Temptation is cool these days. You didn’t realise that? Sure it is. Every second ad on TV wants you to give into temptation. Giving into temptation is what all the cool kids do. Temptation leads to all the fun stuff our parents told us not to do. So, what’s your temptation?
I’m preparing to give a kids talk at Church on Sunday morning. I’ve been ask to give a talk on Zacchaeus aimed at 5 year olds. I love giving kids talks. It’s a great privilege God gives to tell young kids about the God who loves them. And the great thing about kids talks is that they’re great for adults too. Everyone has different learning styles, so the very visual, simple talk with one big point can really make an impact. But sometimes, as is the case with this talk, as I prepare I find myself with great illustrations that aren’t appropriate for the audience. Usually they’re too obscure or aimed at too young an audience. This time though, the illustration I thought of was too old for my audience. I doubt many 5 year olds have heard of Ben Folds.
I’ve been listening to Alice Cooper’s new album Along Came A Spider for a few days now. There’s some great tracks on here and overall it is a very solid album. When I’ve brought this album up in conversation with people, they’re shocked. Not because I’m listening to an Alice Cooper album but because Alice Cooper is still putting out albums. In most people’s minds (it seems to me), Alice hasn’t put out an album since the 80s. In reality, Alice has been solidly releasing albums for decades. And in my mind, some of his best work has been released in the last 15 years.
The character of Alice Cooper is the villain of his show. You’re meant to cheer against him. He says things and does things that fly in the face of normalcy and decency. He is counter cultural and digs up those things we’d rather be left buried. And that’s a good thing. He challenges us to recognise the things in this world that we’d rather sweep under the carpet and ignore. And sometimes, whilst he’s delighting us with sick fantasies, he can reveal something about human nature that we’d rather he didn’t say. Because it’s true. I DO just wanna be God.
I once used the Alice Cooper song It’s Much Too Late for a high school chapel service. Each student was passed out a sheet of paper with the name of the song and the lyrics printed on it. I asked anyone if they knew who Alice Cooper was. Most of the teachers put up their hands. And one student. Just one. I was pretty sure he was just trying to get some attention. So I told him if he could tell me, I’d give him a couple of minties. His reply? “She’s a poet.” Me and the teachers laughed because he got it wrong on both counts. He is a popular rocker from the 70s and 80s. But some of my favourite work of Alice’s comes from this century. Like It’s Much Too Late.
It may surprise you that I’m a huge Alice Cooper fan. A fan of a 60 year old rocker wearing black leather and makeup with some Top 40 hits in the 70s and 80s who did a cover version of one of his own songs with British pop band The A-Teens. Yeah, that doesn’t sound like me at all. But strangely enough, I really enjoy his music as well as his presence as a performer. One of these days I hope I have enough money to justify seeing one of his concerts. If he’s still breathing… not that being dead would stop him I guess.
The thing that really gets me going about Alice, the thing that gets me excited, is that he is a Christian.