I don’t know if I’ve told this story before, but I was listening to the debut album of the Christian rock band Bleach, and it reminded me of one of my more embarrassing memories. So, story time!
This was in the fall of my sophomore or junior year of college. My friend Mike was a youth intern at his church, and they were getting ready to have a youth group lock-in at the church. Mike had recruited some of us to volunteer for the event, and he and some of the guys were going to play worship music and a few Christian rock songs–ya know, typical 90’s youth-group shenanigans. They were in the dorm a few days prior, practicing down the hall, and I wandered over to check out what was going on.
One of the songs on their list was Bleach’s track, “Super Good Feeling.” Mike was playing lead guitar and singing, and in my (arrogant) opinion, I didn’t think he sounded that great. So I said, “Hey man, I’m an okay singer–how about for this one I can sing lead vocals so you can just play guitar?” For some reason, he agreed, and we practiced it a few times with me reading off of his lyrics sheet. I came away from that afternoon feeling pretty good about myself. I was ready for my moment to shine.
The day of the lock-in arrived. We got set up at the church, and I assured him that I was ready to go. Not too long after the pizza had been scarfed and the band had warmed up, the moment came, and I stepped behind the microphone, looking out at a few dozen high schoolers waiting for the rock to commence.
I forgot every single word of the first verse.
I mumbled through the chorus. I stammered and then just gave up during the second verse. Mike and the others gamely tried to carry the vocals through the second chorus and bridge, but it was a disaster.
I stood behind that microphone for the longest 3 and a half minutes of my collegiate life.
As soon as the song was over, I walked to the back of the room, red-faced and fighting back tears. I immediately felt like an arrogant fool. What was I thinking? Proverbs 16:18 flashed in my mind: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” It was as if God decided that I just needed to go ahead and tank this one for my own good.
Later on, after his devotional talk, Mike asked for volunteers to come up and share “testimonies.” I made my way back up to the microphone and basically did my best to turn the whole incident into an object lesson about pride and seeking our own glory instead of God’s. One kid even came up later and thanked me for saying something. So, in the end, some shred of good came out of it, I guess?
But to this day, the band Bleach brings to mind that ridiculous moment in my life.
Maybe another takeaway, looking back, is this: “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” (Proverbs 27:2)
By the way, here’s the lyrically complex and spiritually deep track in question: