Nature abhors a vacuum. This is a truth every school child learns about the physical world. It is important for Christians to understand that the very same principle applies in the spiritual world. Too, unfortunately, in the fallen world in which we live, the vacuum is most often created when good departs and evil fills in behind it. This is what always happens when Christians fail to be obedient to the admonition to be "salt", to be present, to show up, representing the only "good" that really counts, the goodness of the Lord Jesus. When we are not there, evil triumphs by default.

A recent New York Times article about Jewel, the lovely and talented pop star, demonstrates this axiom all too clearly. It also shows how, even in an era of heightened spiritual interest and awareness, subtle distortion of the truth can be so damaging to God's Kingdom. Again, this happens when there is no one there to lead and to guide toward ultimate truths. Here are some excerpts from the Times article:

"Jewel, now 24, has grown up between albums, but she is determined not to let go of her youthful idealism or sensitivity. Where her first album asked, 'Who Will Save Your Soul?', on Spirit (her latest album), Jewel volunteers to do the job herself . . .In 'Hands', she sings, 'If I could tell the world just one thing / it would be that we're all O.K.' She turns messianic in 'Life Uncommon' singing, 'Come on you unbelievers, move out of the way / There is a new army coming and we are armed with faith.' . . . That faith is a non-denominational, New Age-y creed: believe in yourself and care about others. 'We will be Christed when we hear ourselves say / We are that to which we pray,' she sings, in a losing battle with grammar."

It is not necessary to be theologically sophisticated to see how damaging these lyrics are. The fact they are probably well intentioned, inspirational and uplifting make them even more harmful. They play to the spirit of the age, which says, "Man is everything and totally self-sufficient for this life and any life to come." This leads to all kinds of evil and to rejection of the gospel.

Upon hearing Jewel sing these lyrics or reading the Times story, many Christians will be quick to castigate the singer/songwriter. That will be wrong. Unless we know there have been Christians there walking beside her gently instructing her in the truth, which she has rejected, she is not the problem. The problem will be that, once again, we have not shown up. How great it would be if even one or two of our most musically talented and most spiritually mature Christian artists -- a {{Margaret Becker}} or a {{Kathy Troccoli}} come to mind -- could be in the sphere of influence of a talent such as Jewel and could say in effect, "You are so close to getting it right. Let me tell you about the One about whom you should be writing and singing. Then you will have it exactly right."

Until there are superbly talented Christians, who have earned a well deserved place in the pop music world and are using their writing and singing talent to earn a hearing for the gospel, we will continue to have these huge vacuums, which will always be filled by Jewel-type lyrics and much, much worse.

We must begin to show up. At least some of our best and brightest must begin to be obedient and to see culturally significant areas as mission fields on which to serve. Not only do we need these obedient Christians as singer/songwriters and musicians, we also desperately need them in areas of management, promotion, publicity and finance -- in every part of music, the visual arts, literature, journalism, and sports. Christians with interest and ability in every discipline are needed as missionaries in our culture.

We must begin to show up and to make our presence count for God's Kingdom. Don't leave a vacuum.