Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lyrics that aren't empty

Shortly after I got saved, I was still listening to secular rap music. God was still doing a lot of sanctification in my heart and this was one area I hadn’t given up. Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t show you all of your sin at once?

It was an early school morning and I picked up my friend at her house then headed to school. She was a very strong Christian. Her dad was a pastor her whole life and she grew up in the church. She had been walking with the Lord for many years.

I had the Inland Empires “hottest music” (99.1 KGGI) blaring in the car. My friend jumped in the car and off we went. I noticed that she was abnormally quiet. Then all of a sudden – in the voice that she uses when something is seriously wrong – she put her hand on the dial and turned the music down.

She looked at me and said, “Trish, why do you listen to this?”

“Hmmm…I just really like the beat.” I explained.

“Well, do you listen to the words?” She inquired.

“Well, I’m not sure. I just really like the beat.” I assured her.

“Then, how come you know all the words?” She questioned.

“I have a challenge for you, Trish.”

“Okay…”

“I want you to listen to nothing but Christian music for a week straight and listen to the words. Pay attention to them. I know you might not like the beat but just listen to the words and see how they glorify God. Are you up for that?” She asked.

“It’s a deal.” We both smiled.

From that point forward I have listened to God-honoring music. My eyes were opened to how worldly the songs were that I soaking my self in. I’m so glad that God uses friends in our lives to sharpen us.

The sound of a song is important but the most important thing for me now is the lyrics. What is it that the artist is communicating? And is it theologically sound? Does it honor God or does it glorify man? We have to ask these questions even if we are tuned into a Christian station. Not all Christian stations play music that are biblically sound. Does it have depth to it or is it like eating chips for dinner instead of a nice steak and green beans on the side with a baked potato covered with butter and sour cream. The chips don’t satisfy. They are empty calories. They have no real substance. Much of the music today is fluff. Imagine eating cotton candy for dinner. It might taste good at first but give it a few minutes and you’re certain to have a stomach ache. You get the point.

Music that is the most packed with theological truth will unfortunately not be found on your local Christian radio station. They aren’t playing it. Instead you have to find out about it by word of mouth or by going online. And it’s not the genre of music you’d expect. It’s not rock music, or classical. I’m not talking about hymns or anything like that…it’s rap!

That’s how I found out about Shai Linne. Someone at church told me about a song called “Tesify” and I emailed Shai Linne’s management group because I liked the song so much and wanted to use it on my witnessing videos and his label gave me permission to use it. You can see the video here and hear the song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxfxS_JHC2w)

Maybe you don’t care for rap or perhaps you can’t stand it. And then again, there might be those of you that love it. I’d encourage you to put your presuppositions aside and listen to this song. Someone recently sent it to me. Then I sent it to my husband and it was blaring in the house. I even think Baby Sue liked it (by the way, she is still alive and doing well - praise be to God).

I thank God for new upcoming rap artists that have very strong theological convictions and are producing songs with incredibly creative lyrics. Just imagine if you memorized one of the songs – you’d have a lot of sound doctrine in your head.

14 comments:

Charlene said...

Amen! Amen! Lyrics are so very important. I too was deep into secular music "for the beat" when I was first saved. A little over a year ago I discovered Shai Linne, and more recently Lecrae and Trip Lee and others. I've listened to Lecrae's Rebel album several times a week for the past year and I'm not even close to getting tired of it. The music is excellent but even more, the lyrics still exhort me, cause me to grow, reflect on God's Word, the tragedy of sin, the importance of repentance, and other sound doctrine. It just blows me away. Thanks for sharing, sis.

bondservant4jesuschrist said...

Haha. I totally know KGGI 99.1 FM. Not that I listen to it, but have heard it before and know people that do or have. I thought the same thing about rap music that's secular.

So many people say I like the beat and I'm like thinking yeah but listen to what they are saying, glorifying sex and money and belittling woman by calling them the equivalent of prostitutes and the word that starts with a "B."

Sometimes I'm in the car with my sister who claims to be Christian and she listens to stuff like that, it grieves me. I have called her out on it.

And even recently movie that was so foul even with the first scene a woman was full frontal nudity. I didn't want to watch it but I was there when she turned it on. And I left short after that.

