Several months ago, my son approached me with an unusual request. The conversation went something like this:
“Mom, can Showbread stay at our house?”
“A band,” said Tim. “They are playing a gig in town and need a place to sleep after the show?”
“How do you know that?”
“It’s on their website.”
“I don’t think so.”
“You don’t invite strangers into your home, Timothy!”
“But they are Christians.”
“Everybody who claims to be Christian isn’t a real Christian. They could leave in the middle of the night with everything we own.”
“Mom, I can honestly say I believe they’re ‘more Christian’ than some ministers I know. Plus, I really like their music.”
“Well, how many band members are there?”
“Seven! I don’t have seven beds. Where will they sleep?”
“They said it doesn’t matter, they’ll sleep on the floor.”
“When are they coming?”
“They are playing at The High Ground next month. ”
I had no desire to fight a never-ending battle for two months, so I tried a duck and weave maneuver. “Ask your Dad, if he says it’s Ok, fine.” When Dad came home, he thought it was a great idea. Dad had Age of Reptiles, one of Showbread’s albums, on his ipod. How did I not know that? I reluctantly agreed confident my son would forget or some other mother’s son would win the privilege of housing a Christian alternative rock band in her home.
I had forgotten about this conversation when I answered the phone Sunday evening. “Mom, they’re coming.”
“Showbread. Remember, you said they could stay at our house.” I hung up and glared at my husband. “This is all your fault. I don’t have seven blankets or enough milk to feed seven people breakfast!” He smiled weakly and assured me he would take care of everything.
My husband left for Walmart, and I grabbed my laptop to google Showbread. First stop, a You Tube Video. They didn’t sing. They screamed. A survey of other sites revealed the band members pierced and tattooed with black fingernails and make-up. The lead singer, Joshua Porter, had changed his name to Josh Dies. They formed their band at a church in Georgia. The church leaders decided these young men were hell bound and their music evil. The Pastor forbid Showbread from playing in the church. Undaunted, they continued to record and play their music wherever they could find a venue. I closed my laptop wondering if my husband and son were insane.
Ryan and Marybeth, my son’s friends, arrived early loaded with bags of groceries to make sandwiches for the band. At 11:30 p.m., my son walked in the house followed by Josh Dies, guitar and lead vocals; Mike Jensen, lead guitar; Ricky Holbrook, drums; and Patrick Porter, bass. Each of the band members thanked us (more than once before they left the following morning) for allowing them to stay in our home. Three of the band members had left the group earlier in the year.
After they ate, Josh Dies called the band together to study the Bible. He told me they take turns and tonight was his turn. Someone stole their van and several of their Bibles when they were in California, so my husband loaned them Bibles and they opened to Matthew Chapter 7 for an interesting discussion. I was impressed the lack of bitterness when I asked them if the church had failed them. They said, NO!
After they left the following morning, I did some additional reserach. An article at Worldview Network called Showbread a “Satanic Rock Band.” Reader Feedback about this article continues with the most recent post dated October 2008. The majority of comments came from those in the 14 to 30 age bracket. Their posts are overwhelmingly favorable and express distress at the portrayal of Showbread as Satanic. A sprinkling of comments from the 40 to 60 year olds agreed with the author of the article.
Is Showbread’s music Satanic or the product of a different culture? Jesus told the religious elite of his day, “You belong to your father the devil” (John 8:44). I’ve seen greater damage inflicted upon the church by modern day Pharisees than tattooed musicians who scream their faith to the pounding beat of rock music. In one church I attended, the pastor preached a series of messages about the evils of a syncopated beat even as he robbed the church’s coffers to finance his drinking and gambling. Evil wears many robes and they are not always macabre.
The Bible exhorts us, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2). I didn’t entertain angels that night, but I don’t doubt that these young men will one day make their home among the angels in heaven. Showbread is welcome to stay in my home anytime they are in town.