Monday, April 7, 2008

How Much Does Music Influence You?

So while I was driving today, I decided to turn off the iPod (sorry Apple) and check out the local flavors of AM/FM radio.  While scanning the waves, I came upon a Christian Soft Rock station that immediately made me want to change it because I don't really get into that kind of stuff.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love Relient K, Shawn Mcdonald, Souldancefree, David Crowder, etc.  But much of the "Christian" music today and of years past just seems really cheesy and cookie cutter.  So, while looking for a new radio station, I stopped at one playing some old school Third Eye Blind, one of my favorite bands.  And it occurred to me that I switched from a song about Jesus to a song about crystal meth and was not at all phased by it.  

Does this make me a bad person?  Of course not, I get that.  
Or how about this: I went to church this past weekend and the pastor asked the congregation what they surround themselves with; do they watch R movies, listen to "bad" music, hang out with trouble makers, drink, etc.  To me, that sounds more like, "Are you building a bubble so that nothing can come in and get you?"  I don't want to live like that personally.  I think it stems from the notion that people think what you listen to or watch is what you will become.  So if I watch a R movie I will go on a killing spree or go to strip clubs (not that all the R movies I watch pertain to that by the way, just an example!).
I believe this is more so related to maturity and self awareness.  Now, I know I am not the poster child for maturity, but I'm not going to let a song or movie or beverage control me or what I can become.  I understand it happens though, which is why I heard that sermon on why I should rid myself of all that stuff.  But why can't Christians understand why some of us can hear a non-Christian song and be okay with it?  Or drink a beer and not become a drunk and so on and so forth?
I honestly left church feeling a little bit guilty because when the pastor went off on that rant of things you shouldn't do, I might have been the only one in the 1,000 seat auditorium not nodding my head in agreement.
I don't consider myself a rebel, but I kind of felt like one that Sunday.  Anyone have any thoughts?


John said...

Sup bro, finally thought I'd take some time and leave a comment for you.

In my opinion, one of the greatest gifts God gave us is free will. Free to choose what we like/don't like to listen to or eat, free to decide what is right in our own life for a career, free to choose a relationship with God!

Individualism should never be looked down upon. We each choose what influences we want in life and no man or woman is ever the same. If someone wants to pass judgement, and we've all been guilty of this, on somebody else for whats on the ipod or whats in the fridge, they need to take a step back and think about that proverbial stone they are about to cast.

In the immortal words of Tyler Durden, you are not your khakis.

Joy And Java said...

Since when was love, grace, and faith contained in the lyrics of beautiful music, the contents of a beverage, or the arbitrary rating of a movie assigned to it my a man?

I understand (and encourage) a desire for purity, a holy heart, and righteousness. But the faith I love so dearly is NO about what I don't do. That is an Americanized interpretation of it.

Americans like rules. We like to feel like we are doing things right. We like to successfully live within a well-defined system (hi, 12 step plans). This is a generalization, of course, but a legitimate sentiment in our culture.

So, the Bible Belt has clung to this. It gives a checklist of "what Jesus would do" in our culture. But, I don't think our God is contained in a list of a pastor's rules. Pastors are simply human.

Our God is bigger than checklists. So, focus on love, faith, hope, and purity. If you live a life of love and righteousness to the best of your ability, I think you are more enveloped in Godliness than if you live a life that is not defined by love (but you only listen to Jesus radio and see G movies).

I hate to be a relativist, as there is a serious need for morality in our culture. But, morality should be rooted in love, not in the desire to please another man's expectations for our lives.

- M. Pieper

PS... I stumbled onto your blog via facebook; if you ever get bored, go ahead and read mine! hope all is well.

EJ said...

What up Mike! I just got back into 3eb again and that's all I jam out to in my car. I'm sitting there at intersections screaming my lungs out, singing "summertime hottie with her socks in the air, screaming I don't care baby I don't care". I really don't think that makes me a bad person. Let's just say I still sleep at night.

david said...

In my humble opinion, there's two issues at stake here:

1. Inluence - so obviously there's voices out there that promote values and behaviors contrary to the ones I promote. So do I keep away from those voices so as to keep my conscience unsullied? How about instead I strengthen my ability to choose whose voice I let into my head? I mean, those voices are ultimately unaviodable and if we start staying away from every "bad influence," we'd have to... what's that Bible verse? something about leaving the whole world altogether? Not a good thing. So instead, I choose not to be changed by the things I see - rather, I change the things I see. ya know?

2. Weakness - but then again, I don't always have the strength to filter out some of the more subtle influences and emotional entreaties that vertain movies, books, radio personalities, etc.. make. So I censor myself. I choose to not see certain movies because I know that I am weak to the ideas they promote. And so until I'm strong enough to view them in a way that I can be in charge of, I don't.

Quick thoughts, thanks for the interesting post. Love ya, miss ya, DL

Anonymous said...

Proud Okie born and raised!!!! HA! I love it!!!