Body Piercing Saved My Life

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If you remember “supafly, straight-edge” Matt from The Real World: New Orleans, you’ll recognize the type—the kid with the spiked hair and skateboard who says he lives for music, but doesn’t swear or drink and wears a “Crunk for Christ” T-shirt. This seemingly oxymoronic “mohawked fundamentalist” is at the heart of music journalist Andrew Beaujon’s sympathetic foray into the booming Christian rock scene. Is Christian music, he asks, with its embrace of secular aesthetics and simultaneous rejection of sex, drugs, and antiauthoritarianism, nothing but an empty shell? Or more to the point, what’s up with Jesus death metal?

Beaujon dives into this parallel universe, talking with bands that never make the Top 40 yet have hundreds of thousands of fans (the majority of Christian music is consumed in New York and L.A.). We meet a “hip and holy” mega-church pastor with sideburns, his own record label, and a penchant for singing to his miniskirted female congregants about celibacy and their subservience to men. Then there’s the reflective lead singer of, um, crossover band Pedro the Lion, whose angsty songs, filled with what Beaujon calls the “gospel of doubt,” reveal that God rock can be as full of longing, anger, and postadolescent ambivalence as its worldly twin. “Music is the public square of evangelical Christianity,” Beaujon writes, “a place where all these visions of Christ get a hearing.”

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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