The idea for this page was inspired by a conversation I had recently with a dear Christian woman at church, she could not understand the concept of a Christian who still was Goth after coming to the Lord. (Or, became Goth after becoming a Christian.) As much as I explained to her that Goth was not a religion or evil she just could not understand. I decided that I wanted a web page that will explain to folks why you all are Christian and still Goth. So, on Face book I asked folks on the ChristianGoth.com page to send in their short entries telling their story. What follows is what was sent in. If you have an entry send it in!
Send entry: ChristianGothCom@aol.com
Thom J.~ My name is Thom. I became Goth well after I became a Christian. In my early walk with Christ I was a very conservative, clean cut person. My background is nondenominational Pentecostal. While it gave me a great Biblical foundation it also birthed a un-Christ-like prejudice against people who were different from us. There was no room for black sheep unless they were painfully bleached white like the rest. As I grew in my walk and learned the character of Jesus I began to question my former stances on things. Jesus was well acquainted with sorrow. He did not ignore suffering but embraced the broken. He embraced death at the cross met it with arms wide open. He was a emissary of the supernatural in a broken natural world. As I began to identify with Jesus my heart toward things changed. I noticed that I could identify with the honesty of the gothic culture. We don't hide our pain or feelings. I'm a artist, I revealed in a culture that supported creativity. I really always related to the dark imagery of the gothic culture. Once I started on the acceptance that yeah, deep down I'm Goth as well as Christian I for the first time became comfortable in my own skin. As I made friends in the subculture, I found we had a lot in common in our interests . But spiritually very little. Most had bad experiences at the hands of believers. Instead of a loving embrace they found closed doors and condemnation in lieu of love. So this is where I am. I am a Bible based believer, I am a sinner, I am redeemed, I am broken, I am whole, I am rejected, I am accepted. I lay my soul bare before, everyone. What you see is what you get. I am Christian and I am Goth. All of us are walking contradictions. I'm just being honest with mine. I am being redeemed day by day...well, night by night in this case. I identify with the dark, but I also bare a light into it. I am a black sheep but I'm still of the flock. And even though it would seem my faith and cultural preference are at odds. They aren't. I'm just being honest about who I am. Jesus can't bring healing to you if you're hiding behind a mask. Just be you, he loves all of us as we are, he calls all of us past ourselves to follow him. Does it really matter if in our walk down this glory road if you wear a suit and I wear a black skull t-shirt and dragon necklace? Jesus is no respecter of fashion. He loves all his kids the same. People, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Don't reject your black sheep. Don't try to bleach us.
Donna S.~ Over the years during
my prayer time, I have always asked God if I was
on the right track with my life, not only with
my spiritual life, but also living a Goth
lifestyle. Each time, the Lord has given me a
confirmation to show me that I am pleasing to
Him. I truly believe that I am Goth by God’s
design and because I have free will, I am a
Christian by choice. Although God is more
concerned with my heart than my outer
appearance; I know that God loves my sense of
style. I am sure that some of that pizzazz came
from two of my favorite television shows from
the 1960’s, The Addams family and the
Esther V.~ I grew up in a traditional Christian home where everything was bad and it was from the devil. Inside of me, I always like the things that are dark but since everything was bad and being Goth was as they say "the devil worshipers ". It wasn't until a few years ago when I found ChristianGoth.Com. It was then that I learn that I can be a Christian and Goth. I felt a load that was lifted from my shoulders and my heart became closer to God and my love for Jesus grew stronger. The church I go to now, I don't get judge by how I look and I started to see more Goths in the church like me and I love it. It bothers me that churches still are so judgmental. God knows I am not perfect but I get angry when the church instead of showing Christ-love they show judgment. But God is good and He is worthy to be praise.
Luci~ When I started being interested in gothic it wasn't generally very known in my country (and it still isn't – probably that's a good thing, with all the misinterpretations that surround it). I got to know about it from someone on a forum about computer RPGs. I was searching and searching to find out more (one of the first sites I found about goth was christiangoth.com!) and I felt very drawn to it because it seemed gothic had a connection to things that I always felt connecting with me: the period of Romanticism, fantasy, unusual and melancholy artistic expressions. I also started exploring the musical part. I hadn't known anything of it before, as goth rock etc., like other underground genres, is not a type of music one gets to know by chance, without actively searching for it. But thanks to the possibilities of the internet I got to know and love various goth rock, darkwave, ethereal and neoclassical bands. And although of course I also listen to other different genres, these are very special to me and they have a charm that I don't find in any other genres. The fashion part of gothic was something I instantly liked too, especially the romantic branch, as that was close to my likings for fantasy and history. I have always been a melancholy person and that was also a reason I felt very attracted to it. Actually at that time I though that a melancholy personality was a typical characteristic of goths; now I know it's not a matter of personality but rather of similar tastes – in music, clothing, aesthetic and interests.
Now how does it relate to being a Christian? I have been one since the age of 11. In my process of “becoming goth” I never perceived it as conflicting with my faith, I suppose it's because I almost haven't come across any misrepresenting goth resources or individuals, actually the first sites I was reading about goth were “religious tolerance” and “Christian Goth”. So already during this process I was creating a way in my mind to make my Christian faith and gothic likings coexist together without conflict. I know that the culture also contains some elements that aren't Christian friendly, e.g. some bands and their lyrics; or people who act in ways that aren't acceptable for Chistians. But that's not something exclusive for gothic, bad influence and destructive elements can be found in any subculture or group of people – that doesn't make the whole subculture bad! And I simply avoid the parts of the subculture that I feel aren't appropriate for a Christian or that I'm uncomfortable with for other reasons. Being a Christian goth is quite rare (even more in my country where both Christians and goths are rare) and one may feel somewhat lonely in either of these two groups especially if you're the only goth in your church/group of Christian friends or the other way round. But if gothic is something I genuinely love and feel connected with I don't think I should try to abandon this part of me. Nowadays my clothing style is very moderate and often there's nothing gothic about it. Maybe I've “grown out” of dressing the part a little (or maybe I will return to it again? It's still a possibility), and also I don't want to attract attention. But gothic is still my love, especially the music and art. And I am married to a man I met in 2006 thanks to the directory on the ChristianGoth.com site!
