Me & Mylon

I know I’ve shared in the past some of my deep aversion for Prosperity theology, but let me relate the other side of this. Back in 1988 I was living near a little town in mid Missouri. I had just been really turned on to Jesus, with a serious salvation experience and some radical in-filling experiences with the Holy Spirit. My dad told me I nursed my Bible at the time like it was a teddy bear. He caught me running through the tall grass in front of our house, dancing in the Spirit, high on Jesus. When I came inside he asked me what I’d been doing. He said it was an embarrassment to him as he was sure the neighbors were watching. I’m sure he doesn’t remember any of this now. Anyway. . . .

With some friends I began a music video TV show on NLEC’s Christian TV station. One of the coolest music videos was from this band called Mylon and Broken Heart. Beginning with an interest in the videos I started buying Mylon albums every time they came out. Now you have to understand that when I listen to music I get nutso about it. That started here as a teenager. I memorized every note, every riff of the Mylon albums. (As I did with a ton of CCM music at the time. Keith Green had 24 hour nonstop play in my head. I got all his music on cassette for “whatever I could afford”— which was nothing. I wore every tape out to where they wouldn’t play anymore. My girlfriend’s dad made the remark that I could have easily started a local chapter for a KG cult!)

But Mylon was more than music to me. I subscribed to his letters. I was very lonely at 16 and a real struggler. So I wrote to Mylon Lefevre. And the wild thing was that he answered me personally. At first I couldn’t believe it was really him. I thought it was a stamp there instead of his signature. So I made each letter personal and asked specific questions. And he wrote back with specific answers. When Mylon and Broken Heart came to Columbia and Jefferson City, I made it to the concerts. Now Mylon was a real preacher in his concerts and he gave altar calls. So it was after a concert there in Jeff City that I went forward to recommit my life to Jesus again. I prayed with Mylon personally and just poured out my soul and asked all kinds of questions about what to do with my life and how to know if I was really following God’s will—questions nobody could possibly know given the circumstances. But in a wonderfully personable way Mylon very patiently prayed for me.

A few years later Mylon got out of Rock n Roll. You can read about it on his website. He did a mellow solo album which I don’t remember buying. I just read on a tribute site that while struggling with his heart condition he met up with Kenneth and Gloria Copeland. For over fifteen years now he’s been hooked up with the Copeland family and has been teaching from Kenneth Hagin. That really pains me. So there you have a little connection between me and prosperity theology. I actually feel caught in tandem between these polar worlds of religious liberal and conservativism. Its an epidemic with Bible teachers. It’s never enough to relate the words of Jesus. The audience must be drawn into a Kingdom here and now. Among Liberation theologians Jesus is the “yes” to a new civilization here and now. Among Prosperity teachers he is the “yes” to healing and wealth here and now. While Liberation theologians are content to “imagine” the new realities and act toward a future, prosperity teachers tell the poor that God hates their poverty and wants them wealthy now! Either way the identification with felt need is there. Trouble comes with the realization that God is much more than economics, medicine, and politics. Spirituality that focuses on these is less concerned with God’s person than with what God gives. The question that should be looming in the subconscious is “What do we have when we get what we want?” Is there no more need for God? I feel suspicious of any lifestyle that needs a religio-philosophy to justify its’ existence. As though its not enough to live, we need the heavens to resound “Yes, thatta boy!”

On the plus side, I do feel that Liberation theology highlights a political reading of the Bible that is intended. I don’t feel it needs to be quite so forced, often times the textual criticism involved begins with a bias against history. With prosperity teachers I find it particularly inconvenient that there is a lot of evangelistic witness going on. Yes, many prosperity teachers are less prosperity than they are soul-winners, I must admit. And while I personally have spent so much time in (what felt like) manipulative spiritual meetings, I have to be honest and say that as far as I can tell the gospel is preached. It ticks me off to say that. I get angry at God that he uses people who turn around and malign the very gospel they preach. But its a human problem! I can’t think of a preacher who doesn’t fall under the weight of the gospel he/she preaches!

Jesus’ command to “love one another as I have loved you” is alone enough to humble anyone who takes him seriously.


Filed under music, TV

3 responses to “Me & Mylon

  1. Richard

    Wow, thanks for a really interesting and thought-provoking post. I am really not sure I would say that what is often preached is the gospel. Indeed, the church I grew up with was on the periphery of the prosperity movement and I remember going to one meeting led by Jesse Duplantis (another Copeland cohort). I was at the time in my own problematic relationship with God but responded to the altar call in spite of what he preached. Throughout I was confronted how what was preached was antithetical to that which I perceived to be the gospel that this very same gospel challenged me anew to respond.

  2. David King

    Wow – didn’t know that about Mylon – too bad. But…

    I met him briefly in probably 1993. I was living in Nashville at the time, working (for free) as a freelance assistant recording engineer. One day at the Benson Music studio, Mylon came in. He was asking directions to get somewhere, and was lost or something. But wow – when he came into the room, dressed in black, coolness just radiated from him – it literally oozed off him and seeped into every corner of the room. A hush fell over everyone, and when he left, everyone just sort of let out their breath, and said “wow.”

    You had to be there :-)

  3. chris

    Richard, I too have struggled with whether it is the gospel. I got into a heated argument with a friend on the way home from hearing Anne Graham-Lotz speak. I heard lots of culture in her preaching but still wondered aloud whether the decision we were asked to make was for the Jesus of the Bible. I have in mind Karl Barth’s discussion of this in his “Romans”. I agree with him that at best we are simply signs pointing to God’s work but that if we are rejected by our hearers they have not necessarily rejected Jesus. I have a hard time believing that TBN has fulfilled the Great Commission (as they seem to claim) by broadcasting to every corner of the globe.

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