Thursday, October 06, 2005

Preaching in Music: Good or Bad?

Something I've noticed in my own listening taste is that I often prefer to listen to an artist's reflections on life rather than their personal interpretation of life. I ought to say right off the bat that I'm not referring here to music sung in the context of a church, which is in itself a unique musical experience. Church music has a particular function, and I wholeheartedly commend both the function and much of the music that expresses it. I'm referring in this blog to the music one listens to in one's free time--on the bus, while cleaning, while exercising. In such settings, it seems, description, not prescription, fits best.

This is a big statement, I know, and I'm sure even as I write this that it's not as much of an absolute as I'm making it to be. That said, I do stand by this assertion. People often object to "preachy" Christian music, and while I think they usually object primarily to the content, they have something of a point. Music and preachiness just don't mix that well. Music seems to be at its best when it describes, when it reflects poetically on the world, when it digs into the stuff of life to unearth new philosophical insights and emotional experiences. It is in such territory that songwriting flourishes. We go to other territories to be commanded, rebuked, and challenged, but we draft music into our lives primarily to console and understand ourselves. The dogmatic simply doesn't fit as well with everyday music as it does in such things as speeches and addresses. In music, it is primarily description that drives our interest, for this is the unique role of music in the setting of life.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the music you listen to to get pumped ... run, play b-ball-or work up the courage to do something like- girls listening to man-hating music to work up the courage to be single?

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ESV Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.


4:28 AM  

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