Punk music is making a big comeback these days with bands like Greenday and the Offspring so with it being currently relevant I thought it would be worth giving it a mention on the site.
When I first got into the punk scene it was in the early 1980's as I was too young to be part of the original 1970's Sex Pistols punk explosion. I then had a change of heart and "got normal" again. This lasted for a good while then, in the latter 80's, I threw myself back into it again with a vengeance! I was into groups like the Exploited, GBH, Crass, The Dead Kennedy's, and Conflict, to name a few. The music was powerful, radical and political. I also listened to some of the earlier 70's punk stuff, like the Sex Pistols, Stiff Little Fingers, Stranglers and the Clash. In fact, I still quite like some of the Stranglers and the Clash's stuff (and some of the new stuff from the likes of The Offspring is pretty cool too!).
Some people can sometimes unfairly look down on Punks as being uneducated yobo's, but I found that this was most certainly not the case. In fact, many that I had known came from well to do backgrounds and were well educated. For them, Punk was, and still is, a way of breaking away from the restraints that they felt had been placed upon them. It is also a way of expressing oneself and wanting to be noticed in a world where everyone just follows what everyone else does. In the carbon copy crowd where we are told to be "normal" (whatever that is meant to be) Punk cries out: "Notice me! I count too!"
I also found many Punks who emerged in the 80's extremely concerned about the world in which we live. Many are interested in politics and animal rights. Strangely enough as well, even though a lot of Punk music was (and still is) quite violent, many Punks themselves were normally quite gentle folk.
Some things do disturb me as I look back though. Although some of the music was uplifting, other aspects were extremely negative. Anti-government, anti-establishment, anti-Church, anti-Christ. It seemed that some Punks were virtually anti-everything! I used to wonder if Punk had its way and there was nothing else to be "anti", then what would they do?
Looking back, one aspect that particularly disturbs me is some of the anti-Christ lyrics that are sung in some of the music. I can remember listening to the Punk group Crass (who's symbol is a cross with a bar through it) and listening to the mockery that was poured upon Christ. In fact, one record in particular (can't remember the name of it now) was so shocking, weird, and creepy, that my Punk friends and I would rarely listen to it.
Looking back on my own experience in the Punk scene and knowing the way I thought then, I think many Punks who follow groups like Crass have got religion mixed up with Jesus. Yes, there is much hypocrisy in some religion but Jesus was against this as well and challenged the hypocrisy in the religions of His own day. Being let down by a religion is one thing but to blame and attack God for this is not fair. Sometimes, God gets unfairly misrepresented. This happens to Punks as well. Think about how unfair it is when you, as a Punk, get labelled something you are not just because of the way you look.
Punk is certainly a radical movement in the alternative sub-culture scene and it may surprise many Punks to realize that Jesus Christ is radical as well. Punks seek to be made new on the outside by changing their appearances but Christ can change a person on the inside as well by giving them a new life. Many Punks may also be surprised to know that you can be a Christian and a Punk. There are Christian Punks, Christian Punk bands, and Christian Punk websites out there (Follow link at bottom of page that will take you to other links, etc). Its not all dusty churches and hymn books you know! God is more concerned about what the condition of your heart is like before Him rather than how you look on the outside (as long as you are not painting your leather in anti-God and anti-Christ slogans). We get right with God by saying sorry to Him in prayer for the bad things we have done (the Bible says we have all done bad, or sinned). We then put our hope and trust in Christ alone (not Church or religion). For those who do this and mean it - you have taken a radical step that will certainly make you different from the rest of the crowd!
Links: Christian Punks Unite