybe there are some lessons to learn from heavy metal theology. For example we could go from AC/DC to Led Zeppelin and preach avoid the "Highway to Hell" and get on the "Stairway to Heaven." Or in the words of Pastor Robert Plant “Yes, there are two paths you can go by, But in the long run
there�s still time to change the road you�re on.”