I even warned her I knew what kind of movie it was. I didn't even have to see it. It's one of those spoof kinds of movies that has gross out humor.

Which is not the good kind when you have people that are "clean" like Bob Smiley, Tim Hawkins and Brad Stine that will have you laughing out loud.

It's good thing you mention Shai linne. I am not a big fan of rap, but his songs are amazing. So much theology in one sound. I would have to read all the lyrics to completely get it.

And it sounds good, too. Maybe it's not as good as the beat people might say as a secular song, well maybe need to change those into good songs, kind of like the people of Apologetix (Christian Parody Band).

I heard of Lecrae, my friend Guy played a song of his on our radio show "Truth Be Told Radio" on Blog Talk Radio and I thought it was actually Shai Linne. So I guess that means he's good, too. I guess I should try out Trip Lee, too. :P

Support our fellow brothers and sisters who do it the right way, with music, comedy, movies or whatever. Maybe it can even lead to conversation to why you listen or watch it and point back to Jesus. :)

bondservant4jesuschrist said...

Great point. I know about KGGI. I have heard it before. I live in the Inland Empire.

Also so many people say the same thing it's about the beat, like even my sister who claims to be Christian and watches really gross out comedies without a care. These things belittle woman and our foul and they are so gross not even funny.

Funny is Bob Smiley, Tim Hawkins, Brad Stine. Clean comedians.

I heard of Shai Linne and Lacrae. I had their music played on my radio show. Haven't heard Trip Lee, yet.

Lyrics, words have meaning and are important, they get in your head, whether you really are trying to pay attention or not.

Like you said garbage, it's feeding you.

I'm not a big fan of rap, but the theology of people like Shai Linne is great and you can learn a lot. I think the beats are pretty good, too, maybe not as great as the world, but hey the world has it's own agenda, too.

I hope you all will support our brothers and sisters in Christ who make music, movies, comedy, whatever entertainment or field. They work real hard doing what they do.

It's far easier to make millions of dollars in the secular world. But support a Christian and maybe it will all point back to Christ. Hopefully somebody will get saved also. :)

Azou said...

Interesting to see fundamentalism in the infant stages. Slowly isolating you from the rest of the world and sealing your mind from contrary thought. A tad chilling.

The Molters said...

The content of the lyrics must be considered. While not specifically speaking of music, Philippians 4:8 is an excellent guide for musical lyrics: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Obviously, the best kind of music is that which praises and glorifies God. It is the lyrics that determine whether a song is “acceptable” for a Christian to listen to. If anything leads you to think about or get involved in something that does not glorify God, it should be avoided.

Fish with Trish said...

This email came in...

Wow Trish, your testimony about music is very similar to mine! I was just talking to a new Christian friend last night about all of this!!!

After I got saved, about 6 yrs ago, I gave Christian music a try after hearing MercyMe's "I Can Only Imagine". That song spoke to my heart and I cried every time I heard it. I didn't think I could give up secular music like hip-hop and country music (I listened to it all.) but I decided to give KLTY a try and listen to it non stop for a week. Believe me it was hard. When a song came on that I didn't know, which at first was often, I was tempted to go back to KISSFM and jam out to songs I was familiar with. But the Holy Spirit keep telling me to keep trying. I realized that my Spirit was being lifted with every song through the lyrics. The Christian lyrics encouraged me in my walk with God, to seek Him more.

Shortly after that, I completely stopped listening to all secular music and haven't turned back. I realized that I could find all the genres of music with Christian music...rap, hip-hop, rock, contemporary, etc. Country music is the only one that I've had trouble with. For example Carrie Underwood claims to be a Christian and I love "Jesus Take The Wheel" but her some of her other songs don't reflect her believes. Most country Christian artists are that way so I just don't have any country artists that I am a fan of. I might see a music video on Gospel Music Channel from a country artist and enjoy it but that's it.

I have heard of Shai Linee but don't know his music. I know of other Christian rappers like KJ-52, Manafest, LeCrae but don't listen to them regularly. I enjoy more hip-hop Christian aren't like TobyMac, Group 1 Crew, etc.