|Jamie~ before I was a Christian I was goth and now a Christian and still goth.. I just love the fashion. it has nothing to do with religion., you don't have to be into vampirism or be into witchcraft or Satanist to be gothic. in fact I use to witness to many who were satantist who were not gothic at all. they were either preppy or political people. If they are true satanist they hide it they don't show it. they (satanist) dress any way they like and don't say 'hey look at me I am a Satanist'...lol same for a witch. I knew a witch that I tried to bring to the Lord and she looked normal. they mostly wear cloaks and all that during a ritual or they wear nature stuff they weren't gothic at all. I went to high school and I knew a witch and she was preppy...lol Gothic, its just a fashion. Your beliefs have nothing to do with the way you look, besides spirit is spirit flesh is flesh. what does fashion have to do with your religion?? So I agree with you girl. Keep up the good work I am tried of stereotypes... that is all this is. I am here for you and God bless you|
When an African becomes a Christian, does she have to stop being African? Of course not! But there are some aspects of African culture that he or she may not engage in anymore. Things like ancestor worship (only God should be worshipped), visiting witchdoctors (God is our healer, provider and avenger) and polygamy (a man shall cleave to his wife......not wives). When a Goth becomes a Christian, does she have to stop being Goth? Of course not! But there are some aspects of Gothic culture that he or she may not engage in. As a Christian Goth, I am aware of the darkness but I am not part of that darkness because I have the light of God in me. A Christian African can wear a "kitenge" or a dress with "African prints". A Christian Goth can wear a long, flowing black dress or a black trench coat or black Victorian mourning attire... (A Christian African Goth can wear a long, flowing kitenge with black and red African prints :-) A Christian African can listen to a Swahili or Yoruba or Zulu worship song. A Christian Goth can listen to a slow, haunting, melancholic yet beautiful worship song in a minor key. (A Christian African Goth can listen to a slow, haunting, melancholic yet beautiful Swahili song in a minor key :-) As a Christian Goth, I strive to be a light in the dark places that "normal" Christians ignore, fear or dismiss.
|Julie~ I BELIEVE GOD LOVES EVERYONE! No matter how we dress or what we look like! We will always be accepted by Jesus Christ! He looks at our heart! Goth is just a cool way of expressing one's self! It's fun!|
Ecclesiastes 7:4 “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning”
I am different. I believe that God created me to think about things and anguish over things that most people quite simply do not care about. For most of my life I have struggled with the pain of being different. In the gothic “house of mourning” I found the wisdom to know that it is ok to be different. I also found others that care about the things that I care about and recognize the brokenness of this world. In Christianity I found the Healer of my brokenness and the answer to all of the questions that had haunted me for so long. To answer the question, “why I am Christian and still Gothic,” I will briefly give my testimony to provide context, give personal reasons for being Gothic, and then give reasons for why I think the Christian church needs the Gothic subculture. My answer might be a little long, but I truly pray that it will be helpful to Christian Goths and non-Gothic Christians alike.
I am different. According to a Myers Briggs personality test that I took I have a personality type that is shared by less than 1% of the world. This was detrimental to my ambitions to be the most popular kid in school. I was rejected, harassed, and bullied until I eventually quit trying. Then I became angry and philosophical. I wanted answers. Why was I rejected? How am I different? Who is right? What should people be like? Dark angry music resonated with me and eventually led me to the Gothic metal scene. In the Gothic scene I found people like me. I found some measure of joy and peace from being accepted but my joy and peace was incomplete. I still had major philosophical questions that had not been answered and I could not find peace until they were. My freshman year in college I met a guy that was studying to become a pastor and he challenged me in some profound ways that I definitely never expected. At the time, I was a bitter pessimistic atheist, familiar with some pretty potent philosophers. We would sit in a local fast food restaurant and debate the existence (or non-existence) of God for hours. Then one day he asked me, “Hold on! You say that all of these things are wrong with the world, but what are you doing about it? Are you just going to listen to angry music and wear black tee-shirts? If the world is wrong, what would it look like if it were right? How should things be?” I did not have an answer. He later tricked me into reading C.S. Lewis's “Mere Christianity.” In Lewis's book I learned that I could not accuse the world of being wrong, if I had no answer for what “rightness” was. I found in the God of Christianity the source of rightness, and the Giver of the moral law. As I learned more of Him, I saw how short I fell of His Goodness. I learned that He was holy and just, and hated the evil and injustice of the world more than I did; and that He would hold me accountable for all of the evil and injustice that I had done as well. I also learned that even though I was vile and angry and hated Him, the world, and myself, He loved me. He bore the shame and rejection that I deserved, and paid the penalty for my sin, so that one day I could be loved and accepted in a deeper way than I ever imagined. Christ was the answer to all of my questions.
After conversion to Christianity I labored to figure out who I was as a Christian, but eventually returned to the Gothic subculture. Here are some of my personal reasons for returning to the Gothic subculture. I have found that even if I dress 'normal,' after about thirty seconds of casual small talk, people figure out that I am not, and then stare at me as if I had two heads. I have found that by dressing Gothic I attract people who are like me, and ward off people that would hurt me. Also, I feel better about myself when I dress Gothic than when I do not. When I was trying to fit in, I often did not like my clothes, did not like my hair, and did not like myself. There weren't very many things that I liked about myself during that time, and I felt like there weren't very many things that others liked about me either. Another reason that I decided to remain Gothic after converting to Christianity is, I and others that I know, have found ministry opportunities by dressing in ways that others find eccentric. I wear a replica of Martin Luther's wedding ring, and a Celtic cross from the isle of Iona, and these have started numerous conversations about God and Christianity. I also find Christian symbolism in many of the shirts that I choose. If someone compliments me on my shirt I then use that as an opportunity to share my Christian worldview with them. When I eliminated everything that was interesting about me to fit in, I also eliminated quite a few opportunities to share Christianity with others. My last personal reason is, I like being a part of the Gothic subculture. I like being surrounded by others who understand me and accept me. When I tried to “fit in” with others at church and work, I felt very isolated and alone, and often drew quite a bit of criticism. It is nice to be understood and accepted.
Lastly, I decided to remain Gothic after converting to Christianity because I think Christianity needs the Gothic subculture. The Gothic subculture is a culture and like other cultures it has strengths and weaknesses. The Gothic subculture has a unique experience of Christianity and a unique understanding of God's Word that the Christians now and in the future need. God uniquely created individual Goths, and uniquely created the Gothic subculture to experience Him in a ways that no other culture could. He has given us gifts and drawn us to Himself to praise Him and magnify His name in ways that no other culture can. Here are some ways that I think the Gothic subculture uniquely glorifies God and can benefit the church. First, Gothic Christians sympathize with hurting people and have uniquely experienced how God heals and brings peace. The vast majority of Goths that I knew were people who had been hurt and found peace and acceptance in the Gothic subculture. Goths experience the unique pain of social rejection and can uniquely share God's love with the socially rejected. Secondly, Gothic art, music, and culture is often focused on things that mainstream society find dark. I think Goths are adept at handling and presenting dark subject matter that many other cultures would be prone to avoid. This gives Goths the advantage of being able address dark subjects in the world and in scripture that other cultures would not be comfortable with. When the horror genre is used properly, it can show us that there is sin in our society and in our lives, and it is horrible. Goths are uniquely able to address the darkness of sin in the world and in our own lives. Finally, I think there is a refreshing sense of reverence and sobriety in the Gothic subculture. We find awe and beauty in Gothic cathedrals. We understand the frailty and brevity of human life. We understand terror and are sobered by human weakness. We find the jovial, ignorant humanistic optimism of much of modern Western civilization distasteful and repulsive. I think many of us know how to approach the thrice holy, omnipotent, righteous God of Christianity with sobriety, awe, humility, and reverence. This is something that many of our churches need.
