Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sympathy for the Devil

Today someone I know mentioned that he was praying for his son to fail at his current occupation. His son is a musician. This occupation is, in his opinion, un-Christian, and the music the band plays is also awful and un-Christian. Oh, and it protests war, which is also bad for some reason. Now, if the boy was singing about God and nice Christian things, like holiness and how Jesus died for us and heaven is a cummin and playing nice wholesome venues like churches, there would be no problem.

I admit that when I heard this I was so startled I almost started crying. But no one hesitated to pray for him to be taken out of the godless environment of rock music. I prayed for his protection, which was the only thing I could think of.

I’ve listened with some astonishment to similar opinions of popular music. Some people gave up their music collections when they converted and never listed to rock music again. One person mentioned bonfires of CDs.

I. don’t. get. it.

Give up The Rolling Stones to listen to Michael Card?

I think not.

There’s more true religious feeling in Sympathy for the Devil than there will ever be in My God is Awesome. One talks about the problem of evil in an imaginative way with great musical finesse; the other is, well, self-congratulatory pious dreck from the la la land of happy shiny Christians.

I don't want to downplay the dangers of the lifestyle, which has many pitfalls I have not doubt, or the misogyny and other reprehensible sentiments found in some music, but the dismissal of incredible, fabulous, creative works of genius because they aren’t “christian” makes me so very ill.

And I’m going to stop there, because my heart is still sore for this young man but being angry, resentful, and critical doesn’t help anything.


  1. Great thoughts. I'll keep reading your blog.

  2. No Alice you should be angry and you should tell the American One Eyed Mullahs exactly why you are angry. You are right about the lifestyle pitfalls but the narrow self rightous attitudes that cause this kind of thinking are not about loving the God or the neighbor. they are about power. Which is decidedly unchristian.

  3. Good music is good music. Christian or not. My husband has a massive CD and record collection. Some of his secular recordings have more depth and Christianity in it than Christian songs. I like praise and worship music. But I like other stuff too. I love ABBA-especially Money-Money-Money, and Thanks for the Music.

  4. I am a Catholic and I don't see anything wrong with playing rock music. It may sound bad to others but to the person who loves it, it may sound good. I for one don't love rock music but I don't condemn it either. It's just I prefer soft music. I pity that boy who has been misjudged personally just because of his music. Who knows he might be praising the Lord in a different way. Anyway, who are we to judge him?

  5. I'm so impressed at how being mad makes you so eloquent - I find it usually reduces me to fuming and spitting: "self-congratulatory pious dreck from the la la land of happy shiny Christians." is the best sentence I've read in a while. And I'll pray for the rockers to keep rocking too....

  6. I like some of the rock and roll music and if the lyrics are good then fine but a good question is
    where would he be playing this music? Probably in a bar.

  7. The worst part of it is, the opposition and antagonism from these concerned, praying Christians is likely to drive the young man away from God. Then they'll blame the music.

  8. right after 911 a bunch of us clergy gathered to talk about the day in north new jersey. we went around the room telling the story of where we were when we heard the news.

    i was amazed at how many people were listening to their xtian rock stations when the news was broadcast. others had on npr.

    when it was my turn i told them that i had turned on the rock and roll station because i wanted to hear some creed!

    i'm gonna pray for this son to be successful at the gift that God has given him.

  9. I remember an English prof taking on a fundie in class who was complaining that our Modern Lit. reading list wasn't "Christian". She eloquently shared her belief that all good art teaches us something about the human condition and that in so doing it is inherently "moral" if not Christian and that the challenge for Christians was to discern what succeeded in doing this and what didn't. She was way more eloquent than that but it was absolutely a liberating moment for me. Not to mention that the very act of creation is in fact an imitation of the Divine.

    I agree with brucea...the thing that parent should fear (but doesn't)is how his lack of love and judgement are potentially pushing his child away. Holy MOG. Stuff like that makes me crazy.

  10. No need for anger, simply pray that people find the path that God has chosen for them, and an anti war song, could be a very christian thing. There is never any sense in getting angry or praying that one fails cause that hurts more people than you could imagine. The simple prayer that they find their path in life is much more fulfilling to everyone.

    Just my thoughts,


  11. I have just never understood the "Christian ghetto" mentality at all. Sigh.

    On another note: You won't believe this, but I was going to write a post on my own blog tonight with the exact same title as yours (albeit talking about something entirely different) -- darn; now I need another title.;-)

  12. Your entry made me think of this book by liturgical theologian Don Saliers and his daughter Emily (one of the women in the Indigo Girls!): A Song to Sing, A Life to Live

    I've heard nothing but great things about it, though I haven't had a chance to read it yet myself.

  13. Good for you..three of my children are making their way in the secular music buisness, it requires dedication and committment, and it needs committed Christians to bring salt and light...I love Rock music, and classical music and everything inbetween...what makes my blood boil is that so often Christian groups produce badly played and rehearsed stuff and we are all suposed to aplaud because the lyrics are about Jesus.
    We must drop the ghetto mentality and stop retreating into holy huddles and start connecting.
    I add my prayer to yours for this young man!

  14. gah!

    We christians are appalling people sometimes.

  15. The idea of a father literally praying for his son's professional failure is so depressing. He shoud be reexamining his beliefs once they have brought him to such a place. Of course, my Baptist father prayed for my failure in graduate school because reading any books besides the Bible was bound to lead to evil.

  16. Burning good CDs is akin to sin for me... Actually, it's not, but it still hurts to think about. Music is my life; I don't know what I'd do without good old rock-n-roll.