It’s Just Music, Right?

2 comments Written on February 13th, 2012     
Filed under: Reflection
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Dominique DuBois Gilliard serves as an adjunct professor at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago where he is also working towards his Master’s of Divinity.  Dominique is an itinerant minister that facilitates discipleship sessions on community development, multiculturalism, reconciliation, and justice.  In this guest post, Dominique explores the power of music in the life of the Christian.

Have you ever contemplated the significance of the songs you sing? I don’t mean simply recalling the lyrics or how the rhythm connects them. I mean seriously considering the implications of the verbiage within songs. What the lyrics attest to, say about you, your values and beliefs? Are they an accurate reflection of who you are? Most of us probably haven’t ever given this serious consideration, and even now that the question has been raised we’ll brush it off as something not needed, because after all it’s just music right?

Most people will argue that what you listen to daily for inspiration to get out of bed and onto work, off the couch and into the gym, or as encouragement before job interviews or nerve-racking dates, are things that don’t need to be examined for meaning, because they’re just space fillers. These songs’ lyrics don’t actually say anything about who you are, what you represent, or believe in. Again, it’s just music right?

Then inadvertently what you listens to in isolation becomes public knowledge when these same songs that inspire you privately are played while you’re out interacting with the world, at parties, sporting events, or shopping malls and your caught subconsciously bobbing your heads, singing along, and jamming to the beat. Yet still you refuse to acknowledge the possible communal implications of the sentiments you’ve now publically espoused through your regurgitation of these lyrics in the midst of community. Again claiming that no reflection is needed because these song lyrics don’t connote anything about you, what or better yet who you represent, or believe in. Nobody’s thinking that deeply into it, because it’s just music, right?

Nevertheless, I’d like to challenge everyone to reflect on the possible communal repercussions of publicly articulating the sentiments which undergird mainstream music today.  What could this mean for your testimony to those around you? Do the lyrics of these songs align with the values of scripture? As youth leaders are these songs that you would proudly sing in front of your youth, and via versa? I’ve found it a great personal, as well as youth ministry practice, to provoke critical thought around normative activity. What are the implications of these activities for you, your reputation, and Christianity? How do your actions reflect God and the Church? Why aren’t these things into consideration more often? Not legalistically but for the sake of evangelistic credence.

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2 comments “It’s Just Music, Right?”

Our own voice is the most powerful shaper of who we are and what we believe. That would also mean the songs we sing – spoken words that shape our thoughts, actions and behaviors. Our words are so important and we need to be mindful of what we speak because words have power; power to create, power to shape and power to transform. Thanks so much for this reminder to remember that when we are singing we are speaking in rhythm; giving life to beliefs, honor and glory to God, our Father, Jesus our Lord and the Holy Spirit, our comforter and guide. Thanks for your reflection. 

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I think you are “right on” in your evaluation of the impact that music, raunchy and insensitive comedy and risque film we watch and listen to has on our psyche and our spirit. From time to time I will come across something I listened to years ago and thought it was the absolute funk, or hilarious. Admittedly, a part of me still enjoys it. Yet, another part of me is now repulsed by the language and I now more clearly understand the intoxication and the danger of both the music and the message.

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