The Fast and The Furious, Taylor Swift, and New Things

On May 24, 2013 America will welcome the release of Fast and Furious 6. That’s right, 6. They made six of them. Lots of people saw the fifth one and lots more will likely see number 6 if projections are accurate.

What can we say? We Americans like fast cars. And watching car wrecks. And Vin Diesel. Our tastes are predictable; they favor predictability. We like what we already like.

Take Taylor Swift for example. We like Taylor Swift because she’s the singer version of a franchise. Girl has made a mint writing the same perky break-up song ten times. We know the songs sound alike. That’s what we like about them.

I could go on and on with examples. It seems everywhere you look you see more of the same. Probably because the same is safe. The same sells.

But here’s the thing, when everything’s always the same, nothing’s new (Mind-blowing, right?). That’s a problem, though, because God likes new.

Just search the word “new” in your Bible app—see how often it comes up. Watch as God makes things new and makes new things. Listen as His people sing new songs and preach good news.

In Isaiah 43 God says, “See, I am doing a new thing!” 

Erwin McManus says we, those made in the image of God, can make new things because God makes new things, because we have access to the invisible and can scavenge it for never-before-seen parts.

I’m a fan of new.

Which is why I’m a fan of Taylor Swift’s song, “Trouble.” And of The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift. Bear with me.

The first time I heard “Trouble” I thought the verse was cute, predictable. A break-up song—shocker! I felt like I knew where it was going. But then the chorus kicked in—or I expected it to kick in. Instead, it dropped. Catching me completely off guard, the song fell into a deep, thumping bass. And for a moment before Swift swept in, I experienced something like weightlessness. 

This was something new. A surprise.

I felt almost exactly the same thing the first time I saw a car drift in The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift. I’m sure I saw the trailer before I saw the movie and likely the trailer is all anybody actually needs to see. It’s not a G-rated flick. 

In the trailer (the artist formerly known as Lil’) Bow Wow says, ”When you drift, if you ain’t outta control, you ain’t in control.” And when you watch a car completely out of control, perfectly synchronized with the car beside it, you can’t help but lose your breath. 

Who’d have thought a car could move like that? I had never seen anything like it.

I live for these moments, for startling, mesmerizing, bursts of creativity leaving me feeling weightless, explosions of God-mirroring innovation.

In summary: New things are exciting, God-harkening, and even the most predictable sources can sometimes stumble upon something altogether surprising.

We need more new things. We need more new things in church. If you think new is exciting in a movie about cars or in a song about a past crush, wait until you see what it looks like on Sunday morning or in print or in a conversation or in parenting. Wait until you see new in an African village or in a foster home or in a baptistery. 

A few weeks ago my husband Justin tried something new in the pulpit and while it was hardly revolutionary, it was deeply affecting. In embracing the “AND” nature of seemingly contradictory truths, he preached two back-to-back, unqualified sermons. During the week he talked about Jesus being both human and divine, he ended the first sermon with the words, “When the Romans executed him, he died. Because you can kill a human.” He ended the second with this: “When the Romans executed him he died, but he didn’t stay dead. Because you can’t kill God.” And when he said those words that way, I felt the weightlessness of the new.

Jesus says, “Behold, I am making all things new!” and so I go looking for the new things, knowing I’ll find him close by.