On Friday night, I let loose with a few friends for some karaoke fun at our friendly, neighborhood pub. Now when I think of “pub,” imagery of The Inn of the Prancing Pony from the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings comes to mind. (If you’re not a LOTR nerd, I know I just lost you. Come back to me! If you are a LOTR nerd, then you’ll probably love the Prancing Pony scenes fully reconstructed in Legos here) Or maybe an old-fashioned pub like The Eagle and Child where C.S. Lewis, Tolkien ( those LOTR references just keep coming), and the rest of the Inklings met to talk about their literary works. Yes, a classy joint, sort of like an artistic Applebee’s (which I just learned also has karaoke) or a coffeehouse where people drink beer.
A pub, at least the one down the street, is nothing like that.
There were no writers discussing their works (though I did try literary analysis on some of the song lyrics.) Or rough and tumble guys playing poker. There were flashing strobe lights, a cheesy stage area, and a random sampling of people–most of whom were drinking. I know, I know, it’s a bar, what did I expect? Well, I thought it was a pub and everyone would be drinking butter beer! Besides, we were there to karaoke, not get sloshed.
And karaoke we did! While one of my friends, who is apparently a karaoke superstar, sang love ballads, I relied on classics such as “Bad Moon Risin'” by CCR and “Dancin’ Queen” by ABBA. I mean, who doesn’t want to sing “Dancin’ Queen”? It may be cliche, but at least I can cross “Sing ‘Dancin’ Queen’ at karaoke bar” off my bucket list.
In between our performances, we paged through the song catalog placed at each table and laughed at the names of bands and song titles, commenting on some of the more, uh, at “classy” song choices, and trying to yell over the noisy room. One of us began to look for songs by Christian artists, and that’s when three of us decided we needed to sing one of these songs. I joked that we needed to be light in the darkness. We were going to be missionary karaokeers. We chuckled about it, but I think there could be something to it. I think Jesus would karaoke.
We chose “Dive” by Steve Curtis Chapman. It wasn’t as in-your-face as Chris Tomlin’s “How Great Is Our God” or as sugary sweet as Point of Grace. I claimed to know it, though I hadn’t heard the song in a few years. My friends said they’d follow my lead. After all, I am on the Sunday morning praise team, right?
I wrote our song choice on a slip and handed it to the D.J. After listening to a few other patrons, the D.J. called our names. I was a little shaken by the song before us, which talked about bodies hitting the floor and had some screaming parts. Still, we smiled sweetly at the crowd and exchanged nervous glaces as the song started. We were ready to show the pubsters how we Christian chicks karaoke. As soon as the lyrics began scrolling across the small screen, I realized I didn’t know “Dive” as well as I thought I did. Neither did my friends who were counting on me. So we did our best and half-laughed our way through the verses as we tried to produce some semblance of a tune. Fortunately, we did know the chorus, which we totally rocked. The nice thing about being among so many people who don’t listen to Christian music is that they didn’t know the song so they didn’t know that we didn’t know it either. Or they were too drunk to care. I realized later that lighht in the darkness doesn’t have to be brilliant to be seen; it just has to shine.
So, what’s the point of this post? Am I trying to get Steven Curtis Chapman to hire my friends and me as back-up singers for his next tour? (Maybe. SCC, we’re available. Call us!) Is there some deep, spiritual platitude I’m trying to get across? Not really. I’m just sharing a story about 30-something ladies having a good [sober] time on a Friday night. We weren’t at the pub to be salt and light. We didn’t sing “Dive” to be a witness. We just were because when you allow yourself to be God’s light, you can’t help but shine.
I don’t think we saved any souls with our singing. I’m not even sure we planted any seeds (Though strangely enough, “The 700 Club” was being show on one of the TV’s in the main bar area, so perhaps Pat Roberston took care of the souls we missed.) But I think we did bring glory to God by praising His name in a neighborhood pub on Friday night.
Sometimes light is subtle…and that’s OK. We don’t always have to flood the world with our faith, which can make people feel like deer caught in headlights. We can be a light in the darkness simply by being radiant and letting God’s light pour out through us into the world.
Maybe we all just need to step out of our comfort zones, take a leap of faith, and dive in.