Saturday, September 13, 2014

Rock music... pride comes before a fall

I’ve recently been driving our convertible more than normal. I always drive it with the top down whenever I can. We’ve been pretty blessed this year with many sunny days.

As I am driving with the top down and the sun shining, I tend to crank the tunes. I often find that Christian music just doesn’t capture the mood. Although I can’t for sure tell you why. Except that the SiriusXM Christian station is way more pop than it is rock. And I’ve always been a rock fan. Pop often makes me cringe.

So I will often find a secular rock station and crank it to 11 while I’m cruising down the highway.

That’s all good right? Or is it? Here’s where I wrestle. As I observe my own behavior and the music I choose, I’ve noticed a few things.

First, let's establish one thing. God hates pride. A lot of folks think that God is love and everything is good. Well God definitely hates certain things and pride is on the top of his list. Here are a few quotes out of Proverbs.

“These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:16-19).

“Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD” (Proverbs 16:5)

There are many other quotes I could add, but that is a small sample. As I was listening to certain secular rock, I was thinking to myself... I don’t know anything at all in this world that exudes pride more than secular rock. I mean think about it! Much of it really boils down to artists thumbing their nose at God and authority in general. And according to the Bible, God really hates that. He doesn’t use the word “abomination” lightly.

Does all secular rock fit that stereotype? No. But I believe the great majority of it does. I think maybe it was AC/DC that I was listening to when I had the thought about pride. But there are any number of bands that fit that description.

The other thought I had was this… why do I listen to the music I do? Of course part of it is the enjoyment I get. I really love a wailing guitar. But there are people I know, maybe not very well, whose main knowledge and information they have about my personal life consists of the music they hear me listen to.

And maybe I listen to what I do in part, because I sub-consciously want to send a certain message. It's sort of fun to listen to "cool" music and have people be a bit surprised that this 54 year old guy is rocking out.

Jesus tells us that His people will suffer persecution because they believe in Him. I wonder if He appreciates one of His children essentially identifying with the rebellion and pride of the world by way of what music they listen to. Should one of His children really want to gain the acceptance of the world in this manner?

When I have Christian music turned up loud in the convertible, do I turn it down at the stop light so those around me don’t hear? If there is a really good ZZ Top tune on… I might be way more tempted to leave it cranking at the light. Maybe?

This is my observation. That much of secular rock exudes pride. And when we listen to that, we are participants and are actually identifying with that mindset. And we are likely transmitting that to others around us.

Well, I don’t think that’s something that God feels very good about. Historically I've pretty much blown this off as a "gray area" that cannot necessarily be categorized as sin. But not caring about this is quite prideful in and of itself.

In psychology there is information about a phenomenon that is quite interesting. When we view movies or listen to music. Our brains play certain tricks on us to make us feel like we are participating. Can anyone identify with playing the air guitar? or invisible drums? Of course! And when you see a very moving film. Why do you think it has that effect on you? Because you feel part of the story!

So there you go. Maybe the choices we make about the “media” we consume are not as benign as we like to think.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Elevator music

I think elevator music gets a bad rap. Since our last car purchase, both of our cars have SiriusXM satellite radio. Included with the plan is the ability to stream audio from the net as well. So that's primarily what I've been listening to when it comes to music.

There is a lot of variety. Certainly more than you'd find on over-the-air radio. Being an ex-hard-rock-addict, I found myself listening to a few things that aren't good for me. So I started searching for stations on the service that were more morally neutral.

I've found a few stations that are ok. But so far the best neutral music I've found is the SiriusXM channel that plays elevator music! Totally harmless and not half bad. I think I'm getting old!

Addendum:

If I want to be completely purist about this, elevator music is NOT 100% harmless. Because when you listen to a song you know, even if it is an instrumental version... the words play in your head. However, most of the songs they play are songs I do not know. So it's probably about as good as it will get.

Monday, February 3, 2014

We sold our soul

I recently posted something about Led Zeppelin on Facebook. I thought perhaps I should reveal my true thoughts on that sort of music. Just for the record. In the past I was one of their biggest fans. And there is a part of me that still really loves that music. However, I don't think that's a good thing.

I have wrestled for many years in my head over the morality of rock music. When I was young, Led Zeppelin were far and away my favorite band. The first rock concert I ever attended was Black Sabbath. And one of the first rock albums I ever bought was their album “We Sold Our Soul for Rock and Roll”. Little did I know that I'd be fighting these demons for the rest of my life.

When I turned my life over to Jesus I had the standard ritual “album burning” in my driveway where I doused my worldly music with flammable liquid and set it on fire. In the years following that, I have gone back and forth quite a number of times. As a matter of fact, if my life history is open to ridicule, this would be one area where I am vulnerable. On four or five occasions I have sold large collections of rock music worth multiple thousands of dollars, at a huge loss, primarily for moral reasons.

In the Bible Jesus states “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.”.

To me this is what it boils down to. It’s the attitude, the lifestyle, and the culture. In the day, Led Zeppelin went hand in hand with rebellion, dope smoking, and partying. I think it’s undeniable. As much as I’d like to say that I just “appreciate the music” or attempt to detach the music from the activities and attitude that typified those who listen to it, I just don’t think it can be done. And believe me I've tried.

You could take ZZ Top, Motley Crue, and any number of rock bands you want. Their whole style really amounts to thumbing one’s nose at God. And I think listening to that type of music makes me a participant in that.

In the last 6-8 years or so, I've tried to diversify my listening habits. I wanted to listen to stuff that was spiritually and morally neutral. But’s that type of music is extremely hard to find. I don’t even know that it exists.

Even if you chose the instrumental variety of “new age” music that supposedly has no connection to any sort of religion or spiritual belief, there is a high risk that you will be exposed to music expressly designed for use by folks practicing a set of very real spiritual beliefs that are decidedly contrary to Christianity.

Music appeals to our passions. And in a fallen world, it will frequently appeal to passions that are of a fallen nature.

Regarding Led Zeppelin... I read a recent interview with Robert Plant. Even he is a little creeped out by the music they did together. Asked what the meaning of their song "Stairway to Heaven" was... they really don't know. And calls for a reunion of the band are met by them with clear hostility. Maybe they are fighting some demons of their own.