Tuesday, January 5, 2010

why we don't listen to your music.

Let's play a game! Fill in the blanks:

Hey now you're an All Star get your game on, go play
Hey now you're a Rock Star get the show on ___ ___
And all that glitters is gold


And I don't want the world to see me
Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be _____


I like big butts, and I ____ ____ ___
All you other brothers ____ ____
When a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist
and a ____ ____ in your face


Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more you ___ __ ____
And you're here in my heart
And my heart will go ___ and ___

Four songs from over a decade ago -- A wide variety of songs: alternative, rap, and contemporary. Chances are, you successfully filled in at least all the blanks in one of the four songs. I could fill them in with ease.

Isn't that a little disheartening? I can't remember a darn thing from microbiology in college, which I spent weeks studying and memorizing. But these lyrics come to me like I had just heard the song. I haven't heard these songs in many, many years, but the lyrics are still so fresh.

I have no idea what the science is behind this. Why do we remember the lyrics to dumb commercial songs, but we can't remember the location of our car keys? I don't know, or care really, but this only solidifies my decision to only listen to music that glorifies God. Period.

Up until the New Years celebration of 2009, I had no idea who Lady Gaga was. I kept hearing about her online and on different shows. Um, I really don't think I've missed out at all by being blissfully unaware of her existence, and my friends and I joke (kind of) that I live in a little musical bubble with Mark :)

We don't listen to country, pop, alternative, rap, or oldies. Mostly, we buy CDs and listen to the same cd for months at a time. If I'm really honest with you, we bought a CD by Leeland in September 0f 2009 and have been listening to it non-stop since Christmas. I'm not even kidding. We just play it over and over. And over and over some more. (I'm sure that would drive the rest of you bonkers, but that's how we "roll")

Wikipedia says that Leeland is a "Christian Rock" band.. but later on it says that Leeland has been identified as being "alternative" or "progressive rock." I don't really care about the style of music, the instruments used, or the beat. I care about the lyrics. It's really simple. If it glorifies God, it's good. If it doesn't, then it doesn't have a spot in my CD player.

God commands us in Philippians 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.” It's pretty safe to say that secular music isn't any of those things. At all. You can't deny it. Those country songs about beer and divorce? The alternative pop music about .. who knows what? It isn't good for you. The music is awful anyway, so I can't understand why you would want to pollute your mind with it.

I don't necessarily think little "teeny bopper" music like Taylor Swift's is wrong.. I do believe that musical talent is a gift from God and God alone. But listening about heart ache and breaks ups isn't my thing. I also really love symphonic/classical music. We are all made in God's image -- so the fact that we, little lowly humans, can create instruments, play them, and compose pieces of music -- that's pretty mind-boggling. I love love LOVE it.

Once you turn away from musical filth (no exaggeration) and toward "Christian" music, you'll never look back. We aren't sad that we're missing out on what's "popular" at all. We really don't care. We never have a reason to watch the GMAs or the CMAs or whatever they're called. We extend worship by choosing to listen to Christ-glorifying music in our car.

Instead of getting these lyrics stuck in your head "She wears high heels, I wear sneakers She's cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers" you will be singing "For there is no one like our God
There is no one like You God"

It's an easy decision. I threw away all my secular CDs in the 8th grade and never looked back. It was one of the smartest decisions I ever made. Since then, I've listened to everything from screamo Underoath to Christian rock with The Almost to praise music by Chris Tomlin, and everything in between. You honor God with your bodies, your money, and your hearts -- but why not your ears? Thank about it :)

My favorite lyrics from one of my favorite songs from Leeland, my favorite band:

On the via dolorosa
All my sin was carried away!
And the power of Him was broken
As He gave His life away

He knew it was to come from the very start
But his love for the world beat inside His heart
He climbed the road of suffering to the hill of Calvary
Where the saints would be redeemed.


  1. I used to listen to Christian music but then it started to all sound the same to me. So I switched back to classical. lol! Or Japanese music... anything in another language OTHER than English.

  2. haha.. I've never ever heard Japanese music! But I do realllly love classical. Not many people our age appreciate classical music :)

  3. I didn't have much of a choice. Between piano starting at age 5 and concert band, I basically got emmersed in it. And so I love it :)

  4. oh yeah!!! I forgot you were in band like me! :) I took piano as a kid too.. but I was awful and quit.. and later succeeded on clarinet.

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  6. I wouldn't really call Spock's Beard "secular", (after a certain point in their discography) Neal Morse became a very vocal christian musician after his daughter was diagnosed with a heart problem... (kind of an anti-Neil Peart effect) So basically anything after 2002 was written from a more religious standpoint. The concept album this song came from is about boy of humble birth with special powers of healing traveling around... sound familiar? After he left Spock's Beard (they are absolutely terrible now) his solo work became over-the-top in-your-face unapologetic christian rock.

