Every morning, Toby and Brynn (and Tristan) turn on their clock radio and dance like heathens to whatever comes on. Some days it’s country. One particularly loud day was Tejano music. (note to self: is it called Tejano here in the Midwest?) I have intervened a couple of times and switched the dial over to K-Love, since I don’t really feel up to lengthy discussions of adultery and divorce (thank you, country music) or other topics inspired by rap or R&B. But then they say, “Hey, we don’t like this Jesus music.” And so then I’m busting out the rosary for them, and I’m not even Catholic.
It brings the whole thing to the forefront, the topic that I have tiptoed around for all of my life. See, at Piney Woods Christian School, we didn’t listen to “secular” music. It wasn’t done. I grew up on a steady diet of Amy Grant and Michael W Smith, Petra, Sandi Patty… you get it, right? Unless you were raised in a GODLESS home. Kidding. But my dad, he had his music, which he listened to privately, and on occasion we would all listen to some musical “breaker”, a generational catalyst like the Beatles or Jimi Hendrix, and I knew that their music had changed the world, and not all for the better. But they had moved people and music, and they would always be part of the landscape of history, because of MUSIC.
I’ve pretty much just stuck with Christian music and I’ve been pretty content with my bands, my 950 songs on my iPod. At the same time, I hear popular music everywhere, TV, public places, youtube, whatever, and there are songs that I like, that I know, that I sing. I just won’t buy them.
I’m just facing myself on this, the “why”. I watch “secular” movies, as long as they don’t breach my moral code. I read “secular” books, same criteria. But when it comes to music I just hold back, and it’s probably part righteousness and a larger part tradition and guilt. So that’s religion. Still, I don’t want my kids singing about sin, celebrating sin like many songs do. I don’t want them copying pop culture in their manners, their speech, their clothes. On the other hand, I want them to be aware of the world around them, to not grow up in a holy bubble. Or do I? Maybe I do. Oh, and so much Christian music is weak, musically. I want them to know music that makes their hearts ache, to feel the beauty of music.
And I know the Christian music industry is corrupt, in many ways, and unChristian. That doesn’t change the fact that most of the lyrics are Biblical… that is still life, going in via ears. Plus, I kind of live off the Christian music industry, although we’re on the outskirts, technically.
Look, I want them to be lovers of God, to be pure, and to be separate, while still being aware and welcoming to people around them. And I really want them to be real, genuine, motivated by love, not performance or an unholy standard. And I want them to be musically gifted, inspired by God to make music that moves the hearts of people. Sheesh. Is that so much to ask?