By giving the Gothic subculture purpose, meaning, direction, and a greater Inspiration than could be found anywhere else, Christianity completes the Gothic subculture and gives it substance and beauty that it could never have on its own. But I believe that God has drawn lost and broken children from the gloom of the Gothic subculture and given us light and hope to glorify His name in a way that no one else can. As the Gothic subculture needs Christianity, likewise the Christian church needs the Gothic subculture.
I pray that this is helpful to Gothic Christians and non-gothic Christians alike. Thank you ChristianGgoth.com for all that you do. And I would like to thank everyone who took the time to share their perspectives. God bless and Soli Deo Gloria!
Joey M.~ I got saved at the age 13 years old, I was moved by Gods love and wanted to know more and more about Him. I soon started going to a friends church and loved it. It wasn't until I was 16 when I, how I say it, "turned." I noticed that I started wearing all black, I started writing a lot of dark poems, my writing in my Creative Writing Class started becoming darker and darker, not wanting to be popular in High school and always feel a nice peace in cemeteries. Yes I know Hipster Goth but I really do find peace in a cemetery; heck that's where I practiced driving to get my drivers license.
After seeing all of this I did some research and I found out about "Goth," I noticed my changes and came tot he conclusion on being a Goth. I did some more research on it and wondered, "Can Christians Be Goth?" So one night I looked it up and I found ChristianGoth.com. I am now, at time of writing this 5/8/14, 19 years old, I paint my nails black, wear all black, like dark stuff but I'm still myself, I'm me, I'm not a copy, I am an Original. I am a Cyber Goth DJ with a love of God and Electronic Music.
Goth is a life style to me. Its my style on clothes and my writing. People see me wearing all black, black painted nails, headphones on and probably think hasty things about me and the people that know me, know that even though I am Goth I'm not someone to be afraid of. I love anime, I love manga, I love Videogames, I still watch cartoons like SpongeBob, Fairly Odd Parents, and even a fan of Regular Show and Adventure Time. I am a Goth, I love going to church, being closer to God but I'm still myself. Being Goth isn't about depression or evil things. It's a way of life, a darker one but still a life. When I go into gas stations to get an Icee and they say, "Thank you have a nice day." I reply, "Thank you very much, you too," with a smile.
It's a way of life, it's who you are. Someone that doesn't go towards what's cool but finds what they find cool. Goths Pray and Worship the same as anyone else in the church It's just weird, specially if your new to that church, to see black nailed hands in the air worshiping God in all black. Its weird, but weird is cool.
From Mark ~ Indeed there still is a large misconception among mainstream Christians that one cannot be both a Christian and a Goth. This is due to both misinformation about Goth culture by the media and misinterpretations about what Goth represents. Many Christians believe Goth is a religion; it is not. It is a music-based subculture, ultimately no different than hip-hop, country music, or dance music scenes. Most Christians have no problem accepting the fact that a country or hip-hop enthusiast can also be Christian but seem to have trouble with Goths, punks, metalheads, and other “dark” subcultures. I believe this is due to a struggle in understanding the difference between physical and spiritual darkness. This interpretation isn't limited to just Christians; in fact our entire culture seems to emphasize the dichotomy between physical “light” and “dark” as symbolic of good and evil. Many villains in movies always wear black, and darkness in cinematography (and other forms of media) is often used to create an emotional sense of fear or despair. Added to the fact that Goths are often portrayed as antagonistic characters in movies, television shows, books, and advertisements, this lends itself to the belief that those who carry a dark outward appearance must be evil within. At the core, the misinterpretation about Goth culture lies in its supposed symbolism. It reminds me of when my mother noticed a dragon necklace I was wearing and asked me what it symbolized. I replied, “It symbolizes a dragon...” What Goth culture actually does symbolize is entirely up to the individual Goth, so it's unfair to say that ALL Goths use their appearance to symbolize one thing in particular because every Goth has a different story to tell.
A second common argument I hear is “What a person wears on the outside reflects what's on the inside.” This can be true in many cases, but not always. Some people like wearing all black simply because they are stylistically attracted to it and nothing else. Many Goths dress the part simply because they like the music and fashion. In other cases, it can indeed serve as an expression of emotional pain and grief. Just as black is commonly worn to funerals, dressing in a Goth style may be a way of “mourning” certain aspects of the human existence, be it rejection, the loss of a loved one, or the state of the world in general (Johnny Cash's “The Man in Black” comes to mind). However, none of this is evil or sinful. It is natural for humans to feel sad or mournful about certain elements of life. Even Jesus felt emotional pain and grief. To say that everything in life is wonderful all the time is simply delusional, and Goth culture is an honest, artistic, and creative way of recognizing and acknowledging deep emotions that we as humans feel. Therefore, it is possible to be both a Christian and a Goth because a dark outward appearance does not by default translate to spiritual darkness within, and the artistic expression of deeper human emotions such as grief and sadness is not sinful by nature. In fact, it is part of being human but has unfortunately been repressed in our culture.
|Veggie Cat~ I realized I was Goth about a year before I accepted Christ as my savior. I'd been raised in a Christian home, but over the years I saw and experienced some things that made me question what I'd been raised to believe. Instead of rebelling through my lifestyle like some of my friends had I just got really angry at God. It came to a point where the only emotion I could ever truly experience anymore was that intense anger. Because of that I began to go through some pretty rough spiritual warfare in my life. Eventually, through the work of the Holy Spirit, I reached a breaking point where I realized that I was either going to spend my whole life sinking deeper into the emotional and spiritual hole that I'd dug for myself or I was going to let go of my pride and give God a chance to save me. After accepting Christ my passion for finding beauty within "dark" things only grew. God saw the beauty and potential within me when I was shrouded in darkness, so every time I can find peace in a cemetery or beauty in black candles and velvet I am reminded of His grace. I've always been interested in off-beat things that many people may find creepy. God made me with my interests, so I feel the most connected to Him when I am also connected to the passions and interests that He's blessed me with. Some might say that I am preoccupied with death, but I'm not. I'm preoccupied with finding the glory of my Father in places that people don't normally look for it, and anticipating the day when I can finally thank Him in person for loving and saving me.|
Howling Night-dweller~ Lisa Cervoni puts it well. 'I think we Christians should really stop judging what we see on the outside but rather get interested in the heart of a person.' Black is beautiful and I find it calming just to sit around in a dark room. Many people told me already that I should start wearing some bright colors for a variety of reasons, be it either that they just do not like black or that they find that I would shine the light of Jesus better if I wore bright things. And that in my opinion is superficial BS. If our faith is based on things we see on the outside, it's no more than a trend that will pass away and have no solidity whatsoever. And I believe that the enemy likes to deceive by appearances...
I became a Goth long after I gave my life to Christ. Never fit into the main stream culture, and always felt like a misfit. I was drawn to several of the Goths who came to my church, but I was told they were "devil worshipers" so just admired from a far. Then when I was 18, I went on a mission trip with several other churches, and 3 of the strong Christian young women were Christian Goths. This got me searching for myself, and I learned from ChristianGoth.Com back in 2001 that is was ok to be Christian and Goth.