    By the nature of progressive rock, its subject matter is a lot broader than what passes for popular music nowadays... which means you'll get the entire spectrum of religious expression, where popular music/rap/country garbage is so sterile, it's basically sonic tofu.

    Anyway, I'm sure Tara can rec. some more good music that you'll probably like.

  7. Have you ever listened to Sean McConnel? I like him. His song "Madly in Love With You"--definitely check it out.

    And while I agree with you that most secular music out there is basically filth, I don't think that all music that isn't Christian music has to be, even if it isn't some kind of teeny bopper. Sister Hazel started out as a group that was devoted to keeping their music clean because of who they represented in their band name.

    I'm realllly unsure about my stance on Christian music, just because I have a problem with instrumental music in worship, so there is really a fine line for me that I'm still working out. However, I do agree that mostly all music on the radio is terrible (which is why I never listen to it), and like you, I had never heard a Lady GaGa song until recently, and I don't think I ever will again.

  8. so, like, you'd really rather listen to a secular song than a song about God that includes instruments? Just wondering.. I cannot wrap my mind around that idea at all.

    I borderline think it's nearly a sin to use your talents for something other than glorifying God. I'm not really sure.. but something using your God-given voice or God-given ability to play an instrument for your own benefit of singing about meaningless stuff.. that just doesn't seem right. I'm still not sure what I believe though. Like, honestly, would Jesus listen to Sister Hazel? I don't know. I can't answer that. After reading The Shack, that gave me some more insight. but would Jesus listen to Taylor Swift on His iPod? I have no idea.

  9. This post is really good, Shan! I think it can also be super-imposed to movies, as well. Chris and I find ourselves quoting really dumb lines from movies we've seen periodically. (It happens a LOT LESS now that we don't watch movies.) But I used to really struggle with the fact that I could spew off tons of lines from movies but found it so incredibly hard to memorize Scripture.

    But that's another discussion. :) Chris and I rarely listen to music. Not even "Christian music." We prefer hymns that are meaty with Scripture and glorify God. In our opinion, a lot of the "Christian 'contemporary' music" is out of the question for us because we feel - personally - that it takes the focus off God and puts it on the "show" or the performance. That's personal conviction, though. We enjoy listening to the reformed rappers - like the one we featured on our Frag Friday recently - because the lyrics are so rich with truth and display the Gospel fully and wholeheartedly. If we listen to anything in the car - which is the only time we would listen - it's podcasts from preachers like R. C. Sproul or sermons by pastors like Voddie Baucham or Paul Washer. Our time is much more fruitful when we listen to preaching of the Word of God rather than the lies and entertainment of the world. (Much like you feel more fruitful when you listen to Christian music rather than secular music!)

    It's a wonderful thing that you don't listen to secular music! We're living fine without it. In fact, it's a JOY to give it up: "You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." James 4:4. I don't want to be an enemy of God! I'll gladly give up worldly music and be an enemy of the world than be an enemy of the Almighty!

    Anything that is of the world that we partake in makes us friends with the world. Anything that is NOT glorifying to God is secular and we should purge it.

    Anyway, now that I have talked around in circles, I'm sure Chris will have something to add to the discussion as well!

    PS We enjoy classical music, as well. There are no lyrics to fog your mind, and you're exactly right when you say, "We are all made in God's image -- so the fact that we, little lowly humans, can create instruments, play them, and compose pieces of music -- that's pretty mind-boggling."


    Oh, one last thing? I'm glad I don't know who Lady Gaga is, either.

  10. haha Brittney.. you don't want to know who she is!!! We actually watched the Duggars on NYE (ahem.. we're WILD, aren't we?!?!) but we flipped back & forth to see the New York City festivities. and Mark saw her and was like OH my gossssh.. that's horrrrrrible!! haha. but she is apparently really popular. I heard on the Today Show or something that she had like 4 #1 hits in 2009?? Something like that. So she must be really famous! Apparently my blog readers don't know she exists though! lol.

  11. I think that you should use the talents that God has given you, too, undoubtedly. But I don't necessarily think that the worship setting is the place to do that, since the Bible doesn't command us to use instruments, it commands us to use our voices.

    I don't know about the whole "Jesus' iPod" scenario, just because I don't think that He would bother with anything but the heavenly chorus. I just don't think that listening to secular music is wrong, because if you use the argument that you are, you have to apply that to every single aspect of your life--which includes TV, movies, etc. I don't think Jesus would watch movies or TV or get online. That's just me. In which case, I feel like that argument might be a moot point.

    I just think that it's important to take the "spirit of the law" that we're given in the New Testament and, like you said, glorify God.

  12. We can't forget the Old Testament, either, and only focus on the New Testament. But we had a discussion about that on mine & Chris' blog a few months ago. :) And Emily, I think it is very important that we do apply this argument to every aspect of our lives - especially in light of James 4:4 that I mentioned in my comment earlier.

