I was 10 years old and too young to be listening to the popular rock music of the 1990’s. But I remember my oldest brother hiding his cassette tapes under his bed so my parents wouldn’t find them. Among the contraband was the newly released album by the glam-rock band “Poison” which included their chart topping mega ballad “Something to Believe In.” Bret Michaels, the lead singer, is deeply scared while he witnesses his best friend grapple with life as a despised and rejected Vietnam veteran. Like many great songs, this is a passionate expression of an experience with which many people too often relate. Clearly a cry is heard for something… anything… to believe, and from his experience, it’s not religion.
Over the years this song has become one of my favorite because it addresses a hard question with which we all wrestle. We try to do what is right. We work hard. We are looking for something on which to hang our hat. Our journey through life evokes words such as relevance, significance, value, and meaning. One friend once told me “you can keep your religion. I don’t need your lies.” Like the song mentioned above, religion has left many people lacking and still grappling for significance. Religion is simply the traditions of our faith and without relationships it will leave us empty. T.S. Eliot asks “What life have you if you have not life together? There is no life that is not in community, and no community [when life is] not lived in praise to God.” It is in community, built by relationships, that we find our place of value and significance. The ultimate expression of relationship is God’s desire to relate with us and for us to experience His great love.
Our challenge is to continue sharing in the journey and celebrating together the spiritual moments of life. Our individual traditions of faith bring strength to our community by broadening our perspectives. But our focus must remain on our relationships with those who we come in contact with each day. As we create a community defined by service and love we will find a place to belong. And when we discover this place of belonging, then we will have something to believe in.
Joey Buck, Assistant Director/Dollywood Chaplain