Sunday, 27 April 2014

The Heart

Let's talk about music.  I want to pose a question to y'all. I'm not yet sure what the question is but hopefully I'll get there... I would really appreciate it if you would comment below so we can get a bit of insight on this topic.
I listen to a wide variety of secular and Christian music and I truly appreciate musical talent and skill.  I don't particularly enjoy music you'll hear on the radio (unless it's Matthew Mole - and he's on the radio a LOT).  I love to listen to music that brings in unconventional instruments, chord progressions, arrangements or unconventional and intentionally and thoughtfully-written lyrics.  In the past week I have found myself challenged with drawing a line. I have been listening to some great music but then hearing the lyrics and having to ignore what is being sung... Do I keep listening to the song or do I hit next? Do I continue listening to the album or stop listening to that band's music altogether?  Ahhhh what to do!? So much to think about! Let's just pretend I never heard the song and go back to ignorant bliss!
No ignorant bliss for you, suckers! ;) I feel that this is a heart issue and I think we have our first question.  How much does the heart of an artist/band affect the music and lyrics that are being produced? [1]
Jeremiah 17:10, I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.
Two bands who have got me thinking: Vampire Weekend and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. We know they are secular, so we are not going to expect their lyrics or intentions to uphold the name of Jesus. But when God, or Christianity is brought into their lyrics in a possibly blasphemous way, what do we do?
Another question could be, How much does the music you listen to affect you? Does it affect your behaviour, your mood? Do the lyrics inspire you to change or act upon something, negatively or positively? [2] This goes for secular and Christian music... Do lyrics, the actual music or a combination of the two resonate with you in a particular way?
Vampire Weekend's, Worship You (, and Edward Sharpe's, I Don't Wanna Pray ( really got me thinking... Now these are both bands that I LOVE and listening to their music puts me in a good mood, but I am left with such a foul taste in my mouth when my God is mocked.  It is a challenge, because listening to these songs requires some introspection and checking of my faith. They are musically and skilfully brilliant but I get the heeby jeebies when I realise what I'm listening to/singing along to.  My solution, if you will, is now to pray for these talented peeps to meet Jesus!:D
Matthew 12:36-37, I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. - My main man, Jesus.
So for me, it comes down to heart.  I am weary of what I proclaim and speak over my life.  If I want to listen to secular music, I need to make sure that my heart is secure in God and that the power of a sweet double-bass and banjo duo won't overwhelm my focus on Jesus. Because Jesus is so much sweeter and we are, of course, here on earth to proclaim His name and His good news!
I'm not sure if I asked the right questions, but feel free to comment anyway! :)
Love Sammy


  1. Aaaah, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros ... can you see the hearts in my eyes?
    Here's my take on "I don't wanna pray" and other songs like it, and by 'songs like it' i mean songs that sing about religion or more specifically Christianity without blatantly saying anything against it, or more importantly against Christ.
    Firstly I think it's important to listen. These artists are voicing the opinion of many who don't have a personal relationship with Jesus. So for instance, the song 'I Don't Wanna Pray' reminds me to not be 'religious' about my beliefs, and actually PRACTICE what i hear preached. To show that i'm a Christian by loving and forgiving and actually, purposefully acting out Christ within me, and not just saying i pray and love God but nothing in my life ever resembles that. In their song 'Home' they sing "Chocolate candy / Jesus Christ, ain't nothing please me more than you". That line could sound blasphemous, but i don't think it's necessary to be offended by lines like that. Before i knew God as my comfort, security, encouragement, hope, salvation, 'Hero' ... i thought i could get it from a partner too. Heck, sometimes i STILL have to remind myself that i can't. My point is that lines like that lead me to praise God that i don't need anything from anyone besides Him, which often leads me to pray for others to realise the same thing. God most definitely sees our heart behind everything, but i think we often forget that he sees the heart behind the broken and lost as well, and many musicians have their own struggles with trying to figure out how He fits in to everything. They have their own reasons for that. So the way i see it is, unless the lyrics are blatantly blasphemous, i try to see things from their point of view, and ask myself what it is that i know about God that makes me disagree with what they're saying. Anything can point you more in the direction of Christ, which is never a bad thing. However, we have the Spirit's help in discerning when something makes us uncomfortable or when it's particularly unhelpful, and we should always listen to that above all.

  2. Thanks for this insightful response, Joleeene! :) You've raised some really great points. I love that you brought the Holy Spirit into the equation - that's what spurred me on to write about this topic in the first place! I believe that when listening to these songs, the 'bleh' feeling I got was more than likely the Spirit giving me a red light in a way.

    The way you've explained your perception is a really interesting and merciful way to look at secular music. I like it. My problem came in when I found myself singing 'I don't wanna pray' out loud because it was stuck in my head (as any good and catchy song finds itself). The Lord is revealing to me more and more the impact that spoken word has on our lives.

    Romans 10:9 'That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved'. - Now that is hectic for me... That the words you speak (as well as what you believe, obvs) are imperative to your salvation. And looking at Matt 12:36-37, this just clarifies the urgency and importance of the words we choose to speak. And I find myself speaking/singing careless words all the time.

    The way I view it is that even if the meaning/s of the lyrics are not intended to be blasphemous but merely contemplative, not loving the Lord with your heart, soul and mind AND proclaiming that is blasphemous in its own right. So needless to say, I am trying to get other songs stuck in my head now :P

    That is why I think it's a matter of the heart and of guarding ones heart... Being sensitive to the Holy Spirit when we find ourselves speaking seemingly meaningless words into our lives.