Written By Larry Shaw
Again my theme verse from Phil. 4:8 admonishes us to think on these things; Things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, & of good reputation; things that are virtuous, & praise worthy.
I was feeling a bit guilty that I yet again had to break down a subject into installments as I did with the ‘truth in love’ blogs I wrote early on but music “ plays” such a large role in our lives that it deserves to be examined with some depth. Plus I love the fact that Ryan chose it for his first blog so we have the same subject, with us coming to similar personal convictions, but from two different generations.
Last week on Monday and Wednesday, I dealt with the specific words that are sung in music, examining what lyrics may or may not be appropriate for our ears. This week I will examine the themes of music. Many of the same criteria that we looked at last week, may come in handy for the discernment we need to discuss lyrical themes.
I suggested that we look at Romans 12:1&2 since we are admonished to renew our minds with the scriptures & edifying subjects because we are not to be conformed to the patterns of this world. We established that what we listen to, will eventually come out of our mouths, but also it will become a part of who we are.
Some of you may be old enough to remember a little tune that was sung by children in church called “ O Be Careful Little Eyes “. Obviously the first verse deals with what we see, which could be the subject of another blog, but two other verses can be applied to the area of music. That verse goes like this:
O be careful little ears what you hear, o be careful little ears what you hear, there’s a Father up above, and He’s looking down in love, so be careful little ears what you hear. Similarly, the other verse that may apply says: O be careful little mouth what you say…. We can see that there is a high probability that what enters us through our ears will probably come out of us through our mouths. “Garbage in, garbage out”
But I would like to put forth the idea that the subjects or themes we listen to, will also come out of our mouths, but even more in question is that our worldview will be affected by these lyrics.
Perhaps we can see that the moral climate of our world has descended in the past decades. We don’t find shows like “Leave it to Beaver” in prime time any more. Innocence lost. This has happened for a multitude of reasons, but I believe music is one of them.
Ryan referred me to a Facebook post yesterday that affirmed what we have been doing, which is looking at the words in text without the music. A friend of Ryan’s said, “I challenge everyone to look up the lyrics of the different songs that you listen to, without the music. See how much it changes your perspective of that song”. That is such good advice. Ryan & I have done that. When you take the music out, there is nothing to disguise the message of the song.
Today we find that many of the lyrics of music are disrespectful & demeaning to women, or they glorify various forms of drug abuse. Lyrics often demonstrate or advocate violent behavior .The lyrics often glorify sexual behavior outside of marriage & convey that romantic love is really all we need to feel complete.
We know that only an authentic relationship with Jesus will complete us.
No person is capable of doing that nor should we ever expect that from anyone. Another issue is that in their attempt to convey life in an authentic way so that the listener senses that the artist feels their pain, there is often a sense of hopelessness because the hope that only lies in Jesus Christ has not been embraced. As a result, suicide can also be a theme of today’s music.
In contrast, “Christian’ lyrics consistently edify us or lift us up, whether they reflect actual scriptural passages or when they affirm Biblical principles such as marital fidelity. I agree with those who say that “Christian” lyrics can sometimes leave out the harsh realities of life, but I see a trend to correct that. It is possible to convey those realities with out using harsh language, but most importantly, convey the hope that is in Christ alone. Not every song can convey the full breadth of the human experience, but an album can be authentic about real life, even the trials of the Christian life, but ultimately lead us all to a closer walk with Him.
In the end, we are to renew our minds with the truths of the Word & think on all those things, that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good reputation, virtuous, & worthy of praise. How wonderful that God can use His gift of music to help us do just that!
Larry Shaw. ’98.6 Too Cold’ Blogger