Tuesday, December 8, 2009


There are two areas of my life where my actions visibly contradict the principals taught me by my parents. The first one is language, swearing, and this is not an inequality of principals by my own lack of internal consistency. The other area is - I think - the result of an inequality of principals. Or, at the very least, a difference of opinion. This is music.

I was first introduced to music by Brianna, during her super-senior year. She had an iPod then, because she was "going to college" (DL courses) and she had - I don't know where - picked up some non-parental music. Here's how far removed the CD was: it had drums. And electric guitar. You ready? It was MercyMe. GASP! Yeah, okay, so that was basically the first time I heard music that wasn't a hymn, when I was - what? - twelve or thirteen. When Bri went to college, because she had her music on her computer, she left the CD at home, and I found it and played it and was - at first - alienated by every song except I Can Only Imagine. My mom liked I Can Only Imagine so it felt safe to listen too. Gradually, I started liking the other songs on the album, I started being less alienated by harder beats and (gasp!) electric guitars, I started liking that music. Then, when I got my own computer, it was easier for me to listen to music without my parents having to know what I listened to. I started using Pandora, beginning with just a MercyMe station, expanding, gradually, based on suggestions from friends and Pandora itself.

Today, my dad asked to see what was in my iTunes library, and I felt like I was hiding stuff from him. So I showed him everything, but I was deceitful. If he didn't ask about a band, I didn't tell him. I'm sure there are things in there he wouldn't be happy about (Skillet, for example). My mom would be even more horrified, probably at half of my music collection, simply because it makes use of an electric guitar. After he had seen "everything" (you know the type of hiding I was doing, the kind where you show your mom how well cleaned up your room is and hope that she doesn't notice the bulges under the rug), he told me "Don't get any more secular music without asking me first." ... of all the music, he openly disapproved of only one sampling, and that was a U2 song.

I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my parents love me and want what's best for me. So why is it that I feel so cramped and feel the need to hide things when it comes to music? I shouldn't, is the answer, unless I know I'm doing something they wouldn't approve of. The difficulty is that we have totally different views of music. Totally. There is an inequality or viewpoints, and so I feel like I'm cramped when I have to conform to their views. Like I said, this is the only issue where I dislike the cramped feeling, with language, I'm glad for it because I know that it's right. Here, though, I'm not so sure. My parents have never showed me any bible verse that says that electric guitars are bad. We both agree that whatever things are good and just and lovely and without reproach are things upon which we should meditate... we just disagree about whether or not certain styles of music qualify.

For my part, I find U2 to be one of the better bands at getting me to think about those things which are good and just and lovely and without reproach. Sometimes it's actually the cliched worship songs that cause my mind to wander where it shouldn't - out of boredom of critical analysis of the cliched-ness of the song. The music I listen to reflects who I am, and I want it to reflect godliness. There might be some music that I get rid of, but I don't want it to so that I conform to my parents ideal... I want it to be because of a conviction that the music I'm listening to isn't uplifting.

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