G o t h i c F r o m t h e
C h r i s t i a n P e r s p e c t i v e
This article is an exerpt from "What is Christian Goth"
by Joseph J. kopnick
SOURCE 1 - Thomas Woodroofe - The Eternal Chapter
Goth has about as many definitions as it has adherents. You will find that everyone has their own subjective opinion as to what Goth is all about. For me Goth is something that has always been with me. I equate it with having a darker, and perhaps more serious view of life and the world. It is far more than just a musical subculture. It is a way of life. Once I received Christ, I never lost my culture. There were certain things that had to go, certain things that didn't glorify God. But I still loved Siouxsie and Bauhaus along with my new found faith in the Lord Jesus. I found that, contrary to popular 'Christian' opinion, I could still wear lace and velvet (and, God forbid- eyeliner?) and worship Christ. At first I thought I was the only one- Surely there weren't other Christians that shared my passion for Goth and served Jesus? God soon brought me into contact with others just like me. When I first found Saviour Machine's debut album, I was amazed and excited. Here were a group of Christians that perceived things in a similar fashion to me, yet they professed the Christian faith. There is a need for Christians to be a witness in every single culture on the face of this planet. God can use all of us right where we are. There is a tendency amongst Christians to shun that which is different from the norm. Some Christians tend to view white, mainstream, western culture as Christian. This leads to a complete disregard of the valid expressions of other subcultures and cultures. This is entirely wrong. The Bible is clear that all cultures will have their place in the kingdom of heaven. My sincere hope is that all Christians will become as accepting of others as our Lord Jesus was.
SOURCE 2 - Joseph J. Kopnick - Killingtheoldman
The Christian Gothic Aesthetic
As you have already read, there are a myriad of views as to what Gothic is and is not. The truth is, there is no really accurate or definitive answer as to exactly what Goth is. The same can be said about the Christian Gothic aesthetic. But suffice to say that Christians that are gothic have an understanding and appreciation for things artistically dark, stunning and dramatic. One MUST NOT equate dark artistic aesthetic with evil. When the bible talks about darkness, it is NOT the same as dark artistic aesthetic.
Justifying the Conundrum
Let me first begin by saying that I cannot speak for the masses. I can only tell you how I believe Gothic and Christianity relate to and complement one another in my own life. Many may or may not agree with what I believe. Please do not approach this as a be all end all definition of Christian Gothica. Goths on the whole are fiercely independent and eclectic, so my personal opinion will not be shared by all (or even the majority of) other Goths.
Gothic in its general essence is expression of a dark aesthetic through various medium including Art, Music, Literature, Architecture, Lifestyle, Attitude and Outlook. I use the word dark here for lack of a better term, perhaps it may should be modified with words like "dramatic" or "high contrast", but for simplicity's sake, we'll use the term dark.
I personally feel that of all the sub-cultures that exists, Gothic has some of the most startling ties with Christianity. Below are a few examples.
Drink from me and forever live
Centerpiece of many a gothic tale is an eternal creature who has eluded the claws of death and exists outside the realm of the natural, haunting the land of the living in search of people willing to partake in that death in order to live on in eternity. The entire idea of receiving eternal life through partaking in the death of another is about as gothic as one can get. Christ, the undead, fulfills for those who seek him, their dreams of eternal paradise through partaking in his death, drinking from his cup the blood of the crucifixion.
And Jesus wept
Life is tragic. Christ as a person was a tragic being. He is very often misleadingly pictured as an always smiling person of overwhelming giddiness and jocularity. When in reality, suffering was his contribution to the world. His individual acts of healing and teaching pale in comparison to t he salvation he instituted through his suffering, abandonment and death. Only through an intimate understanding of the suffering Christ underwent can we completely understand the magnitude of what he saved us from. That is the true Joy of life.
Melancholy but happy
Contrary to popular belief, a happy outward appearance does not mean a happy inward person. I am melancholy because I understand who I am and what I have done. I crucified Christ. It was because of me that he was broken. I am pensive out of the ocean of respect and fear I hold of the Almighty One. I am happy through my security in Christ, but I am also deliberate to measure my steps. I don't feel the necessity to play the game of smiling to make others feel comfortable around me, so I am often misunderstood as being unfriendly. In that manner I am guilty of pretension and callousness. This is by no means peculiar or uncommon in the gothic scene and is a very well understood thing between Goths when they first meet each other, an unspoken quietness of mutual understanding. Though to an outsider this is a sign of depression, I see it as a sign of respect in the form of honesty toward a fellow person.
