My dear friend Randy Matthews has never been afraid to blaze some trails. Whether being one of the first Christian artists to put together a full-fledged rock band, or hanging out with the Hell’s Angels, or suffering through one of the most high-profile “unpluggings” while on stage at the country’s largest Jesus Festival, Randy has tried to be true to himself and honest in his interactions with the gospel as he experienced it.
In the late ‘80s when The Last Temptation of Christ was released in film version by Martin Scorsese, Randy was curious about seeing it, and he asked me in a phone conversation what I had heard about it. I told him I’d seen it a few nights earlier, and had to work my way past a throng of protesters who were claiming it was cursed of God. “Consider yourself forewarned,” I chuckled.
Randy had a rare night off during one of his myriad tours, and while scouring thru the local paper found the only little one-screen art house theater in Denver that was showing it. He hopped in a cab and was dropped off directly in front of a group of fifty sign-toting, scripture-chanting picketers who were making life miserable for anyone who dared pass in order to see the movie. It seemed to be working on some folks who sized-up the situation before them, and decided to turn tail and walk away, not wanting to get into a confrontation with some Bible-thumpers.
Not being one to shy away from an interesting venture, Randy smiled broadly as he strode straight through the encircled agitators to purchase a ticket at the box office window. As he waited for the salesperson to go get some change for his twenty-dollar bill, one of the dissidents dressed in an ill-fitting black suit marched up to him.
“Do you realize that this movie is full of God-hating lies? That it’s an abomination to all that is holy?”
Randy turned and looked directly at the fellow. “Well, I’ve read some conflicting reviews on it, and thought I should check it out for myself.”
“Don’t you realize that you will be exposed to deception straight from the pit of Hell?” the man blurted.
“I’m a big boy…I think I can discern what lines up with scripture and what is conjecture,” Randy reasoned. “It’s just one man’s interpretation of what he thinks might have happened.”
“Well, sir, you’re going to have to stand and give an account to a righteous and just God one day for your actions here today, and He will not be pleased,” accused the militant.
Randy then posed a question to his prosecutor as the clerk handed him his ticket and change: “How is it that you know so much about the film? Have you seen it yourself?”
“”No!” the objector defiantly bellowed. “But I’ve read the book.”
“So, “ Randy smiled, “I guess you’ll be standing right next to me on that day with God.”
With a wink and a pat on the guy’s shoulder, Randy concluded, “See you again someday,” and he walked past the befuddled gentleman into the cinema.