To me Goth is seeing beauty in the midst of a dark and dying world, and being Christian Goth, is seeking to help others see God's beauty and hope in the midst of a dark and dying world. I strive for this both in my daily walk, and the missions work I do in Dine Bikeyah.
~ MMorria N.
Kingdom Freaks: I've always loved the gothic sub
culture since teenager many moons ago. Many may not
see me as goth cause I'm not permanently wearing
black, paint my face or nail and have long black
hair. And if that is the only way you identify a
goth, you are sadly mistaken.
Sew Sally Sew~ Jesus was an outcast. He was not apart of mainstream Jewish society.. He went against everything the religious leaders of His day stood for. He went against the flow.. He did not care what they thought but what His Father thought... He fought for the outcast, the sinner, the unloved...Did He agree with everything the sinner was about?? NO.. but He loved them.. He wanted them to be a part of His kingdom and He died for us.. the outcast.. the unloved.. the lonely.. the sinner....to change us as He wants us to be.. I love goths.. i love how bold you are.. I love how you are not afraid..I love that I am apart of you... Jesus loves us.. does not matter how we look..
Oh btw.. John the Baptist wore camel's hair and ate locust and wild honey and never shaved.. he was an outcast too. he got beheaded... What did the apostle Paul say, Colossians 2:16-Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come: the reality however, is found in Christ.
By Khrys "Tofer" Robin~
People ask me about my attire all the time. Perhaps I should explain some. I dress like Alice Cooper met Johnny Cash. (More on Johnny later.) I typically have a suit on. But also a massive wallet chain, scary dark rings, a cross necklace you could stab someone with, and guy-liner. I also wear a top hat or bandana depending on my mood. I'm a fan of gaming, metal and cigars. While I am not a big talker, I am more comfortable texting or chatting or instant messaging. But it wasn't like this. Unlike Stephanie Gaga, I wasn't born this way. I wasn't even born again this way.
My dad was in the navy till I was bout 8. We moved around some when I was a kid. When he quit and we lived in Maryland for less than a year. Then we moved to Missouri. I guess I didn't really try to fit in cause I thought we would move again. That turned into me not feeling like I fit in the longer we stayed here. I tried some in High School, but became known to everyone but not really known to anyone. The one constant I knew I always had was church. While it was in my head it was far from my heart. I went to church but wasn't a Christian. Not till I got saved my sophomore year. Even then, it took me till I was in college to live it out.
During that time, I had a job and started buying my own clothes instead of my parents buying them or getting my brothers old clothes. It was during this time I discovered metal and started wearing more punk and goth stuff. I couldn't explain it, it just felt right. I think it was one mission trip I was on (I have been on many) I donated all of my non all black clothes. But despite my attire and my freaky friends I never lost my faith. So much so I had the nickname of Preacher by the mall rats. I was blessed to be a part of a church that was goth/biker friendly. While I did several mission trips and conferences and was involved with churchy stuff, I never quite fit in with a lot of Christians. I knew I was accepted by them, just didn't feel like I fit the mold. Few of my Christian friends liked what I did...metal, comics, games, even CCGs. As I started growing up and taking leadership roles in the church, I realized my attire had to change. Imagine wearing fishnets and spikes and chains and teaching high school Sunday school. It made several parents uncomfortable to leave their kids with me. The kids, thought it was cool. So I decided to still wear all black but dress more presentable. That is where the Johnny Cash look came into play.
Ever listen to his song "Man in Black"? Go listen to it. Find the One Bad Pig version if ya want a more metal rendition. That sums up why I still dress like this. In the video for " Gods Gonna Cut You Down" someone says "Johnny always wore black because he related to the...downtrodden." Funny thing is, Christ related to them as well. I could end with that. We need to keep in mind the ones who are hurting. I think it is ironic that people question ones faith based solely on their appearance, especially in the metal scene. We are never surprised that preps, gangsters or jocks are Christians. We never ask them why they dress like that and are a Christian. But a goth, metalhead, punk or biker, we seem to be taken by surprise when they are of the faith. People do a double take when they hear I am currently in Bible College. Or when they find out what I have done as far as "works." I won't brag bout everything I have done, this isn't the time nor place for my resume. But I will never get over how shocked people are when they find out I am a Christian. Or even when someone stands up for me because someone else made a judgement based on my looks. I'd like to offer some hope to those who are reading this and feel like they are outcasts. People will judge you initially based on your looks. I'm sorry, but it happens. Its not right and I dislike that they do that. But it does get better as you get older. At least it has for me. My encouragement to you is what Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12. Be an example to fellow believers. Because people may make a first opinion of you on your looks, but they probably won't keep that mindset once they get to know you, once they see who you are in Christ and the life you live for Him. I have gotten jokes about my attire to this day. But I have also gotten apologies from people who misjudged me. And my friends who do tease me some, I know it is just done in friendship. And I feel I am judged solely on my looks a lot less than I was when I was younger. Take the criticism in stride and understand that it is because they don't know the person you are. So show them and stop their tongue. Who knows, they may think twice before doing it again to someone else.
John ~ I'm a Catholic Christian, but have always liked the dark side of life, for i've seen many contradictions in life & was picked on in school ( fell between the cracks so 2 speak ). Hid my pain via drinking & learned from a very young age what someone says is not always what's in the heart, I could feel those who hated me before they started picking on me. I worked @ my church but never went 2 Mass. I drank in the boiler room @ night & even thought about ending my life. My heart went out 2 those who were picked on/dumped on my others, I felt their pain & knowing how I felt I could identify & it angered me ( in a loving way ). I remember having both middle fingers up 2 the world, I felt for those who were hurt but couldn't/didn't know how 2 let people in. I remember when I first met Jesus, not what this world says he is. I found a 3hr VHS video called "King Of Kings" & the sermon on the Mt WOW !!! someone said "I'm a camel driver who can I call neighbor ?" Jesus said He whom you show compassion to weather you know him or not. That floored me, I dropped like a rock on the floor crying like a baby & I NEW I FOUND THE TRUTH, I FOUND REAL UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. I've always loved rock music Skid Row/Motley Crew & others. While watching VH 1's behind the music of Motley Crew & all their wild party's/girls a random thought entered my mind, that of the movie "Jesus of Nazareth" When Jesus went to Matthew's house a tax collector ( tax collectors were forbidden to enter the Temple & those who hung out with them were as defiled as they were ). James rebuked Jesus saying if u go the whole town will abandon you, their Godless people ( who lived much like Motley Crew ) Jesus turned to James & said the heart of the law is mercy & they might enter the Kingdom before you. And Jesus told the story of the son who left his house & lived a wild life then came back asking for forgiveness & knew ( in my heart ) that was Jesus speaking/teaching me in today's world. I have my style that's not mainstream, wearing studs black shirts/rock band shirts/shirts w/skulls & have been laughed at by the "normal" folks. Every encounter i've had after talking with others & looking back, what I shared was a mirror image of what Jesus shared in his teachings in his day. I embrace both light & dark of life & learn from Jesus' life, how he lived/loved/forgave & shared with others & strive to be open to the Holy Spirit's teachings so that Jesus will b able to live through me here now, i've also learned not to force our faith on others but show it to them by the way we live & love.
