Redefining Music As You Know It

As an English student, I spend a lot of my time studying the meanings and implications of words, phrases, sentences, chapters and texts.
There are some words that are very easily defined – “candlestick”, for example, or “front door”.
Then you have words like “match” which could mean one of the following: an easily ignited cord, wick or piece of wood; to correspond exactly; to compare; a game or contest; an equal competitor; a prospective marriage partner.
And, finally, there are very subjective words. I’m going to use “music” as an example, because it’s something which society has for generations struggled to define. I’m going to put an end to any hope that we may hold for the future of good quality music by revealing to the civilised world the latest horror show to emerge from Wilson’s box of tricks – a rather scratchy cover of a Mumford & Sons song. This is my attempt at redefining [a polite word for “murdering” in this instance] music as we know it:


Salvation’s Song

The Christian music scene of today is a mixed bag. There are some extremely gifted songwriters who write very heartfelt, Gospel-focused songs and there are those who write rather more fluffy love songs which could probably be sung to a boy/girl friend [delete as appropriate].

In my opinion, a good hymn should sing of God’s loving grace, promises, sacrifice and might. I do go through phases of listening to different hymns, but this song has been at the top of my playlist for a good couple of years and is beautifully written.

Music is the Great Communicator…

Mothers sing it to send their children to sleep,
Teens use it to create and strengthen an identity for themselves,
Those in their 20s and 30s listen to it it to hang onto their youthfulness,
Those in their 40s and 50s collect and hoard it as a distraction/ a means of mid-life crisis survival,
And OAPs…well, they look for anything that will take their mind off of the imminent!

So we can conclude that everyone likes and uses music in some form/context. We can also agree that the Global Music Scene is changing from year to year, mostly for the worse [see: Glee, Justin Bieber, Jessie J] but often for the better. I’m happy to say that I have several friends who are contributing positively to the music scene of today with some delightful music. Here are just a few examples:

Dan Partridge’s thought-provoking lyrics:

Joshua Morgan’s mellow tones:

And Tom Riddell’s fantastic Video Game Medley

I often wish that I was more talented in this area – there are a lot of things that I’m fine with being awful at, but singing and making good music doesn’t make that list. I’m fascinated to watch people write songs off the top of their head, and even more fascinated to see them perform and bring joy to an audience.
I’d be interested to hear any recommendations you have in terms of good new music because there’s plenty out there for us to enjoy.


Christian Music

“As a Christian, where should I draw the line when it comes to music?”

If I were to receive a penny every time I heard this question being asked, I wouldn’t quite be a millionaire but a handsome pension would certainly be on the cards. It’s a classic issue for youth groups to address, together with healthy movie habits and the rights and wrongs of clubbing.

There are two sides to this debate; Argument a) states that we should only be listening to “Christian” music – anything beyond that is no longer glorifying God. Argument b) proposes that it is, in fact, okay for a Christian to listen to most music without dishonouring God or placing worldly values above heavenly.

I’d like to start off by looking at argument a). Most people who are of this view will immediately turn to 1 Corinthians 10:31, where Paul writes this:

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

It’s clear what Paul is saying here. Whatever you’re doing – whether it’s eating, drinking, talking, running, painting, building, chopping, cleaning, decorating, cooking…even listening to music. Whatever it is, do it for his glory because your abilities are God-given! As I write this blog I realize that I have a talent, albeit an undeveloped one, for writing. I’m so thankful for that gift, and I want to use it in a way that helps other Christians in their faith. Everything we do should be honouring God, which is why argument a) seems so convincing – surely if we are to honour God through listening to music, it has to be “Christian” music that we listen to. If it’s not for God, then it’s against him? That’s biblical, there is no middle ground.

Argument b) doesn’t contradict 1 Corinthians. Most Christians support argument b) – myself included. These are the lines it runs along:

If we were to not listen to any music other than “Christian” purely because it was written by non-Christians, where do you draw the line? Would you stop eating sandwiches that are made by non-Christians because of who they’re made by?

That was a rhetorical question…no, of course you wouldn’t. Am I going to stop watching NFL because most of the guys out there on the field are attention-seeking playboys? I love my Philadelphia Eagles, so that’s unlikely. See, some things on the earth are just intended for our personal enjoyment. God gives people the ability to write catchy lyrics and beautiful harmonies because it makes life just that little bit more fun. We need to ask ourselves why we single out music as being different from any other aspect of life. It’s so easy to think of singing and music as “worship,” but in truth everything we do is an act of worship – how we live our day-to-day lives. Most of us have far more serious issues to worry about – the most important thing to remember about this issue is its relative unimportance. It’s tempting to enter into heated debate about silly controversies, but ultimately we’re all brothers and sisters in Christ and we all share one thing in common – a love for our Lord Jesus.

I hope this has been of some help to you. If you’re not a Christian and have questions about the faith, please be inquisitive.

PS Apologies to any sandwich-makers I might have offended, I’m sure you’re all lovely people!