I love music that has a beat. I always have. My dad’s favorite type of music was southern gospel. My mother liked things a little rockier but she never strayed from gospel music in general. So most of my childhood was spent listening to Christian music and even some southern gospel music. I have nothing against southern gospel music but I can honestly say it has never moved me. (I know that did some of you in- sorry)
I’ll never forget the first time I heard a rock song. I’m sure I would have heard a rock song at some point before; however, the time I’m talking about is the first time I actually HEARD the song. It was the first time I heard the beat; the first time I felt the song move me. I couldn’t have been older than ten years old and the song was “I Love Rock and Roll” as sung by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. I was forever hooked.
I’m so thankful for parents who saw the importance of helping me find a ‘god-centered’ outlet for my love of what many people considered ‘dangerous’ music. As a teenager I became hooked on Christian Rock and contemporary Christian music in general. For a number of years I spent my own money on CCM magazine subscriptions and was constantly in the know of what artist was doing what and when various concerts and performances were being held.
Around the time I graduated high school there seemed to be a push against Christian Rock. I remember sermons being preached from ministers other than my pastor and passed around on cassette tape talking about the evils of groups like D.C. Talk, David & The Giants, Stryper and various others. For a long time I refused to listen to any of the sermons and simply decided that all of it was nonsense. Then one day I listened.
I was convicted. Convicted of a bad attitude. An attitude that said, “You’re wrong, I’m right, and I don’t have to listen to you anyway.” At the time I felt the only thing left for me to do was destroy my cassettes and CD’s. I did. I destroyed hundreds of them back before itunes existed. I left myself with hardly anything.
I was ok for a little while, but not for long. Slowly I began to listen to secular music. The style of music I craved was no longer a ‘Christian’ option and I looked for it elsewhere. I can look back on my life and honestly say that the biggest mistakes I made in my life where during the time I began to constantly listen to worldly rock, pop, techno, and alternative styles of music. It was filling a void.
Thankfully God eventually let me see that it was my own rebellious attitude that had convicted me. My conviction was not born out of the need to be removed from a particular style of ‘dangerous’ music rather born out of my sheer determination that I would not budge or move no matter what ‘preacher’ said it was wrong. When thinking about this time in my life it’s always made me a little sad. Sad because I know that my venture into worldliness through secular rock music could have been avoided.
I am in no way saying that messages from men of God caused me to do the wrong thing and take a path that was contrary to what God wanted. My incorrect response did that. What I am saying is that sometimes we can be too quick to try and ‘over correct’ and lash out against something that is really only the surface issue. Far too many times we attack surface issues and end up making things worse than they were.
For me, the surface issue was music. The underlying issue was a rebellious attitude. The music was focused on... the rebellious attitude was not. I got ride of the music... only to replace it with music that was far worse and much more detrimental to my spiritual development. The attitude had to be something God and I worked on, not something taken care of by tossing a few albums out the window.
A few days ago a friend introduced me to a Christian Rock band named Royal Tailor. I am already a huge fan. Yes, they rock... and they pop... and they dance... and they strike some pretty incredibly funky beats... and I LOVE IT. What can I say? I love rock... always have. What I love most about them is their message. The songs are more powerful than any Christian rock band I have heard recently and they cause me to reminisce.
I think of a teenage me. A teenage me in love with music and in love with Christian music and it’s ability to weave excitement and movement into worship and praise. It moves me- although at this point in my life it doesn’t have to. It moves me through the music and stirs my soul through its words.
So here I am... much older. I still love rock and roll. I love techno, pop, r&b and soul... but I try as often as possible to find outlets that cause my soul to be stirred and lifted up. I find no conviction in it because at this point in my life I don’t need anything to ‘move me’ to worship. I could worship all on my own- wouldn’t prefer to do so- but I certainly could. For me my relationship with music is a lesson in temperance. A lesson in not being so quick to ‘knee-jerk’ and cause, unknowingly, a little more discomfort and pain then needed.