Jeffrey~ First of all thank you so much for the work you do on your web site. God has used it as an important tool in shaping me into the Christian I am today. Why I am Christian, and still Goth. My greatest role model in life has always been my father. He is a devout Christian with an amazing amount of love for others. Once when I was very young he told me the story of a prayer he prayed during his teenage years. He asked God to give him a heart for the broken. I remembered that story, and grew up seeing the evidence that God had answer that prayer. When I was in middle school I made the decision to pray that prayer as well. Not knowing what it would lead to later in life, but knowing that I wanted to have the same heart for broken people that my dad did. Following this prayer was a move to a new area, and four difficult years of high school. I saw every Christian friend I had made at the new school fall away from their faith, and the breaking of my heart began. I made new friends during that time though. Outcasts who didn’t fit in the social structure -these were the people that I came to love. It wasn’t until after high school though that God specifically placed Goths on my heart. Up until this point I was not a Goth myself. I was fascinated by them though. I loved the idea of Goth. I idealized it in my mind to some extent, but I didn’t allow myself to participate. I like many others thought Christian and Goth needed to be separate almost like light and dark. God didn’t agree with me though, and he got my attention one night with an especially vivid prophetic dream. In this dream I was attempting to murder a Gothic girl, who I loved, with a ball point pen. I didn’t want to do it, but she wanted to die. We both understood that for whatever reason her life should not go on. It was with tear filled eyes I was helping her to end it. She didn’t die though. I ended up calling an ambulance, and her life was saved. Over the following few days I couldn’t get that dream out of my head. It was during that time, through prayer, that God revealed to me the meaning of the dream. I was being called to a specific people, and for a long time I was trying to resist it. He wanted me to stop resisting that calling, and to let my heart be broken for his Gothic children. When I was a young man I asked God to give me a heart for the broken. I thought I knew what that meant, but I really had no idea. God broke my heart and re-made it into one that saw beauty in dark things. God molded me into a Goth because he wanted me to help him form a flock of black sheep. I have walked happily in that calling ever since.
"Spike" S.~ I guess it all started way back
when I was a kid, I've always liked the darker
things. Skulls, vampires, zombies, heck, back in the
mid 90's Power Rangers was the big show for us boys.
Everyone was fighting over who would be the Red
Ranger and I choose the Black one because his suit
was cooler lol. (But everything changed when the
green ranger attacked...) ANYWAY, Halloween was
always my favorite holiday, I was the only kid I
knew who could even sit through Poltergeist... But I
never knew why I liked all of that and it was
because of those interests, I could feel that people
didn't really get me. Fast forward to high school, I
was saved at the age of 13, but still didn't feel
like I fit in with the people around me. Yes we
believed the same things, but I still felt
Well, while in High School, I discovered the Goth crowd. Their clothes, demeanor, even some of their music (ended up more metal head than "Goth" musically), but most of all, they were people I could relate with. They had the same interests, though the same way as I did even expressed themselves in ways that I understood and reciprocated that understanding when I expressed myself. But there was something missing. Most of those young people I met, were Wiccan, if not Agnostic/Atheist. That bothered me.
I couldn't wrap my head around what they believed. How could I have so much in common with these people, but still be so different?
So I looked up what it meant to be Gothic and what it meant to be a Christian. I knew more or less all of what I found about being a Christian already. But the multitude of facts about being Gothic nearly overwhelmed me. Then I found one web site. A web site that spoke to me on both levels. It inspired me to take up my black flag and lantern and venture on into the darkness. All the while bringing God's message and love with me, to share to others. Something that I knew my fellow churchgoers frowned upon. Many of them knew of my dark dress and macabre humor, but like most others, they believed it to be a phase like most High school goth/emo/scene peoples.
But I was determined to prove that I was both a Christian but also a "true" Goth. (if such a thing exists mind you.) To this day, I still have the darkest sense of taste and humor of my entire family. But I am also just as much a believer in the teachings of Jesus and God as I ever was. I started a page on FB to find more like minded people and currently have nearly 300 page likes in just a year.
BTW, that web site I found all those years ago, was none other than this one. ChristianGoth.com.
Thank you for showing me that people like me are not an anomaly.
|Jamie B~ I accepted Christ in 1992 and went Goth in 2002 hehe. What you wear, what you listen too, and what you like does not look into the heart of the person. On the outside my Gothness may look like darkness but, in the heart is light.|
Bill F.~ I have been a Goth since I was about 12, a Christian since I was 20, I felt my interest in dark things was wrong for a long time and I kept it hidden, but it was still the way I looked at the world. People always asked why I always wore nothing but black, even though I never even herd of Goth that is what I was. Can you imagine how nice it was to find others like me, Christians and Goth and realize I was not alone.
Krystyna C.~ I'm not necessarily
Goth - I've been described as a crust punk goth...
but I will answer anyway to add some diversity :)
I was punk before I was a Christian, went through various phases of trying to be normal when I was a Christian (mainly outer appearance). Inside of me, it was always darker and more artistic. I was musically and artistically inclined. My father drove hearses for his career, and had me watching horror movies at a young age. This was our only bond. He was emotionally distant. My mother was overly affectionate - to the point that she was sexually abusive. None of this changed when I was a Christian. In the church, nobody knew these things, and in fact, I didn't realize some of it until recently. I identified with the darker things, and saw beauty in it even. I have always seen such peace in the night, solace, beauty. I can relate to the art, and it's a way of expressing what's inside of me without harming anybody, it's a way of being honest, of showing who I am, without having to say it.
As far as staying in the scene when I became a Christian- God created these things: night, bats, etc. Skeletons are in all of our bodies, it's science, anatomy. It's beauty. I see the beauty in things people look past, or in things people are afraid of. God gave us the moon and the stars, why not celebrate it and embrace it?
As far as the music - I identify with it. I like the moods. I like the lyrics. There are different reasons for each band, each type of music. Music doesn't draw me away from God. If I just listen to Christian music, I feel fake.
Why do I wear black all (most?) of the time? Because of all the sadness in the world. or simply because I love the color. It depends on the day.
Nicoletta L.~ I've always been Christian, and I've always been Goth. Literally, since I was born. (Although I'm not the typical Goth, and I'm not the typical Christian.) Both have always been a part of who I am as a person. And how could anyone be anything other than "who they are"?
Sharmaine~ I actually began identifying with Gothic Subculture at the age of fifteen. At the time, I wasn't very Christian back then nor was I very religious in any aspect. I was simply unaffiliated at the time.
