Steve Mass – Staff Worship Leader
I’m a huge fan of music. I know…big shock there. But really, aside from Swedish Death Metal Polka, I can appreciate/tolerate most music I hear. I grew up in the 90’s when TLC, Boys II Men, Backstreet Boys, Limp Bizkit, Smashing Pumpkins, and many others, were topping the charts.
Not growing up in church, I wasn’t really shielded much from any particular music genre. My mom loved bands like Michael Jackson and the Carpenters, and my Dad was a fan of Steely Dan & Spyro Gyra, and I can recall a time that my sister and I may have been recorded singing Hanson and Spice Girl songs. I pray those videos have been burned and buried 😐 I loved all types of music. Sometimes from a lyrical standpoint or sometimes I just really liked the sound of the music. But the one thing I began to notice was that songwriters were writing songs that came mostly from life experience, or someone they knew and their life experience.
Sometimes, as Christians, we can become too sheltered from the world that we live in. We choose not to listen to only Christian radio, watch only Christian movies and so on. Obviously some are very inappropriate, but sometimes, being somewhat cultured will help us have relevant conversations with those who we’re trying to reach. I recently read Judah Smith’s book, Jesus Is ____, and someone asked him once, ” Judah, do you know any pimps?” His response was “no”. He was then asked “Do you know any strippers?” Judah was becoming slightly confused and a little concerned where this was going. The guys final response was, “Yeah, me either”, with a look of sorrow. Loving people comes with understanding who they are and where they came from.
Music can be a direct line in to the mind, heart and souls, of those singing the songs and to those who can relate to the song. It’s the heartbeat of the people that Jesus asks us to love. Not to champion the ideas, necessarily, but to be an advocate for their souls. I know that it can be dangerous territory and I think that we need to use discernment creating boundaries to protect our minds and hearts, but think that if we completely separate ourselves from the secular world that we will be cutting off a a big way to sympathize or even empathize with people. As Christians we need to remember that cutting ourselves off from the rest of the world isn’t the answer for making it a better place. We were born in the world not of the world, and we need to love ALL people that live in it.