John 3:16 "...for God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life."
"Gothic", as in "Gothic architecture" used to refer to "medieval architecture", or the Dark Ages with its barbaric tribes of Goths and Visigoths spilling civilized blood in a quest for dominion. It was never a synonym for darkness (other than in the sense of "unenlightened"), horror or rebellion. While it is popular for revisionists to make connections that are not present to connect a current mode of thought back to a former one, "Gothic", in the way we are presently considering it, has a much more modern history, having sprung up in the Nineteenth Century. Horror begins the Gothic tale. Initially, one had to have a respect for, if not a belief in, the Christian faith for Gothic horror stories to mean anything. Gothic themes of light and darkness, heaven and hell, life and death, goodness and evil all came from the proposition that the former things were from God, and the rest was rebelliousness and chaos expressed. In fact, it was the use of faith and Christian symbolism that often drove the horrors away. A similar explanation exists for practitioners of Satanism—one has to believe in God in order to rebel over to Satan. This is why a true Pagan cannot be Satanic—one has to have the initial framework of Christianity to "convert" to a Satanic, or "adversarial", belief. And, in the 1800’s, the machine age was coming to life. Centuries of doing things much the same way as one’s father, grandfather and other predecessors was abruptly changing, with the feeling of chaos crashing into what had been a more humanistic lifestyle. The introduction of the mechanical affected Christian Europe profoundly, necessitating various ways of dealing with the changes. One way was to look into the heart of chaos and come away with an understanding of what was going on and how to adapt and change. It is not coincidental that major changes in religion, the concept of universality, the first rise of "accepted" magick within society via the magickal societies of the intellectual and the influential, and even horror fiction came to be. Each of these attempted to explain or allowed experimentation into those areas of darkness. Chaos as the incomprehensible was able to be swallowed in smaller, easily digested doses. So, what does all this have to do with Gothic Christianity? Due to prevailing attitudes in many modern day churches, there is the conception that one cannot be a Christian and be a Goth. This is patently untrue. If anything, the Born Again Christian Goth is more ready than someone with less emphatic beliefs to embrace the Gothic culture. Part of what makes being Gothic "Gothic" is a more conscious awareness of Life and Death. Generally, people walk around oblivious to the fact that death could occur at any moment, while those of the Gothic mindset think on these matters often. This should be even moreso the case with Christian Goths, who have an innate understanding of having been Born Again into Eternal Life through the acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. If darkness only comes into perspective when diffused by the light, how much more does life and death come into perspective with the concept of Eternal Life? The one, true thing that makes the Church ineffectual to reach people in this day and age is its death grip on outmoded concepts and the legalistic practices of arbitrary rules and regulations promoted by various sects and denominations. And, I might point out, NONE of those concepts, rules and regulations are Biblically sound. God didn’t make those rules, men did. Truthfully, the Christian is counseled to keep a watchful eye on things in the spiritual world, being prepared for every inroad that evil might take. This is part and parcel of Spiritual Warfare—being aware that there is, in deed, a "war" going on and knowing both one’s part in it as well as the outcome. Ephesians 6 is wholly about one’s preparedness. "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the LORD and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." (Verses 10-13, NJKV) The astute reader will recognize dialogue from "Bram Stoker’s Dracula" and even Stephen King’s The Stand from those verses. One will also notice that "followers of the Way" are never called upon to attack or stand against other human beings—"flesh and blood"—but only against the forces of darkness. So, where does that leave our Christian Goth, standing in the shadows of inky blackness and listening to dolorous music while expressing themselves through the various arts and sciences? Is there anything inherently "bad" or "wrong" about not wearing colours, preferring minour keys or being of a "darker mindset"? NO. These are merely choices, they are personal preferences and there is no "sin" or evil in them. The only confusion exists in the minds of people who have made the incorrect assumption that "dark" equals "evil". There’s a whole discussion of sin throughout the various Letters in the New Testament, which you can easily look up, but allow me to refer you to 1 Thessalonians 4-5. There’s one of many lists of things to avoid here, most of which you could guess right off: sexual immorality, lust, taking advantage of people, fraud...but nothing about what you wear, what you listen to or what you prefer...and the references to "darkness" are about ignorance, not factual darkness. We are called by God WHERE WE ARE. He demands that we be conscious of Him in all our dealings and to STAND and watch His victory in the world. There is an aggressive evangelist named Mario Murillo who refers to us as "the Lazarus Generation". God told him back in the Seventies to watch for us, because He would raise up "a generation from their ‘graves’, still dressed in their graveclothes." And Mr. Murillo knows that God meant the punkers, the Goths and the others, dressed in their leathers, their black drapery and their silver spikes and studs. He writes in his three books, Fresh Fire, Fresh Impact and I Am The Christian The Devil Warned You About of how God wants us where we are, to do what we’re called to do in the midst of our own milieu. "...That you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." (IBID) Can you enjoy stories about evil and vampires? Sure, go ahead. Can you listen to the music you love? Within reason, sure. Just be certain that the lyrics that are getting into your subconscious aren’t full of hate and fear, "...for God did not give you a Spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV) Remember, your subconscious mind takes in everything, without editing any of it. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Philippians 4:8) Is there something wrong with being interested in possession, vampires and ghouls? The fun answer is to remind you that you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and you partake of the Body and Blood of Christ at every Communion. This we do in remembrance of Him. For those who feel we have "an appearance of evil": Remember, the idea of wearing all that black being evil is a modern concept. It is not so. And about our "darkness" inside, I can only reply that it has been my experience that that inner "darkness" is where creativity springs forth. It is a function of the right side of the brain and it allows one to look where others might fear to tread. The Bible is full of examples of righteous religious leaders who would have been put on Prozac in this century, Moses and Jeremiah right in the forefront. Jeremiah the Prophet is my vote for "the Gothic Prophet", because he wept, he pleaded, he begged God for relief from all his misery, he didn’t want to be a prophet, he tread the path more or less alone. But God called him, just as he was, and he went out to deliver the Word of God. God created you just as you are. The Christian perspective of humility will amuse you. "...Therefore He says, ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the LORD, and He will lift you up." (James 4:6-10, NKJV) Which, of course, is not to say you cannot have a sense of humour—I feel it’s ESSENTIAL to have one!—but that lamentation, mourning, weeping and gloom are part of being humble. Or being Gothic. Therefore, Christian Goth, take heart! Despite what you are probably hearing in your home churches and fellowship groups, there is nothing wrong with who you are or where you are. Be encouraged and look for like-minded others. May God go with you!