As a child I didn't have any dark inclinations, I played with barbies and indulged in old school roleplaying games on the Playstation and PC. Suffice to say, I grew up quite ordinary. Growing up with two siblings with mental handicaps (Severe case of Autism and Severe case of Social Anxiety), I never quite had a normal childhood. Much of the time I was expected to be mature and I understood sadness and loneliness quite well. Borne out of the frustrations from being pressured to be the "perfect" "couldn't do wrong" child, I had developed a low self esteem. I judged myself in all situations in a negative light. I couldn't accept who I was and I couldn't understand why I couldn't be like all the other children. I never had the time to fool around. My parents were raised in a militaristic style back in the social norm of the Philippines. Where crime and poverty ran rampant, fun was sacrificed and taking care of the family was always the first priority. Similarly, I have grown accustomed to this yet this was also taught to me with very little love.
I never suffered at the hands of physical abuse. But mentally, I was filled with awful sad thoughts questioning society. My parents created this social divide between Asian culture and American culture. This came with many stereotypes...much of which I didn't particularly agree with. Growing up as a kid, adults pass on judgments and those judgments grow with you. You fear certain people because of stereotypes. I actually had a friend when I was thirteen whom I met through MMORPGS...so online video gaming. He told me he identified with being Goth long ago. He didn't stick with it for personal reasons. After asking him about Goths, I became interested in who they were and what they did. Before even researching Gothic Subculture, I did online video gaming. I was so lonely. I never believed in myself. I wrote the darkest poems. They were filled with so much horror and sadness. I grew up in California my whole life. I never imagined that I would be friends with people who lived in the UK, Sweden, Canada, the Middle East, and several states within America. These people were all different. They all came from different backgrounds. I was friends with people who were 30, in their 20's, and people who were mostly in high school. I became increasingly aware of people of all social backgrounds, ethnic backgrounds, and interests. These twenty or so people were my salvation. They believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. That propelled my interests in Gothic Subculture even more. It was mere interest how I found myself delving into the subculture. I surrounded myself with the fashion. I joined the communities like Goth.net...I watched videos on Youtube of Jillian Venters talking about Gothic Subculture. She described it in the most down to earth and welcoming way possible. To truly enjoy the community of Goths, you need to meet good people. Some people discourage you. Others encourage you. Goths consist of a wide and colorful spectrum of people that are never the same. Later that year after giving myself the strength to identify as Goth... I still was skeptic of who I was. I didn't lose the low self esteem. I fell in love with a guy in high school through an MMORPG called TERA. We shared these family experiences that hurt us growing up. Together we manifested more sadness. After he flew from the state of Maine to California for three days on the week of my birthday...giving me the happiest day of my life, we broke up a month later. He couldn't help but struggle with his personality disorder and how others treated him with disdain. I was beside myself because he was my first boyfriend at the time. But the hysteria of losing such an amazing love and his being upset with me being Goth, Christian, and of low self esteem made me go through a stage of metamorphosis. I didn't want to give up being Goth because of his opinion or my parent's firm dislike and lack of understanding for the subculture. I didn't really understand what it meant to be Christian. I decided that I wanted to respect myself and love myself for who I am and who I made myself to be. I had a revelation after much contemplating on my low self esteem. I had the sudden urge to pick up the bible which I NEVER had any want to pick up previously. Before that, going to Church was hindrance to every other thing I wanted to do in my life. Back then, I never knew the meaning of real love. When I picked up the bible, I read and read and read. I was beside myself, astonished that I didn't want to put the Bible down. After all, I spend most of my day playing video games and never read books aside from Scotland and regency romances. I hit key verses in the Bible, spanning much of the New Testament: John, Luke, Matthew, and Revelations. I had very peculiar dreams before all this a year before it all happened. I had dreams about caves and trials and a gate to paradise locked from me blocked by a chain link fence surrounding a school yard built much like a dirty filled prison yard. Under the judgment of peers whom didn't believe in the Lord, in the son, Jesus Christ. Most of the time dreams reveal fears but other times it reveals the deep recesses of your mind. Anyway, after reading much of the New Testament, I felt myself emanate an aura of happiness. My cheeks blush profusely, my eyes felt clear like water and light as air, the corners of my mouth was turned up to a joyful smile. I no longer hated myself too. Before, the words of hatred of myself and the entire world crashed around me splitting me between wanting to love and wanting to burn with jealousy and hatred. At the time, I didn't have a good relationship with my parents. After years of being ignored and commanded like a meaningless child, I shouted with joy.
"I feel so happy and I can't explain it! I read the Bible and it was like all my troubles went away!" They didn't understand. They still believed I was that child that I was back then. Resentful and full of spite and sadness. I did chores around the house with a grin on my face. I became a child that did things with purpose and love though I wasn't given any love at the time. Within weeks, they saw the change in me. They wanted to feel skeptical, but they couldn't ignore my sudden change in character. I quickly took to praying every morning and hacking away at the negative demons in my head cursing me and telling me I wasn't worthy of anything. It was hard. It was like a little light grew in me but I was surrounded by an enveloping darkness like a raging beast that did not want to be tamed. A month later, I committed myself to a church called Agape Community Baptist Church. The pastor is Caucasian with a small group of Christians that are of Philippines origin. The glowing feeling enveloped my slowly healing heart and I was baptized on the shore of a beach during Roshashana. I questioned whether I should have given up on being Gothic or Christian because I believed that they were too different. Yet I didn't. I did not give up either because Gothic Subculture is a mixing pot of different people just like Christians. They believe in many different things. What Gothic people have in common is a community of people who want to understand and accept each other. Christians are accepting to a certain degree. What I learn from being Christian is learning to love others that are different from you and welcoming them instead of pushing them away. Gothic Subculture revels in being peaceful although it contains lots of dark imagery. Goth people are imaginative but they are also very welcoming. Goths are protective of the community because it has given us a home to be ourselves. Even though Goths seem scary and intimidating and weird, they aren't intimidating at all. Most Goths tend to be some of the nicest and most accepting people you can know. Sure it can be weird for others to understand how dabbling in the light and having one foot of the darkness could ever work out. Sometimes you need to live in complete darkness to have the strength to find the light. And once you've found the light, you never forget the darkness you lived in before coming to the light. Then you begin to think of helping lost people find the light. Finding the strength to move past society prejudices, to believe in themselves... To be Christian and Goth, I realize you need a lot of strength. You can't give up when the going gets tough. In both groups there are skeptics along with other non-believers and judgmental people. These experiences and becoming Christian and Goth, I continue to believe myself and muster through any obstacles to show the world true love and kindness.
