We had a discussion about secular vs. Christian music the other day. It's a bit thorough, but full of good philosophy. Enjoy.
Jeremy: have you recently had to defend your conviction that listening to secular music or even christian rock music is okay?
Adam: No, when I first got back into town, lots of folks who knew I was on a Christian radio station asked me questions about Christian bands, but over time that has stopped mainly because I wasn't being exposed to the bands people would want to talk about so eventually everyone just let it go. I can't think of anyone who has even mentioned it in the last year...have you had an experience like that?
Jeremy: a leader at our church is a "Christian music only" kinda guy, and so we were talking about why he thinks that the other day. it was really him talking the whole time, so its not like i had to defend why i think its okay to listen to rage against the machine. it was kinda frustrating, but I think God is telling me to let it go, because its not really a big deal. he doesnt expect the other leaders or even the youth to only listen to christian music, but you can tell that he frowns upon it. i dont think i have had to stick up for my music convictions in a long time, so it was kinda like deja vu.
Adam: When I was like a junior in high school, I went through this period where I was hanging out with these Christian Music only types... and I got all pumped about it and was destroying my secular CD's and what not. That lasted for maybe a year and one day I realized that 'hey I am a giant hypocrite...' here I am burning Sheryl Crow albums and smashing Beatles discs while I watch secular TV shows, and movies. Since then I have not thought to much about it...Following Christ is not some sort of ritualistic list of "Do Not's". in fact Following Christ is a very short list of "Do's"
1. Love the Lord God with all your heart mind and strength 2. Love your neighbor as yourself... to the point of dying for them.
Do not listen to Rage Against the Machine is not on there... though you could make a case that some of the things Rage stands for are opposed to God. So maybe your friend is right, maybe we should only listen to Carmen and Casting Crowns...
Jeremy: his main thing that he always repeats over and over is: "many things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial" catchy, i know, and there is definitely truth to that. my big thing is legalism. if you get so caught up in the do and don'ts of the christian faith then it becomes more of a religious act than it does a sincere passion for loving God.
sure it means well, but jesus taught more against the ways of the Pharisee than against the ways of the heathen. back in the day, i remember feeling guilty for not smashing my secular cds in the dorm room when some guys on the hall were doing it, but that just pissed me off that they would expect me to do something like that without really having the scripture to back it up. i do believe that everything we do is intended for the glorification of God, and so i try not to listen to any music that is intentionally against the characteristics of God. every now and then a sublime song will play, and i feel maybe that i should not listen to that, and rage is borderline also. but other than a "guilt" trip, ive never had a strong conviction that listening to secular music is wrong.
and of course it goes deeper than that, cause you have artists like dashboard, and bob dylan, and the rascal flatts(dont worry, im not a fan, but it plays into the discussion), where their lyrics dont really portray the black and white of the gospel, so we can't tell with certainty that they are christains just by listening to their music or even seeing them in concert. He says that bands like switchfoot and the like have a huge opportunity on a stage to share the gospel and if they dont do it, he almost considers them a fake. but ive heard christians artists from the stage say almost the exact opposite: "sure, we can sing about god, and we can even preach from a concert stage, but if we're not loving people we encounter its all just fake". and thats all that really matters. showing the love of christ. so that was the can of worms that we were discussing on sat. it wasnt even really about secular bands. it was about christian bands that have gone "mainstream" and have appeared to cover up their faith.
Adam: Well that irks me. One, Christian bands that crossover are put under huge pressure to tone down the Jesus references so that they will appeal to a larger audience. Two, when I type up a fact sheet and don't title it Jesus Loves you am I fake? Three, Christ is a personal relationship and so conveying a personal issue to a large audience is hard to do in detail. Four, not all of us are called to be preachers and evangelists; though all are called to witness, not all of us are called to do it in public. Five, Art is an expression of our creative natures... thus art is an expression of the Creator who created us... so it would be redundant to say that Art had to tell you that it was glorifying God since by its very nature it is glorifying God, and does not cease to do so just because an artist tries to bend it in an aniti-God manner... in fact, God is even more glorified because he has given the artist the free will to do with the talent that God created what ever he chooses.