Because We Can, We Should?


I'm not into today's CCM. The worship leader at our church must think me a pagan because I have a blank look on my face whenever she brings up the latest hot Christian band and their equally hot quasi-worship song that's blazing up the Christian charts. Who? What song? Let me guess; it has the same beat as all the others….

Today, I had one of those crazy days of endless errands. Oil change, allergy shots, soccer practice, a ten-item grocery list that necessitated trips to three different megagrocers just to get common items any ONE of them SHOULD have had. You know the drill. So desperate for a little spiritual refresher, I turned on the big Christian radio station in town to hear one of the afternoon teaching programs. Instead I got an earful of tedious music. 

Whither the teaching? Well, the station's booted all its teaching in favor of a non-stop music format. I guess every station wants to be just another vapid K-LOVE clone. In some corporate roundtable, station management decided to give the people what they want rather than what is best for them, thinking that 24/7/365 of the Pablum that passes for Christian music today better enlivens the masses than Ravi Zacharias talking about techniques for witnessing to Muslims.

Ugh. Maybe I'll call 'em up and request Keith Green's "You Love the World (And You're Avoiding Me)."

It's symptomatic of a gigantic problem. 

One of the most worldly concepts you'll find in our culture is this idea that "because we can, we should." Name a moral failing or a political ambition and I'll bet "because we can, we should" empowers it. Abortion and fetal tissue cultivation are the sick offspring of that thinking. You can probably come up with a million more.

Christians are not immune to this mistake. In fact, we rationalize a lot of  "because we can, we should" under the guise of redeeming things. Kids love Saturday morning cartoons? Well, let's make Christian cartoons! Your son wants an action figure? Why not give him a brand-spanking new Jesus action figure complete with a whip to drive out moneychangers and a glow-in-the-dark sword that springs out of his mouth to slay the wicked?

Almost all "Jesus junk" hatches from "because we can, we should."

Truth be told, I feel queasy walking into Christian bookstores. They're so utterly derivative and reactionary that if I were an unbeliever plunked down in one, I'd guess the first stage of being born again is losing one's sense of beauty, creativity, and charm.

Yet for all the WWJD paraphernalia floated over here from Shanghai, a more soul-killing expression of "because we can, we should" exists. is a recent addition to the Web. Some Christian organization thought there weren't enough avenues for confession for Christians, Confession or Gossip?so because the Web exists and is (somewhat) anonymous, it's the perfect medium for confessing one's sins. 

Except it's not. Not in the slightest. Instead, stands as a warning to us all, the epitome of "because we can, we should"-ism in the American Church.  

The site raises my ire for a number of reasons:

1. It's pornography. Like some lurid afternoon TV talk show, the site parades sin as entertainment. By offering verbal voyeurism (consider the domain name), it's no different than a hardcore porn site. One click and you can read the details of someone else's failure before God. "But doesn't the Bible show great believers failing?" Sure, it does. But if anyone here's calling for adding to the canon, well….

2. It usurps the role of the local church. No doubt, Evangelicals have dropped the confessional ball. Too many Evangelical churches would rather judge than offer grace after a confession. But building a site like actually circumvents local churches improving their dealings with confession, sin, and grace. It provides a cheap excuse NOT to fix the problem in our local churches. It asks for none of the commitment inherent in a Christ-centered community, cheapening how we relate to each other in an age when real community in the church is already on its deathbed.

3. It asks for no repentance. Enough said. 

4. It offers no grace. Real grace doesn't come with a disclaimer. Jesus Christ gave us a model for how to dispense grace to the repentant. It's the church body of real people who hear confession, cry with the sinner, and offer grace by the Holy Spirit working through people. But expunges all face-to-face restorative human contact. Therefore, by removing the links in the chain of how grace should be dispensed, it offers no grace at all.

5. It offers no accountability. After people confess on, what follow-up occurs to help them work through the ramifications of their confession? None that I can see.

6. It offers no restitution. How does one walk out the end product of a confession on Well, if nothing is asked of the people who confess on the site, then no restitution occurs. How that benefits the one confessing is beyond me. 

7. It demeans the death of Christ on the cross. If angles to be a Christian-sponsored site that takes confessions, yet offers none of the hallmarks of true Christian confession, repentance, accountability, and restitution, then it's not Christian in the slightest. That mocks the Lord.

I could name a half dozen more failings in, but its concession to "because we can, we should" speaks for itself. When considering this site's premise, it appears no one asked if it undermines everything the Church should be. They just plowed ahead and slapped it up on the Web. Alakazam, now you can confess to boinking your kid's babysitter and feel better about yourself for doing so. (And yes, all you grammar mavens, I intentionally wrote that last sentence for maximum {read ironic} ambiguity.)

Is anyone else disturbed that so much of what passes for Christianity in America displays the same hollow core as A group sees a need in the Church, but instead of pursuing tough answers that might require a complete overhaul of how our churches live out the Gospel, they settle for the cheap and meaningless—because they can.

