Friday, April 4, 2008

I Hate Christian Music

At least I hate the term Christian music. I also hate the term secular music, which just means non-Christian. But what in the world makes them Christian or non-Christian? It's usually whether or not they're on a "Christian" label.

Did you hear about how Evanescence, this has been a few years now, was on a Christian label and in the middle of their concert the lead singer exclaimed that she didn't know why they were on a Christian label (of course this is a paraphrase without all the cursing)? How many other bands are on Christian labels that don't belong there? Who should belong on a Christian label?

I really don't think there is a such thing as Christian and secular music. There's the music that glorifies God and the music that doesn't!

For the exception of music that is design for praise and worship, I'm learning more and more that I can find God in all kinds of music, including what is considered "secular". You might think, well that's not right. It needs to mention God or Jesus somewhere. Most of our old hymn don't. Do you want to get rid of those? Nearly all of the more modern and contemporary worship music doesn't use "God" or "Jesus" in its lyrics. Even the book of Ester lacks mentioning God. Yet in all these we see God throughout them.

What are your thoughts? Are there dangers to us having our own "Christian" music that is really just "clean" music that never mentions God (and could be just another Evanescence)? Could we be loosing something if we exclude secular music from our listening selection? Should Christians only be listening to "praise and worship"?


The Beaver Bunch said...

Found you thru Nate's site (shocker, I know) and having just watched a serious debate unfold, on whether music in worship was even biblical, this is my opinion:

I think that you are right and that you can find God in everything (I mean, He made it all). In the last few weeks, I have watched God reveal things to me, via the Holy Spirit, that I would have never considered to be "from God." I'm a relatively new believer (5 years) and I am amazed at how God shows himself to me in the everyday. Through dirty diapers, "secular" music, etc.

However, I do think we must also guard our hearts fervently. If listening to certain types of music evicts emotions that do not align w/ scripture or fall within the realm of Godly love, I think that the individual shouldn't expose themself to such music. I have had that experience myself, when a song will remind me of a time I was dating someone else, sparked memories and made me think of things unrelated to my husband. I have learned when these songs come on, I MUST turn the station. Sorry it was so lengthy, but you did ask. :)

Melissa said...

How do you not have 10,000 comments already? This seems to be a hot topic in the Christian community (take a seat and grab a refreshing drink -- this might be a long post). Worship is in the attitude of the heart --in the person's thoughts and motivations. You can sing a song with "God" or "Jesus" in the lyrics and not be attending to one iota of worship. So can it also be said you can sing a song without the mention of such names and still be deeply invovled with worship. When I say I love you to my husband, I don't have to say, "I love you, Jerry." Everytime. He knows it's being said straight to him and it's the expression of my heart. So everytime I sing or say I love you to God does it have to say, "I love you Father?" Does God get confused at the condition of my heart when I don't specifically call just HIS NAME? I once heard a worship leader sing the old John Denver song, "Annie's Song" as a worshipful song to God and with the exception of changing one tiny word (lay down beside you to kneel down . . .), it was the original song -- and it was a beautiful expression to the Creator. I often now find myself singing it in praise to Him. I work in an industry that works with copyright content so in the course of my job, I sometimes have to listen to "secular" music files to verify it's authenticity (artist) and I'm simply AMAZED at the raunchy lyrics that are out there (and by "listen to" I simply mean a short clip thereof, thankfully not sit through the entire song). I mean -- raunchy doesn't even begin to describe it. So my point is -- isn't the difference of music the message it contains? I happen to just LOVE music and I thank God for it, it's a gift he's given us. Some of my Christian friends find it odd I listen to what would be considered secular music but I am particular in the song's message, lyrics, etc. I mean -- do Christians ONLY read Christian books, authors? Do you only watch the Christian broadcast network? No "secular" TV? Do you only watch Christian movies? How/why is music different from TV or movies? I don't see the "sin" in listening to or liking a sweet love song that reminds me of my husband. I like classical music (that I think can be very worshipful) and sweet lullabies that soothed my babies to sleep. I find it a little odd that my Christian friend looks down on my acceptance of some "secular" music and yet she's addicted to watching "Dancing with the Stars".

