"My Name's Blurryface"
May 1, 2015
I’ve reached that point in my life where my kids are always trying to be the DJ in the car. And let me tell you, there are many “conversations” about the songs that are out now. If you will pardon my housewife theologian language, most of it is just crap.
Every now and then someone will enter the scene who actually sings about something that is thoughtful instead of consumed with body parts or a message about how great they are. I like to write about these rarities, when an artist actually offers a perceptive critique of culture. The more recent posts I’ve shared on this topic haven’t been bands that my colleague, Carl would approve of, as they have not been classic rock songs and the musicians are under fifty years old. The style of music may even be close to his “rubbish” category.
Nonetheless, I am digging this new band that my daughter is digging, Twenty-One Pilots. I wrote about the song, "Car Radio," from their last album, and now they have a great new release, “Stressed Out.” The lyrics in this song are a sort of reflection on growing up. Lead singer, Tyler Joseph laments the “good old days” when he was full of wonder, creativity, and imagination, when it was actually profitable to waste time in thought and silly inventions. “But now we’re stressed out.”
All the sudden, now his words aren’t good enough. His voice isn’t good enough. He has a hyper self-awareness and now “cares what people think” about his work. Instead of waking up energized to serve others with his giftedness, he hears the anthem, “Wake up, you need to make money!”
I don’t know about you, but I can identify with this. I am constantly fighting to hold on to the passion and pure love of life from my youth. I don’t want to just pump out goods for money, affirming what other people want. No, I want to be creative, engaging, and not afraid to say what I really think. That requires a willingness to spend time just enjoying life, or to sit back and observe, ans to be prepared to create some real flops as part of the process to make something great. I want to be mindful enough to discover something great instead of being swallowed up in busyness and crowd-opinion.
The song opens up with the bridge, “My name is Blurryface, and I care what you think.”
No! I think one of my greatest fears in growing up is becoming Blurryface. It’s all too easy to become this person---or this lack of person.
That’s why good theology has been such a passion of mine. Blurryface is not a pursuer of true truth, as Francis Schaeffer would call it. Blurrryface is a poseur or a wannabe. They can even think they are different by being a navel-gazer. Poseurs look to others to form their opinions, and navel-gazers search within themselves for some profound insight into life. Neither have faces.
In C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces, he beautifully describes a scene where the main character Orual finally comes before the gods with her screed against them. And yet she found it a deeply humiliating experience. Oriel thought she had spent her life bravely looking for truth, and was ready to hammer the gods for their silence. But Orual reflects on what she discovered after she finally had the chance to face them in a vision, “I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?” (294). She awakes from her vision and in her death ends her book with the words no answer. Orual concludes, “I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?” (308).
When God’s people behold his glory, we finally have a face, so to speak. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). The faces of believers are not to look to the crowd or to look within. They are not to be veiled with unbelief. As we look to God, our faces reflect his glory to the watching world. And in our sanctification, our faces should more clearly reveal a life that is being transformed into the image of Christ, by the help of his Holy Spirit.
Thankfully, we don’t need to “turn back time to the good old days” when we were less stressed-out as a cure for Blurryface. We look to Truth, and discover originality and beauty. And as we look forward to what we are becoming, Christians are less self-conscious about taking risks as we find meaning and purpose in our days. We’re even willing to suffer ridicule and care less about what others think. When we know that there is One who is worthy to serve and please, we can wake up energized in the knowledge that he is blessing our efforts.