If you opened up my iTunes library or Pandora radio station you would see a lot of Christian Music. If you looked a little further you would see a lot of non-Christian music. I see no problem in listening to Christian Music. In fact I would say that it still takes a majority of my listening time. However I am not one who listens to it exclusively. In fact, I think there are some very good reasons not to listen to only Christian Music.
Reason #1 – Truth is not only found in “Christian” Music
Truths about life can be found in many songs and in many places. Why do we limit what we think God can do by saying he can only speak through “Christian” music, art, or literature. I have found many songs that are not necessarily by a Christian artists, or that do not have a specific scripture or Christian reference, that still convey these truths.
Check out these lyrics from the song “Umbrella” (Youtube) by the group “No More Kings” released in 2007.
Not long ago I misjudged it I thought only smiles would do
Now I see I need The tears and frowns too
Slowly drenched in drizzle No rubber boots, no parasol
It’s not a roller coaster Without the rise and fall.
What’s the message here? The writer is saying that we need good and bad. That we need to go through hard times to recognize the blessings. Everytime I hear this song I am reminded that it’s often in this frowns and tears that I find God is closest to me.
Or for you old school 1990′s country fans.
Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers
– Unanswered Prayers – Garth Brooks 1990
Is there truth to be found here? I would say so. How many times to we get angry and cry that God’s not answering our prayers, that he doesn’t hear us, when in fact his not answering, is the answer.
Truths about God are found in the songs of faith we sing on Sunday morning. If we look though, they can be found in many places outside the walls of our church, or airwaves of our favorite Christian station.
Reason #2 -The beats, chords and melodies of music are neutral.
I have heard people say that a song is not “Christian” because it has a certain beat, or because it uses certain instruments, or even that a song is not “Christian” because the singer used a “breathy” voice when singing the song. I just can’t get my reasoning to take me there. Especially at a time now where there is literally a “Christian” counterpart for every “Secular” band. If “Christian” groups are mimicking every “Secular” style, then why would one group’s rap beat be different than another one.
Just as someone argued that at church camp kids could leave their hats on during the fast songs, but should take them off during the slow “worship” songs, it’s hard to say that the music style is a way to determine the “holiness” of a song.
Reason #3 – Listening to other music makes you think for yourself.
When you say that you are only going to listen to music that Christians have labeled as “Christian” music, you are letting someone else do your thinking for you. Accepting anything with the blanket label of “Christian” or reject anything that is not labeled “Christian” means that you do not have to make a decision. You do not have to apply what you believe, or have learned and make a judgement yourself. The dangerous part is that someone can write a song that gets labeled as Christian, that might not meet up to your beliefs, ideas or values, and you’ll pull it in, play it and listen to it without thinking, because someone told you it was a “Christian” song.
I think the problem is in the fact that we use the label “Christian” or “Secular” in the first place. To label something Christian then we have to determine why it is worthy of that label. Is a song “Christian” because it was performed, or written by a “Christian” artist? Is it “Christian” because it references scriptures, or has the words Jesus or God in it?” What if a “Christian” song is covered by a “Secular” artist? Does it suddenly lose it’s “holiness”?
Check out Philipians 4:8
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
What if we focused on listening to what is mentioned here. Listen to songs that talk about truth, noble, and justice. Find songs that are excellent and talk about things that are admirable. Let’s not focus so much on the labels that we have created that divide our songs, and divide us, and let’s enjoy music.. together.
Do you think it is a good thing or bad thing to listen to only Christian Music?
How do you determine what you listen to?
Reposted as a response to The Mayhem of Music on More Than Dodgeball.