Welcome To Church Is Weird (and the time I rapped when I was 13)

Let’s get a few things straight.

I love my church and the church in general. I’m not one of those ex-church folks who now writes angry, frothy, you probably should get a hobby such as unicycling or competitive juggling, blog posts.

I play bass on my worship team. Did you hear about the worship leader who locked his keys in the car? It took them two hours to get the bass player out.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

I do all the church stuff, not because I have to, like a prostate exam (side note: How do doctors decide that’s the field they want to get into? second side note: no I haven’t had one), but because I think it’s incredibly valuable.

But I also grew up in the church. My dad was a pastor.

And you know what?

Us church people are WEIRD.

Seriously. In good and bad ways.

Example #1: Stephen Altrogge rapping the song “The Hard Way” at age 13. 

Remember the band dcTalk?

They were THE Christian band from 1995-1998. Now, technically they never broke up. Their Wikipedia page says they’re on “hiatus”, which, in this case, seems to be like me taking a “hiatus” from being a vegan, which I tried for one month and then decided I didn’t want to hate the rest of my life.

To be fair, they recently crushed the hopes and dreams of fans when they hinted at a comeback tour, only to reveal that they were going to be briefly reuniting on a Christian cruise.

A CRUISE. A. CRUISE.

There are two types of people that go on cruises.

  • Old people who want to see the world but also want to be served daiquiris by mustachioed waiters named “Francois” (that’s actually a requirement for serving food on a cruise – both the name and mustache – trust me on this one)
  • Families who are doing a Disney cruise or something similar

The only thing that says, “My best days are past,” more than a cruise is wearing sweatpants all day. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good pair of sweatpants, but even I have limits.

But I digress. We’re talking about me rapping the song “The Hard Way”.

Where, you ask, did this stirring performance take place?

As part of my…

…wait for it…

…homeschool choir.

The fact that I was in a homeschool choir says a lot about my childhood.

By 13, my life experience consisted of:

  • Playing Little League and being absolutely terrible until age 12, when my dad started working really hard with me on hitting. You wanna talk about a great dad? He spent hours helping me not be afraid of the ball, which is sort of important when it comes to baseball.He literally built a backstop for me to hit into. And to top it all off, he FASTED AND PRAYED on game days that God would help me. Starting to feel the feels right now. Love you dad.
  • Seeing a single rated “R” movie called Glory, which my dad showed us because of the historical value. He was very careful to make sure that he skipped over all the big swears. I didn’t know many swears back then. I know more now.My brother and I constantly tried to use that movie as leverage to make my dad let us watch other movies. “Daaad, you let us watch Glory, which IS RATED “R”!!! Why can’t we watch Independence Day?”

Now, take a look at this kid (note the kind caption written by my sister):

In the history of humanity, there has never been anyone LESS QUALIFIED to rap the song “The Hard Way”.

Oh, you haven’t read the lyrics recently? Let me refresh your memory. Here’s verse 1:

Now I’ve been high and I’ve been low
I’ve been some places that you would not go
I never thought there would come the day
When I wished I never would’ve lived this way
But I’ve been searching for a long, long time
I thought the devil was a friend of mine
I turned my back on everything that was true
And wasted years that belong to you

On top of that, the music video was filmed…

…IN A PRISON.

In gritty, noir-ish black and white.

Also, can I point out Toby Mac’s hat and Kevin Max’s glorious part down the middle? I too had the golden arches hair style at one point, but that’s for another time.

Now, back to me (my life motto). There was never a SECOND in my life where I thought the devil was a friend. From a very young age, I learned that the devil was a bad hombre (hombre meaning very powerful spirit who prowls about like a lion, in this case).

Also, keep in mind that I was 13 years old. I had done ZERO spiritual searching at that point. The extent of my searching consisted of attending a Christian camp called “Worldview Academy” in which I learned all the ways to use apologetics to destroy anti-Christian arguments.

AND I WASN’T EVEN THE COOL KID AT THE CAMP.

The most bad-butt (that’s a Christian swear) thing I had done up to that point was lighting dried grape vines on fire and then “smoking” them (pulling the smoke into my mouth). My dad quickly put the kibosh on that when he found out.

Are you starting to get the picture?

I was the quintessential church kid. 

My entertainment consisted of Darkwing Duck, Tale Spin, Adventures In Odyssey, and Muppet movies (which I still love).

And yet here are the words I rapped (I didn’t sing the verses because there was another kid named Jason who had a really good voice and also happened to be the teacher’s son – #nepotizzzz):

The warning signs are like flares in the night
Still I proceed my greed is in spite of the fire
I know that’s bound to burn
Why is it that I always gotta learn…
The hard way, the hard way, I had to learn the hard way
The hard way, the hard way, I had to learn the hard way

To my credit, I absolutely RAPPED THE PANTS OFF THAT SONG.

From my performance, you would think I was a hardened, tatted, glock-carrying cocaine dealer who had just been converted.

Despite the fact that I was wearing Wrangler jeans and didn’t know the difference between Run DMC and the Pennsylvania DMV, I turned in performance Eminem would be proud of.

And yet, all of this proves my point that church can be seriously weird.

And frankly, I love that.

The church is never going to be cool. In fact, every time the church tries to be cool, it comes off as a lame parody.

Honestly, my main desire in creating this site is simply to have fun and get some laughs. To poke fun at us Christian folk. We can take ourselves way too seriously.

But there’s also something sweet about reflecting on the weirdness of church. Only God could bring together so many people from so many different diverse pockets of life.

That’s the fundamental reason church can be so weird.

That’s also the reason I love it so much.

26 Replies to “Welcome To Church Is Weird (and the time I rapped when I was 13)”

  1. This is truly awesome. I thought you were going to talk about how the church is so unrelatable to most who dare darken its doorway, which is a valid point to bring to the church’s tradition-honouring attendion. But this. Pure Gold! Side note: I sang my share of solos as a young teen and probably had as much “street cred” as you with songs about worldly struggles. lol

  2. Haha, Awesome, I agree Church can be weird sometimes. Thanks for sharing. Now I have this mental picture of a kid on a cruise doing a new video for dcTalk in sweatpants lol 😉

  3. I grew up in this SAME church and homeschool world, oh man, which makes this post particularly funny to me! Love it! And thanks for sharing, so many of the kinds of posts that share about the crazy and quirky of church life are spiteful analysis and strong critiques. And man, that era does need critiquing! But it ALSO needs this. So badly, and yet it is so rare in the age of venting online. Thank you for writing.

  4. I always enjoy your posts! Three cheers to weirdness…may it always be so in the Church! Please tell me there is video of your performance or do you give thanks that this was p.s.e. Pre smart phone era?

          1. Feeling convicted, I wasn’t really asking for a friend…I was asking for myself. I am my own friend, so that has to count for something, right?

  5. you nailed it.
    I laughed my way thru the entire post.
    and it brought back memories that make me happy that I’m part of the weirdness.

  6. What a bad-butt way to start out this site. As a homeschooling mom about to graduate her last kid (bittersweetness), I look forward to more!

  7. As a mom of a homeschooled son (now 29) I thought this was hilarious. Yes, us church people (and especially homeschoolers 😉) are weird, but go to college, go to work at an office, factory, retail or anywhere and you’ll learn that everyone is wierd in their own sort of way.

  8. “The church is never going to be cool. In fact, every time the church tries to be cool, it comes off as a lame parody.” Truth

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