Wasn't it Amy Grant that took a lot of heat from the media/Christian community for "going secular". PLEASE!

Music should not be catagorized in the label it bears but in the message it sends. The singer or listener's heart is what is heard by God. I'm pretty sure the Bible says, "Make a joyful noise!" -- not "Make a ONLY Christian noise."

"Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs." Psalm 100:1

TerryKM said...

@ The Beaver Bunch. . .
"However, I do think we must also guard our hearts fervently. If listening to certain types of music evicts emotions that do not align w/ scripture or fall within the realm of Godly love, I think that the individual shouldn't expose themself to such music."

Excellent point!

@ Melissa. . .
I didn't grab a refreshing drink because I started reading and enjoyed your thoughts (couldn't break myself away)

You'll probably enjoy was I'm about to post next.

Jen said...

Such a hard thing to figure out, as our world becomes less and less Christ-like. It is too easy to accept things that are not of the Lord. Nor is legalism the right answer. If one is doing their best to walk with God, I think we will know in our hearts if something is ok or not ok. It is likely different for each person. God convicts, we need to listen. Thanks for the discussion! :0)

sarah said...

hi terry,

i, too, think that this is an excellent topic and one that has been running through conversations i've had with friends for years.

i'm a believer going on 15 years (next september), and over that time my walk with God has changed and matured and at times felt like my every breath and at times felt so far away from my grasp. i have been faithful, faithless, stubborn, humbled, unyielding, grief-stricken, angered, overjoyed, broken, built name it. the one thing that has ceased to change, however, has been God Himself. and throughout all of those different seasons, i've continued to listen to so-called 'christian' music and 'secular' and have done so without shame or regret.

songs that some would consider 'idolatrous,' i view as the artists' attempts to work out the fact that they are longing for something they do not have. some of them are angry. some lonely. some sad. some just doing what feels right to them. they're expressing their own hearts and participating in the human experience - where they are right now.

and i'm thankful for a lot of these songs. as a singer myself, some of this musical poetry that other people have written has helped me to sort out my own feelings at times. and when i listen to them through my own beliefs and world view, i am able to take what they have produced and experience God through that. whatever someone's intention when producing art, that doesn't mean that God cannot use it to bless someone else. (now, i'm not suggesting that all songs are created 'equal.' some of them are, perhaps, beyond a redemptive experience, but i hope you get my point.)

i say all of this to say that obviously each person is in a different place of comfort as far as music goes, so, like jen said, it's about that personal relationship with God and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you.

what bothers me MOST about this whole topic is not raunchy or inappropriate lyrics but the way that believers can judge one another for their decisions or preferences. i certainly have been judged before for listening to 'secular' artists. i think that bothers God more than me listening to a james taylor song.

whew! thanks for reading. you can tell i have no real opinion on this topic;)


Julie said...

Interesting topic. I guess I never realized that some artists on a Christian label might not actually be Christians.

I didn't grow up in a Christian home, and there wasn't much we weren't allowed to listen to/watch. As a Christian adult (and mother), looking back, I know the movies/TV/music I watched/heard had a HUGE impact on my behavior AND my feelings of what made me "valuable" as a person. (And let me tell you, it WASN'T a good thing)

I try very hard to encourage my own children to guard their hearts when it comes to music and television viewing. My husband and I decided over a year ago to stop watching television pretty much altogether (our lonely TV now resides in our garage) because more and more we were finding that there were few programs we could watch without compromising our walk with God.

I believe that music that is considered "secular" CAN be something I listen to and enjoy, as long as I take the time to actually LISTEN to the lyrics and tone of the song. Not that I'm a huge country music fan, but many country songs relate to the love between a husband and wife, or of a parent's love for his children, or sometimes just funny stuff that happens when you're a parent. It's not praise music, nor is it meant to be. I hear "Christian" songs that aren't necessarily about praising God, either.

One thing I've found, though, is that the more I seek a relationship with God, the easier it is for me to discern what's appropriate and what's not. There are a lot of songs and movies that I used to really like, but I see/hear them now and think, "Wow, this isn't something I should be listening to/watching at ALL!"

I believe that God works in our hearts and minds when we let him. The hard part is letting go of the wheel!

TerryKM said...

Good comments guys! Or ladies rather. . .