|Jamie~ before I was a Christian I was goth and now a Christian and still goth.. I just love the fashion. it has nothing to do with religion., you don't have to be into vampirism or be into witchcraft or Satanist to be gothic. in fact I use to witness to many who were satantist who were not gothic at all. they were either preppy or political people. If they are true satanist they hide it they don't show it. they (satanist) dress any way they like and don't say 'hey look at me I am a Satanist'...lol same thing for a witch. I knew a witch that I tried to bring to the Lord and she looked normal. they mostly wear cloaks and all that during a ritual or they wear nature stuff they weren't gothic at all. I went to high school and I knew a witch and she was preppy...lol Gothic, its just a fashion. Your beliefs have nothing to do with the way you look, besides spirit is spirit flesh is flesh. what does fashion have to do with your religion?? So I agree with you girl. Keep up the good work I am tried of stereotypes... that is all this is. I am here for you and God bless you|
Garrett B (AKA Ginger or Ging) 16~ My name is Garrett and I am a Nondenominational Christian Goth. I became or should say accepted that I am Gothic a month ago. Before I was saved I lived in Houston, Tx and I always knew I did not fit into the crowd and always had something different about me, even with my Gothic and Punk friends I was still different no matter how hard I tried, it bothered me so much and got worse when I moved back to my home town which is a small country town where everyone is either a Farmhand or full blown Redneck. When I moved back I went to church with my family joined the youth got saved at 14 year old heldback 7th grader and just tried to blend in to the crowd. It was easy at first but as the year progressed my Gothic Image began to slowly come out by my style of dress and music and in that type of environment it was hard to blend in. I did have friends that accepted me and where kind to me cause they where outcasts themselves so it sorta just worked out but i was picked on for my style of dress. I was called "Gothic" ( which is strange that it offended me) "Emo" or "Devil Worshiper" or something like that. To be honest I don't know why I was called that cause at the time I was trying to look like everyone else but it was something inside me that let people know I was different.
My 8th grade year came around at that's when I was starting to open up some dressing how I wanted and not care what other people thought about me but was still picked on by a few kids. I was just beginning my walk with Christ and I had thought by that point I would have grown out of my "Goth Phase" but I didn't the more I grew in Christ the more Gothic I became. I was confused and Lost and went the entire year wondering how a Goth could be Christian it just didn't make since. My memory is fuzzy from my 8th grade year I had been hit in the head a few times in football and inner tubing with my youth, but I do know I secretly accepted i was Gothic and was ok with it. So I went the rest of my 8th grade year and summer and all through my Freshman year in full blown goth attire as the school code would allow ( No makeup and long hair or asseive piercings) and was fine with it no one bothered me. But I never said out loud I was a Gothic Christian until around January of this year after a weekend church camp and even after that I only told very few of my friends including my girlfriend who is Gothic to.
Now here's where I want people to pay attention to the most cause this is my final point and is where my life is now. This past summer for some reason I just finally said "God I accept who you made me to be I am Gothic and Christian and you have made me beautiful in my own dark way. You gave me a heart,soul and mind of a Goth. I am your creation and use me in the way you attend for me." After that I opened up, I started a Ifunny page called "Christian_Goth_Warrior" where I became a example of how God uses everyone in his own special way. I struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts for years and finally came to grasp that our Lord puts us through things so we can understand them and help others who cant find the way. I became a outlet for depressed and broken people who longed for Gods word and wanted to understand. This July i went to a camp where I was fully exposed to Gods love and compassion for all people. I learned that week at camp that in order to Follow Christ you must first proclaim you are his Be His, next you have to Be Last, humble yourself before God, Be Bold stand out for who God made you and who you are. That day Be Bold I was broken before God and stared sharing my Story and confessing to people I only knew a few days and complete strangers that " Hey I'm a Gothic Christian" and they were so excited about it. Students and Staff were fascinated how I (with support from y'all and studying Gods word before i went out and explained and shouted out my faith and who I was) made something that is viewed as evil and bad in out world and made it something that Glorify's Christ. I even talked to the preacher and his wife about it and they where completely in awe and inspired by it so I spent that whole day being Bold and Brave enough to say who I was to strangers. Then came the Last day Be Real before God and don't hide behind a mask. That day was hard I still talked to others about Gothic Christianity and what it was and how it Glorified Christ but that day I decided to tell my Youth Group. People I spend alot of time with but never confessed I was Gothic. So the day went on as I thought about what I was gonna say I prayed and asked God what to say and what he told me made up my mind " Just say the truth" those few words stuck in my mind. Night rolled around and we were in our church group devotion in our private classrooms and we talked for awhile about the day and explained the lesson and at the end our Preacher asked ( note this is not our youth pastor we dont have one this is our Real deal Church preacher) anything anyone want to share. I stood up in front of him his wife a parent and a staff member and my youth and said "As y'all know this day was a powerful one many of us were broken before God and even experienced how Satan tries and stop the preaching of the Gospel ( the projector in the auditorium literately exploded and we almost had to cancel the worship service)" they nodded and joked some and let me continue, I said "Y'all see me at school and see how I dress 'Black shirts and pants leather jacket combat boots and alot of jewelry' and y'all probably already figured this out but I'm a Gothic, its how the Lord made me and I couldn't be happier." They just smiled and said "it wasn't hard to figure out and we don't care how you look you still a powerful Christian" when they said that relief just came over me and it felt great to tell them. So yeah that's my story you could say ummm I just want to tell whoever is reading this. No matter what you're going through God's there for you and he Loves you no matter what. Turn your life over to him and he will set you free. The Christian life is not easy it is the hardest thing you will ever do but its worth it and once you know that no matter what God will be there for you, Well the world just got a whole lot bigger.
Betty ~ I've always walked to the beat of my own drum. Recently, my Father watched the movie Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Upon seeing the character Luna Lovegood my Father looked at me and with a huge smile said, "Betty, that is SO you!". That's very true. I've always been artistic, sensitive, imaginative, and lost in my own daydreams.
I wouldn't say I "became goth". More so I was innately drawn to the Gothic subculture because of my Melancholic personality (as found in the Four Temperaments). It just naturally fit me. As a tween and teenager I was constantly frustrated because nothing seemed to appeal to me. During High School English our class studied Gothic literature and read classics such as Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. The introspective nature of this literary movement and the quality of the writing excited me. At that moment I finally found something that deeply resonated with me. Then I stumbled upon bands like The Cure, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and The Sisters of Mercy (which also were inspired by Gothic literature).
Why am I still Goth? I went through a period in my life where I asked deep questions about myself and my purpose. And with God's help he showed me who he made me to be. God showed me that my Melancholic personality was given to me for a purpose. That's why I'm still Goth. Being a Goth doesn't conflict at all with my relationship with Christ. Actually, the Gothic philosophy is in direct agreement with the scriptures. The Dark Romantic philosophy is defined as follows:
"As opposed to the perfectionist beliefs of Transcendentalism, the Dark Romantics emphasized human fallibility and proneness to sin and self-destruction, as well as the difficulties inherent in attempts at social reform. The Dark Romantics adapted images of anthropomorphized evil in the form of Satan, devils, ghosts, werewolves, vampires, and ghouls as more telling guides to man's inherent nature."