    And Shan, I saw the NYE thing that she had 2 songs of the top 5 on? Anyway...the clips of the videos they showed for her songs were atrocious. Uugh. I'm sure we live in the same bubble together. :) I like being out of the know.

  13. well, see that's the thing.. I do agree with you on that, but music in particular has an affect on our brains. We normally wouldn't memorize a line from a tv show or a line from a movie (unless we watched it over and over). Music has that affect. Plus, the tv that I watch is 95% educational. So I don't feel bad about it :) but we both know that I do like Secret Life :) and I do like Biggest Loser! can't wait for tonight!

  14. That's true, I think that there are many valuable insights to be gained from the Old Testament, but ultimately our example comes from the New Testament, because Christ abolished the old law and instated His new covenant.

  15. Matthew 5:17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

    I think they're both equally important :)

  16. Christ fulfilled the Law, He did not abolish it (Matthew 5:17-18). Therefore we can take Romans 3:31 to heart and "uphold the law."

    The Old Testament is not merely a compilation of books that have valuable insights to be gained. It points forward to the fulfillment of the Law by Jesus in the New Testament, and is as much to be taken as seriously and to heart as the NT.

    Emily, I encourage you to read this: http://backtothequarry.blogspot.com/2009/11/what-we-believe-wednesday.html

  17. Ha, Shan, you're quicker than I am! I was commenting when you commented, apparently. :)

  18. I did read the article and very much appreciated it. I also want to clarify what I meant by abolishing the law. I meant that Christ fulfilled it, obviously, and took away our obligations to it---in keeping the Sabbath and all of the priestly laws (as shown in Leviticus, namely), because we have a great High Priest in Jesus, and know we can come boldly before the throne of God ourselves (as undeserving as we are).

    I would also like to point out, though, Romans 7: 1-6, which has us "dying to the old law". I don't believe that the Old Testament is just a history lesson. I think that there are tons of applications and things we learn about our God and our Savior and our relationship with both of them.

    Another thing, though, is Hebrews 8: 7 "For if that first covenant had ben faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second." Read all of chapter 8, especially verse 13---which says "In that He says, 'A new convenant,' He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away."

    Every law from the OT that we need still abide by (9 of the 10 ten commandments) are restated in the NT. There are also new commands for how to worship given in the NT. The NT repeats a lot of what the OT said as well as explains a lot of what it means, in that Christ is the fulfillment of all that had ever been taught. However, with Christ comes a new law and a new way to worship Him that is different from the OT.

    I hope maybe that makes sense. My flawed human nature keeps me from communicating this the best way I know how. Excuse that, please. =)

  19. Very good post Shan.

    Loving the Lord with all of our being also includes our ears. Paul Washer said once, "We drink down iniquity like it were water." Enough said. That is the extent to which we sin and indulge in our sin. We do not understand the degree of our sinfulness the same reason why, as Voddie Baucham has said, "a fish doesn't know that he is wet." Our sin nature is so enveloping and so engulfing that we cannot escape it, or often even relize that we are surrounded by it. We would all do well to dwell upon what Scripture teaches concerning the truth about man's nature, that is, he is depraved and evil. This should always be in the front of our minds when we even think of entertaining our flesh with mindless music, movies, video games, and the like. The question becomes, which is more worthy? Our itch for entertainment? Or glorifying God with all that we are in radical obediance to His revealed will set forth in Scripture?

    Thanks for the post!

  20. Emily, thanks so much for your comments! I look forward to reading and examining commentaries on Hebrews 8.

    Also, I'm very interested in the NT texts you are speaking of that are new commands for how to worship. As I am unfamiliar with what these are, would you mind pointing them out to me? Thanks!

  21. Brittney, I will most definitely be getting those thoughts and scriptures together. It might take a little bit more time, though, so that I make sure to study them as well and not try to impose any false doctrine to you.

    However, a lot of the points that I believe are also found in this article.


    Toward the bottom of that article you will find things that not only relate to the Sabbath, but also to the new covenant.

  22. Great! I'll definitely be reading that article, thanks for sharing. :)

    Also, take your time on the Scriptures! I appreciate your discernment and willingness to be careful. It shows a lot of humility.

    Thanks for your conversation in these comments!

  23. Thank you! I've really enjoyed it and it's helping me a lot, understanding what I believe and why I believe it instead of giving cookie-cutter answers that I've been taught all of my life.

    It's like my boyfriend told me earlier when I was talking to him about all of this: It's important to be able to talk about religion as openly and comfortably as we would any other topic.

  24. Yep, it definitely is important to know what we believe and why we believe it. I felt convicted about that issue a few months ago - after some debates on our blog - and we decided to do a blog series called "What We Believe Wednesdays." The one I linked to earlier in one of my comments is actually the first one we did. I love that we can share our beliefs with others, but it also helps us understand our own beliefs more in-depth because of the studying we have to do for the posts. :)

    Also, Shan, THANK YOU for this post. I really did enjoy it!