Is anyone going to mind if I get a tidge preachy for a moment? Lovely. Here goes.
I mind it, yes I really do, when Christians run around loving songs and singing along with them when they have never bothered to discover what those lyrics are actually saying. Are you with me here? I’m sure this must have happened to you before . . . it’s definitely happened to me a time or two, and I hate it. There’s some great song, you hear a snatch of it on the radio, it’s really catchy, you like the tune, and the next time it comes on you sing along with the chorus. And then you file it away under the mental category “songs I like.” But have you ever then discovered, after singing along with it about eighteen times without thinking, that it’s actually quite a despicable song when you read the lyrics? That’s really the worst.
No. I take that back. The worst is when Christians never actually DO reach the moment of discovering that it’s a despicable song . . . either because they just don’t bother, or because the cool hipness of the song has them around the neck and there’s nothing in the world that will convince them that it’s not the awesomest thing out there.
Actually, come to think of it, there’s one thing that’s even worse than that. The worst of all. That’s when the Christian knows perfectly well what the song says, but in some attempt at a James Jordan-ish (see important note in comments below!!) exegetical ninja move, they decide that the song has redemptive themes and a narratival structure of death and resurrection, which we all know is terribly Christian. That one can make me dance around in a perfect fury when I hear people do that. It’s my ultimate peeve. Because honestly, it’s not hard to discover redemptive themes and death and resurrection in basically everything. It’s like hitting the ground with your hat. We live in the world God made, and so death and resurrection are obvious themes in everything – it doesn’t mean the artist isn’t thumbing his nose at heaven, and it doesn’t somehow sanctify the rest of the trash. It’s like getting all excited because you’ve noticed that the debauched film you’re not supposed to be watching relies heavily on the use of gravity which, as we all know, was created by God. Clearly that makes no difference. I’ll bet that if I sat down and gave my mind to it, I could come up with a good argument for how there are redemptive themes involved in visiting temple prostitutes . . . but that doesn’t make it ok, obviously.
Why do I bring this up you ask? Because I’ve gotten all the way annoyed with people quoting little snatches of lyrics on their facebook pages that belong to songs that are as raunchy or as rebellious as the day is long. I don’t know if these people have never bothered to find out the context of their little quote, or if they like it anyway, or if they’re trying to act all deep about it and pretend that this is philosophically profound, but no matter what their reasons, it bothers me.
When I’ve suddenly realized that a song I like is actually a problem, it has always given me that sick feeling in my stomach. Not because the song is questionable – but because I had liked it. It’s like eating something that you thought was fantastic, only to discover that it was actually goat eyeballs or something. It’s that same kind of gross feeling. So all I can say is, read the lyrics. Seriously. Read them. It makes a difference when you look at the thing in hard print without the catchiness of the tune to make you feel like it’s ok. Obviously you can’t read the lyrics to every song you ever hear. But before you buy it on itunes, or add it to your playlist, or quote it on facebook, you should find out what it says. And like Dad always taught us . . . there are two questions that you should always ask. “What are they saying, and is it true?”