Goth isn't about darkness, dressing in all black, being morbid, horror movies, or vampires. It's about mourning darkness and the fall of society. Goth actually is about light. Since this is represented in such an unconventional way many people entirely miss the point (some Goths included). Sadly, this message has been buried by the Enemy. It was buried because there's power in this message. The message of sorrow is maligned by the secular world and Christian world alike because it's ugly on the outside. But, many miss the light and beauty at it's core. In the past 16 years I've seen the Goth subculture shift to celebrating darkness instead of mourning it and this concerns me. The enemy is working hard to silence this profound revelation and calling from God! Therefore, I believe God has called us Christian Goths to sing the sorrow of this world. Through our art, music, and poetry this world will feel God's healing of their wounds and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
In the last 5 years or so I've distanced myself from the Goth scene. I've found that I just can't relate to today's Goths. This shift in the subculture has completely distanced it from the philosophy that defined it. And it has sucked out all of the romance and elegance that drew me to Goth in the first place. These days being a Christian Goth is difficult because both worlds reject you. The Christian community tends to offhandedly make assumptions about your interests and therefore will push you away. Then Goths will reject you because many are deeply steeped in the occult and the Enemy of their souls hates the light of Christ in you. But, I am still a Goth because God has made me who I am for a purpose. To change would go against his sovereign plan. As the Bible says, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it". Walking this path is very lonely at times. But, I take strength in the knowledge that I am doing the Father's will.
If the woman from Lady Michaela's church visits this webpage please read the links I have provided below. They all describe the Gothic philosophy in such beautiful words. I hope it gives you a better understanding.
- Nick Cave on "Saudade"
- Defining the Melancholic Temperament
- Receiving yourself in the Fires of Sorrow by Oswald Chambers
- Blessed Are Those Who Mourn
HOW CAN A CHRISTIAN BE A GOTH?
I have some issues with this question. Almost every Christian Goth, at some point, will be asked to address it, so I will. First I’d like to respond with a very personal observation. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an attraction to the gothic. I love it. I find it beautiful and safe. I would be gothic for this reason alone but there is more to my story than that.
I have struggled with clinical depression for most of my life. That is not to say that all gothic people do, but, for me, embracing Goth was the single, most therapeutic thing I’ve ever done. I have been to therapists and I’ve taken many anti-depressant medications but nothing ever relieved my symptoms. I finally stopped trying to be a person I’m not and let the darkness come out. It was cathartic, therapeutic and I’m happy and joyful because of it. Sure I look gloomy, but I’d rather have the gloom on the outside than on the inside.
Discovering gothic culture and those that embrace it was like finding a family I never knew I had. Growing up gothic was like being a bird in a squirrel’s world. It was one of the happiest days of my life when I finally discovered other birds and realized I wasn’t the only one.
Now, with personal reflections aside, let me address the broader issue of Christianity and gothic culture. This question tends to imply that there is something wrong with being Goth. As I disagree, I might find answering this question difficult. It’s like being asked to defend the reason why I wear a size small shirt. The obvious answer is, “it fits.” Ultimately this is the same answer I must give to the question “how” or “why” are you Goth: it fits.
Perhaps a better question is how can a Christian be a conformist to any standard other than the one God called him or her to?
The culture or subculture to which one belongs does not make them either acceptable or abhorrent to God. There may be elements of the culture that run contrary to or may reflect positively on the value system represented in the scriptures. For example, in the mainstream Christian community as it exists in America today, some middle-class Christians think nothing of indulging in expensive homes, clothes, cars, luxury items, etc. In fact, some believe they are entitled to such things.
I’m not trying to berate mainstream Christian culture. Instead, I’m trying to point out that cultures are as imperfect as people are. We all have flaws. Instead of focusing on the flaws, why not focus on the contribution:
Goth inspires awe and wonder.
Gothic culture is much older than the modern Goth underground movement. If you look for it, you will find it everywhere—reflected, perhaps, in the church building you worship in.
Goth can open our eyes to the beauty in sorrow or the elegance in darkness.
A close association with the darker side of life will increase one’s appreciation for the light of God, the way eating a strict diet will increase one’s sensory experience of food. It will heighten sensitivity; it will make one more aware not less. In short, it will increase sensitivity and awareness of the spirit world.
Goths have a different perception of beauty than mainstream culture does: different, not better nor worse. Gothic beauty invokes awe. It puts us in touch with the magnificence of God, His utter transcendence and the limitless depths of our own supernatural, eternal existence.
Goth reminds the mainstream that there is more to life than the material and we are more than material beings.
Goth reminds us to be outraged at oppression and hatred.
Goth encourages everyone to come out from behind the mask and let Him mature His unique expression in each person.
God calls His remnant from every culture and subculture and wants that remnant to faithfully represent Him to their culture.
Goth is a counter-cultural movement. In many ways, Jesus was counter-culture. He swam against the mainstream and was persecuted for it.
This is what others have said:
“God offends the mind to reveal the heart.” – Author Unknown
“Goth culture is a movement embracing the romanticism of darkness and the outcast persona…it is a statement against what was seen as the oppressive, materialistic, and superficial values of mainstream society…Goths are usually gentle people with artistic and literary tastes. Sometimes their deliberate off-putting look is a test to see who will accept them for what they really are…we should not assume that all in the Goth subculture are damaged. They search for the authentic, not the plastic, intimacy, not the grandiose. They are sensitive to artificial and superficial social behaviors.” – Marcia Montenegro
“Goth is the ability to find the art where art seems to be lacking; to find the light in the darkness and embrace it for all its worth.” – Jennifer Mason
“Goth unashamedly celebrates the dark recesses of the human psyche…many people lead unhappy, unachieved lives. And that’s sad. Goth makes depression and angst a lifestyle choice and that’s art…Goth is about living precisely when suicide is the only reasonable option.” – Unknown Author
“I could not adapt to the cookie-cutter Christian model…Being Goth to me is also being real with myself, real with others, and real with God…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…If I were to be anything but gothic in my views, I would be among the mask-wearing hypocrites.” – Pastor Ed Carter of Sanctuary
Think of it this way:
“If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin,” – 1st John 1:7
Walking in the light is not rejecting darkness nor those in dark culture; it is honesty. Taken this way, a Goth is walking in the light and a mask-wearing hypocrite is walking in darkness. Kind of ironic, isn’t it?
You don’t need to conform to someone else’s cultural standards to be a Christian. God loves diversity. He made diversity. God wants you to know that you are highly valued, loved, and appreciated for who you are.
I think Goths are creative, imaginative and courageous people. They tend to present the uncensored truth, not hypocrisies or lies. But, truth can frighten. That is why we must speak the truth in love. We must show love when we are shown hatred. We must understand when we are misunderstood. We must follow our Master’s example in all we say and do. Always remember that His example was one of courage as He lovingly fought against the hypocrisy of His mainstream culture.
If Goth is who you really are and not just some fiction you are hiding behind, then Goth will set you free. Truth is liberating, just as lying and hypocrisy are enslaving.
Goth is not a fad. For some it may be. For others it may be a temporary stop along the journey home. But for the vast majority of long-term Goths it is a part of our personality, our very being. It is an outlook on life, a point of view, or a value system and we are here to celebrate it.
- David Dellman