Christians across America will be shifting uncomfortably in their pews on Sunday as they hear the news – Mike Gestopolis, co-founder of the wildly popular Christian pop rock band, Messenger Boys, with 16 studio albums (6 of them certified gold) to their credit, announced last Wednesday that he has renounced his faith. Former band members, followers of the band’s music, and pastors who’d promoted their music as a tool to reach young people have responded in shock and dismay.
“You just never see this kind of thing coming, you know?” said Cody Muskopf, youth pastor at Piney Grove Southern Baptist Church in Taney County, Missouri. “Christian rock artists usually have such a large grasp of faith and a deep reserve of spiritual centeredness. They’re not like secular rock stars, you know, who are in it for money, sex, drugs – they’re in it because of their faith. So this comes as a real blow to us and our kids.”
Messenger Boys keyboardist and co-founder, Anthony Fortuis, expressed his disappointment as well. “No one goaded us into this,” he said, commenting on the band’s founding in 1985. “It’s not like our parents were fundamentalist Christians who said the only thing we could play was Christian music. Mike and I never just wanted to play music and get laid. We weren’t trying to find a way to rebel. It was real for us.”
Although it’s unlikely to provide balm to millions of wounded Christian rock fans, Gestopolis did at least promise not to swing widely to the other end of the spiritual spectrum in spite of his newfound absence of faith. “I know people will be hurt, but it’s not like I’m going to go off the deep end and renounce wacky Christian beliefs only to espouse wacky beliefs on the other side. That would just be trading one form of crazy fundamentalism in for another. I’m just looking to live a balanced of life cautious spiritual openness and exploration.”
Perhaps the only reason fans might have to believe Gestopolis’s assurances is the obvious, long-time, robust relationship between Christian rock and intellectual honesty. “We know that Christian rock artists, whether or not they remain committed to the faith, are deep people with an abiding sense of artistic purity and altruism,” said former Dove Awards commentator and Christian rock critic, Christopher Swaney, who also founded RocktoChristianRock.com. “So we can trust that Mike isn’t doing all this as a tool for self-promotion. Christian Rock artists don’t use faith as a tool to get famous, so hopefully he won’t use his lack of faith that way either.”
This piece is a satirical response to this real-life event.
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