In remembrance of me
For centuries, black has had its connotations in one form or another. Not because it is uncommon by any means, but because it strikes chords of the unknown. Black has symbolized death, deity, mourning, humility, mystery, and evil. People at a funeral wear black in remembrance of the deceased. We are commanded in the book to perform the communion in order to remember Christ's death until his return. Instead of doing it in church as a blank ceremony once every blue moon, why not live the remembrance?
A Lucid, yet taboo truth
One important truth that is often ignored is that many of us really like the look. Its not all about fashion, but it fashion has a lot to do with it for some. I am the last person in the world to deny that I absolutely adore the look and the music. But I will be the first to point out that Goth is an amalgamation of many, many things and for each Goth, its a different combination.
Deconstruction for Reconstruction
Adherents of hardcore Gothica have an understanding and appreciation of the ideas of self-destructive behavior such as cutting, mutilation and self deprivation out of feelings, often times, of severe inadequacy. The Christian Gothic expression of this same feeling is to die to ones self, because we in truth are NOT adequate, only through the death of ones self can we learn to trust God. Deconstruction of self for reconstruction by God to preservation of our souls.
There really is no single sentence that can sum up in complete the tie between Gothic and Christianity. But If I was forced to try, I suppose this is what I would come up with: Christian Gothica is a physical manifestation of the fact that only through death can life be gained, only by knowing what darkness is can we fully enjoy the light, only by understanding suffering can we completely appreciate salvation.
Can a Christian Be Gothic?
This is a personal question to me, so I will address what being "gothic" means to me and why I have chosen to embrace this lifestyle. Let me start by explaining how and why I became a "goth." I jokingly say that my dear friend Chase sired me to the "dark side," because he was the first one to introduce me to this culture. I became "gothic" during a time of extreme sadness in my life. I was surrounded by others who were telling me to just be happy and I could not. I found solace in the dark sounds of Love and Rockets and Bauhaus. In the Cure, I found honesty of emotion, something I desperately needed.
When I became "saved" I noticed that while I had the "light of the world" in my life, I was still an outsider. I could not adapt to the cookie-cutter Christian model. Eventually, I discovered Sanctuary and truly found it the right place for my soul. Now I am a Shadow Dweller, lurking with a candle, holding it out to others, sharing the light and the love of God to those who are also living in the shadows.
It is hard to understand the real meaning of who/what a goth is if you are not a part of this scene. To me gothic is more than a fashion choice or a music preference. It is an attitude of how one views the world we live in. Some choose to look at life from a very shallow point of view, i.e., "life is one big party and fun is the big goal in life." Others see it from a "yuppie" perspective, looking for their identity in their work, money, possessions, etc.
Life from a "gothic" point of view is one that is bleak and somber, thus the dark appearance and style of dress. The world is dark to me, because it's so far from God's holy plan and design, that it saddens me greatly. I express my somberness to the world by my style of dress and demeanor. I relate to the prophet Jeremiah regarded by most as the Weeping Prophet.
Being gothic to me is also being real real with myself, real with others, and real with God. I do not hide behind a mask to hide who I am and how I truly feel. When I am happy I express it fully, and when I am sad I express that as well. Most goths express their bleak sadness openly and I see that as an honesty of humanity.
I admire the culture for it's open and honest expression of self, no matter how perverse or strange, because this is how God sees us. We cannot hide our sins from Him and it is foolish to think we can. In "normal society," people seem so concerned with appearances, they hide their true selves in order to gain the favor of others. This mask-wearing is accepted, yet stark honesty is often shunned, even by those in the church. This is truly sad.
You see, being gothic is more than a fashion statement or a certain style of music. It is a reflection of how one chooses to see the world. This world is lost, hell- bound, and full of people in complete denial, seeking to fill that God-shaped void within them with everything except the Cross. It is a world lacking in honesty of self or honesty toward others. If I were to be anything but "gothic" in my views, I would be among the mask-wearing hypocrites. So I wear black and tell others who will listen that the world is empty and bleak. Yet it does not have to be. Though we live in the darkness, we are not of it. Thanks be to God for that.