The thing that amazes me is that I talk to some Christians and they don't listen to Christian music at all. I guess, the only Christian music they know is from church and they don't know that they can enjoy Christian music outside of church.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Your sister-in-Christ!
Gina

Fish with Trish said...

This email came in...

Wow Trish, your testimony about music is very similar to mine! I was just talking to a new Christian friend last night about all of this!!!

After I got saved, about 6 yrs ago, I gave Christian music a try after hearing MercyMe's "I Can Only Imagine". That song spoke to my heart and I cried every time I heard it. I didn't think I could give up secular music like hip-hop and country music (I listened to it all.) but I decided to give KLTY a try and listen to it non stop for a week. Believe me it was hard. When a song came on that I didn't know, which at first was often, I was tempted to go back to KISSFM and jam out to songs I was familiar with. But the Holy Spirit keep telling me to keep trying. I realized that my Spirit was being lifted with every song through the lyrics. The Christian lyrics encouraged me in my walk with God, to seek Him more.

Shortly after that, I completely stopped listening to all secular music and haven't turned back. I realized that I could find all the genres of music with Christian music...rap, hip-hop, rock, contemporary, etc. Country music is the only one that I've had trouble with. For example Carrie Underwood claims to be a Christian and I love "Jesus Take The Wheel" but her some of her other songs don't reflect her believes. Most country Christian artists are that way so I just don't have any country artists that I am a fan of. I might see a music video on Gospel Music Channel from a country artist and enjoy it but that's it.

I have heard of Shai Linee but don't know his music. I know of other Christian rappers like KJ-52, Manafest, LeCrae but don't listen to them regularly. I enjoy more hip-hop Christian aren't like TobyMac, Group 1 Crew, etc.

The thing that amazes me is that I talk to some Christians and they don't listen to Christian music at all. I guess, the only Christian music they know is from church and they don't know that they can enjoy Christian music outside of church.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Your sister-in-Christ!
Gina

Azou said...

The holy spirit: working hard to help adjust your musical tastes!

Now THAT'S what I call divine power!

Shannon said...

Well.... I have to say, it's never been my first choice in style of music, but I cannot deny that it's full of good doctrine, and soooo much better than the ridiculous fluff that has caused me to quit listening to Christian radio altogether.

I really miss good lyrics.

Thanks for sharing.

Stormbringer said...

I have long advocated the power of music. People's thoughts and behaviors are shaped by their choice of listening material. They listen to obscene, violent, sexual, materialistic and whatever else and then have much less power to deal with situations in a positive manner. Or even become productive members of society.

Years ago, I did an experiment similar to yours. I gave up the rock and roll, and only listened to classical (I think I did this for a month). There was a definite change in my perceptions and attitudes.

Having lapsed into secular ways, I recommitted my life to Christ and lost interest in my music collection. Instead, I'm listening to Christian music. There's a style for anyone who wants a positive influence in their speakers or headphones if they'll use it.

Raptor Rider said...

I was wondering if anyone knows of any Christian industrial bands. Probably not but I thought I'd ask. I used to listen to bands such as Korn, Disturbed, Rob Zombie, etc. I enjoyed there sound, but there lyrics were obviously vile.

Stormbringer said...

I don't know if they're "industrial", but there are some extreme metal Christian bands ("metal core") such as August Burns Red, Demon Hunter, I Am Terrified, The Devil Wears Prada, etc. Take a search online for RadioU, a Christian network that broadcasts hard rock and metal, you can listen live online. Hope it helps.

T3CHNOboy said...

Thanks Trish for revealing Shai to alot of us here. I've noticed that people are talking about 'positive music' based on Phil 4:8...personally I believe that positive music doesn't do anything for you unless its about Christ...there's alot of positive lyrics (in both the 'Gospel' and secular markets) but if it doesn't praise the Son of God, its probably not Christian. As I said this is my view, I'm not saying its divinely inspired or anything

T3CHNOboy said...

Thanks Trish for revealing Shai to alot of us here. I've noticed that people are talking about 'positive music' based on Phil 4:8...personally I believe that positive music doesn't do anything for you unless its about Christ...there's alot of positive lyrics (in both the 'Gospel' and secular markets) but if it doesn't praise the Son of God, its probably not Christian. As I said this is my view, I'm not saying its divinely inspired or anything