Rock On: Music and Christianity
By Rev. Dino
I’ve been debating about writing this blog for a while. Mainly because I don’t want people to get the wrong perspective on Christian music and become disillusioned with it because of the words I am about to write.
God tells us not to idolize things of this world, but to Worship Him with the end goal of us receiving his love for all eternity. How amazing is that and would that be, right? Pretty awesome of a thought, the great creator of the world, the universe, ALL of existence loving us… wow!
Let’s not take our eyes off of the prize and let this distract us from worshiping and listening to some great music that we can use to honor God. There are a lot of awesome CDs and DVDs of pure, great Christian music to enjoy and to us in your worship.
With that said… Here is my beef with Christian music and musicians.
If you are a Christian musician, or claim to be a positive band of Christians- maybe not specifically a “Christian Band,” as a role model in the Christian and faith based community you have an image and a lifestyle that is important to uphold. You’re singing about the walk, speaking about the walk- but are you walking the walk?
I’ve got two stories, (I will preface this and say that this isn’t firsthand eye witnessed by me, but were told to me by people that I know and trust) one being from a Non-Christian, the other being a Christian.
One night I’m sitting at dinner and talking to my Non-Christian friend and she says “So I was at this party this past weekend, and guess who I saw there?” So, I took the bait and asked. She replied “You know that Christian band [and I am not going to name names] that was here for the Jesus festival thing?” And I replied back with the name of the band, and let her know that “Yes, I know the band. I’m not a fan of their music, but they seem to be really popular in mainstream right now.” And she replied, “I was at a house party and a few of the guys from the band were there, totally high [off of marijuana], and cussing up a storm, hitting on some of my girlfriends.”
I was shocked. I didn’t know what to say… I mumbled something like “Everybody falls at times.” Her reply was “Great role modeling for you Christians.” And she was totally right. All the people at the party got a glimpse of unbalanced Christianity, the hypocrisy that sometimes shows its ugly head, but the thing that concerned me the most was, they were telling everyone they were Christian and participating in something illegal that is deemed not accepted by mainstream people of faith- in front of non-believers. What a great message was that.
We as Christians- especially those in the spotlight- need to hold ourselves up to higher standards. We represent God and the love of Jesus. We have a responsibility to walk the talk and try to live our lives to nothing less than 100% for God! If you can’t do it, step away from the spotlight and get help.
We all do fail at times, its our sinful worldly human nature, but don’t put yourself as a representative of Christianity in a situation where you’re setting yourself up for failure. If you have a problem with drugs, alcohol, sex- so on- get some help, God has your back and can help you get through it. Ask God to put some people in your lives that are positive influences.
The second part to my blog is for those who call themselves Christian, get signed to Christian labels and once your sales numbers are high enough, bail to a secular label.
I had mentioned earlier a Christian friend and a story relating to him and music. Here goes…
There was a band, and again I won’t use any names- who came to town for a show at an old historic Portland OR, rock music venue called LaLuna (which is now closed). A bunch of people from the church I was attending at the time got tickets and went to see the band. Again I was not there to witness this, but I totally trust my friend and the other Christians I know who attended the show.
The band got on stage, 15 minutes late and were staggering all over the stage. The music was bad and off beat and key, basically these guys were totally obliterated drunk. During a silent moment in between songs, someone in the audience yelled out “I thought you were a Christian band, way to represent.” Which garnished some laughs from the audience, and then silence.
The lead singer of the band grabbed the microphone and said something that was described being this “Haha…suckers; we used the label to get our contract and boost sales. [Insert a few “F” related cuss words here] you and your Christian music.”
Half the crowd left.
Here is what’s left of my thoughts and to sum up the blog for today:
For the Individual reading this blog… This is where prayerful discernment comes in when listening to all music, not just Christian music. If you as an individual listener doesn’t feel something right in your heart about the music, turn it off and stop listening. If you don’t feel the movement of the Holy Spirit in your Christian Music, it’s up to you to still listen or not. Don’t let what I’ve said here today make you worry about the actual humans behind the music, but let God guide you to the music he’d be having you listen to, to use for worship.
What can you do? Pray… Pray over your CDs, MP3s, DVDs and so on… Let God guide you to what is good. Say “Dear God, I ask that you guide my eyes and ears, and protect me from the things of this world and allow me to find what you’d have me listen to and watch to further my faith, and further your kingdom on earth. Allow the Holy Spirit to come upon me and grant me discernment on what I choose to listen to and watch so that my heart, mind and spirit stay pure. Amen.” And that’s all you need to do…
A few times in my life, I’ve felt god say “Throw that CD out- you don’t need to hear it.” Or “Delete that MP3, that is not for you.” And after dragging my feet, I reluctantly agree… and funny enough, I haven’t felt any regret, but more so, a big weight lifted each and every time.
We have to remember that the people performing this music for us, they are Human too. They make mistakes, don’t live up to our expectations and a lot of times, they don’t live up to their internal expectations. We need to not make idols out of the artists and remember that God will deal with their hearts.
For bands… Be the role model you’re supposed to be and represent God as the bible would direct you. If you are engaging in things that go against what the church holds as Sin, and goes against your faith, get some help. Turn to those around you who can support you and hold you accountable and most importantly won’t judge you for your drinking, drugs…be it no matter your worldly vice, there is help all around. Don’t think you can control it, as anything that takes away your focus on God, as an addiction, is an idol.
“You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on earth under it, or that is in the water below. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I, the Lord, your God, am a jealous God…” Exodus 20:3-5
“So then, my dear friends, flee from idolatry” 1 Corinthians 10:14
Our God is a loving God and a forgiving God, so if you are dealing with addiction issues, God will be there.
As far as bands masquerading as Christian bands to get your unit numbers up to move on to mainstream secular labels. In the end, no matter how you can justify what you’re doing… You have to deal with God and his judgment. My advice- take the hard road, don’t take the easy road and play on peoples faiths.
If you’re in a band and you’ve done this… God is forgiving, all you have to do is repent and ask His forgiveness.