At first the band was the 3 brothers and Nate Dawg. Then Nathan moved away and it was the 4 brothers, in a punk/pop quartet called Pops Body Shop. This particular story is about a time that Dad made his presence felt during one of our concerts. He and Mom were always involved in the band. They went to most of our shows, and drove the van, pulled the trailer, helped us set up and tear down. They were super supportive in every way. In this case, Dad was so supportive that he got us banned from the venue for life.
1 Thess 2:11 – For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children
We were playing a show for a youth group at a, shall I say, more liberal denomination. I remember walking through the hallway of the church that evening and seeing a few high school couples showing a bit more affection than was appropriate. One couple was sitting on the floor together under a blanket, cuddling. Dad’s Southern Baptist worldview was not reflected by this particular church. We did most of our set and Dad hopped up on stage to share a little. He rarely did that, but as our pastor and our Dad, sometimes he would share.
He was like an Old Testament prophet up there. He was angry with the fact that kids were making out in church. He told them they needed to get right with God. He mentioned specific behaviors he had seen and then he called them to repentance. He encouraged them to make a change in their lives. It was uncomfortable for us, but not shocking. It only lasted a couple of minutes, we played a few more songs, and that was that.
After the show we would typically hang out at our merch table and talk to the fans. One of the youth leaders, an older gentleman, came up to us and he was NOT pleased. He asked who that guy was. We explained, and he expressed his displeasure at what was said. Apparently some girls were left in tears, and there were all kinds of questions and conflicts as a result of Dad’s mini-sermon. We did our best to placate the guy, and we referred him to Dad if he wanted to discuss it some more. He never talked to Dad. Nobody did. When Dad felt righteous anger it was something to behold. I’m sure everyone was intimidated.
Before we left they assured us that we were not welcomed back.
I don’t want to paint Dad as an authoritarian, unloving pharisee. He generally operated with incredible love and compassion, even when correcting. There were some occasions though, particularly when Christians under his leadership were making horrible life decisions, when he would deal with people the way a “father deals with his own children.” I think he lost his temper sometimes, and regretted speaking out of anger. He wasn’t perfect.
As I think back on that incident with the band I think about how we need to operate in love. Dad’s approach may have been too stern, and it was embarrassing. I was also extremely proud of him that night. When we remember Dad we tend to remember his huge smile and his goofy wit. Let’s also remember that he was a man of uncompromising character, and that isn’t a bad thing.