What Would Jesus Blog?

Archive for May, 2012

On Heavy Music & Christian Life (pt 1 – Joy)

by on May.23, 2012, under Uncategorized

So, a very long time ago, I promised the rector at my church that I’d write a blog post to follow up on our conversation at a lunch where we discussed the role of heavy music in the life of a Christian; given the genre’s image of links with the occult, violence and anger. It rather slipped my mind, until I was at Meltdown last weekend – a fantastic Christian heavy music retreat ( http://meltdownmusic.co.uk ) – and I decided I should probably give it some thought. However, having just met a load of Christian hard music fans, I figured I’d get their input too. Saves me writing too much, right?

So, first up. Heavy music is all about anger and death and Satan, right? How can that fit with a faith in a God who is loving and caring and believes in peace and harmony? One thing that stood out from the people I know who are into this music and Christian is that they find that there is some heavy music that they just can’t listen to as Christians; I’ve certainly found that in my own life. Lisa says.. “I simply loved NIN – yet the Holy Spirit convicted me; I had to stop listening to them due to their lyrics…Some were blasphemous and so I just had to stop….”, and Michael points out that “[m]any secular tracks are incompatible with my faith. In-reality though, the soft generic lyrics of ‘middle of the road’ pop songs are exactly that; soft, so their incompatibility is generally not offensive”. Heavy music lends itself to depth and substance; that’s going to lead artists to deal with the extremes of the human condition.

But is it really dealing with it? Galatians 5:22-23 says that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”. Love, joy, peace and kindness aren’t the first words that would come to mind when listening to someone growling into a mic on top of screaming guitars and heavy drums. I think that there are two answers to this: firstly, heavy music requires you to go deeper but, as a medium, doesn’t exclude those positive things; secondly, Jesus’ language and actions were not always peaceful, so perhaps we need to rethink how we consider exactly what ‘fullness of life’ means.

Oftentimes, the joy in a heavy song isn’t as obvious as in a classic Redman praise chorus, but is a result of what’s being sung about. Lisa says “I can enjoy bands such as DC TALK (when they used to be together[)] with their song “Consume me” […] I can worship so deeply to God via that song….It brings about happy emotion, sometimes a heaviness in my heart because I want the Holy Spirit to Consume me far more than what I have allowed thus far…”. Mike points to the band Wolves At The Gate – their lyrics are very positive; discussing hope in a God who is an anchor, a steady and solid and reliable support:-

“As the waves crash over and over
You are my anchor
Every gale I meet
The plight of all the seas can’t separate me
For all I have is Yours”

Part of being stable human being is knowing where you can go and be safe; physically, mentally and emotionally. For Christians, that’s in God; for some that’s his word in the Bible, for others it’s in Hillsong, for others it’s among heavy music.

In part 2: Anger, Heavy Music and Jesus.

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