Cerulean Sanctum exists to find ways to better our churches and the people who comprise them. For this treason, I loathe cheap answers to the pernicious problems we face as Christians in America. I see a site like and my blood boils. When another blogger told me about the site, and I checked it out myself, my jaw dropped at the utter lack of discernment behind this online confession booth.

(If you're a regular reader of this site, you know I almost never single out a particular ministry or program for scorn. I don't like to name names because so much out there needs to improve, even on good sites. I know that Cerulean Sanctum lacks in some areas. I also know I'm not satisfied with cheap and easy.)

I pray this post gets us thinking about finding the narrow path, rather than the wide, destructive one behind "because we can, we should." Too many Christians trudge down that "because we can, we should" superhighway leaving the rest of us to wonder if we're the ones going the wrong way.

Our response to the problems of our day will cost us something precious. When we're not prepared to pay the price, we'll settle for the path of "because we can, we should."

But Jesus won't be waiting at the end of that road. 

17 thoughts on “Because We Can, We Should?

  1. Life

    I don’t believe this is real – I think it’s a con.
    It’s selling things. It says it has ‘campuses’.
    Internet campus my ***.
    It’s a sham, a front for something or someone who has interests other than yours in mind. I think you are wise to speak up.

    Okay, you’ve spoken out against being fooled spiritually, did your homework – who owns this and what do they want?

  2. Mike

    I will agree that far too often Christian businesses jump on cultural band wagons and give us absurd “ordained” paraphanalia that is neither of better quaility nor more spiritual than it’s “worldly” counterpart. But I say businesses because Christians can make things (cartoons, toys, blogs..cough cough) that are not only done well, but also spread the Gospel. It has to be done for that purpose though, not to prove that Christianity is commercially viable.

    Yet, you make excellent points. I’m just commenting to clarify this in my head (does that make sense? It’s late). That mysecret thing is revolting. It’s sad to see.

    Anyway. God bless you brother. Keep up the good work.

  3. Dee

    Dan, I am smiling big right now. Never thought I would hear you say you didn’t like the latest style of music, especially since you always went for more cutting edge music than I ever did. I gave up on CCM a long time ago, even when I was still in Christian broadcasting.

    Think we’re showing our age? Just a little?


    • Dee,

      Derek Webb’s about the only current artist I’ve purchased in the last three years. I have Mockingbird and She Must and Shall Go Free. I’ve downloaded about a half dozen recent CCM singles off iTunes. I bought an old Mark Heard CD (Dry Bones Dance) last year, but that came out in 1990. Plus like Keith Green and Rich Mullins, Heard’s dead. I also purchased a few back catalog CDs by The 77s a couple years ago. That’s the sad extent of it.

      There’s simply not an album’s worth of good music by anyone getting airplay. And Derek Webb gets no airplay around here; he played one Sunday at the Vineyard I used to go to and his song my wife and I in tears. Sold us right there.

      Airplay’s a big problem. That’s why I’ve picked and chosen a few songs via iTunes that I heard about through the grapevine. Of the few CCM songs I’ve iTuned, they either rock harder than what’s on the radio, or they’ve got more challenging lyrics.

      I hope someone at one of the current CCM labels hears what I’m sayin’.

      • Dan,

        I’m with you on the CCM thing, but I’ve seen improvement in recent years. For years it seemed if it was ‘Christian’ it was sappy, hollow and devoid of musical interest. The message might be decent, but if you cared about music you couldn’t stand to listen to it.

        If you haven’t heard them, check out Casting Crowns. They have 2 albums out and they both rock and have challenging messages. They have been on almost constant play in my car for months. They remind me a bit of Keith Green in their message, but the music is harder. It’s been years since I heard a ‘Christian’ band that I got excited about.

        Here’s a lyric sample from their first album. It’s the chorus of the song “If We are the Body”:

        But if we are the body
        Why aren’t His arms reaching?
        Why aren’t His hands healing?
        Why aren’t His words teaching?
        And if we are the body
        Why aren’t His feet going?
        Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
        There is a way

        More of their lyrics here.

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  5. Great post (as always), I found your comment on Christian book stores especially entertaining. It’s my disdain for the commercialization of those places that intitially drove me to start ranting on a blog.

    Welcome back 🙂

  6. daniel

    Dan, It is my belief that we are caught in a snowball (have you seen that Travellers commercial) started by the health, wealth and properity gospel crowd. When I was a younger Christian I thought it was great that we were providing alternatives but it seems we are now drowning in milk. Our emotions crave to be satisfied by just a song or a visual rather than the Word of God.

  7. 1 Cor 10:23 “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is constructive.

    Which is followed with a instructive piece of advise: “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”

    And finally, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Are we as Christians so enamoured of this world that we feel we must copy their music, their business practices, and their morals in order to draw people into our churches? If so, then what salvation will they find there?

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