Not an oxymoron. There are ex-straight-edge folks out there who have made the wee lifestyle tweak of living under a Bible-based discipline. As someone who survived 70s punk and 80s hardcore, I can connect the dots from the somewhat righteous Howl of a Johnny Rotten or a Jello Biafra (et al) to a faith that - at its best - embodies and focuses that longing energy. There are even xian poonk bands, though, at my age, punk - sacred or secular - is a greasy-kid-stuff museum piece.

The coolest proselytizers I ever ran into were Christian punks. I was at Insomnia in Columbus, Ohio, when these two punks with skateboards came up to me to compare tattoos. They had these really well-done religious pieces, a Virgin Mary and a cross with a heart on it, I know there's a specific term for that but I can't remember it.

They'd found god accidentally through drug use. They used to smoke crack together a lot, and then one day while tripping acid, they'd had a breakthrough. They realized that they'd been using drugs because they were looking for something, but hadn't known what they were looking for or even that they were looking. They broke down crying when they found it, and started going to church. They were still involved in the punk scene, such as it was in Columbus.

They asked me if I believed in god, and told me that if I decided I needed religion, not to go for anything fake, since only Jesus was the real thing.

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