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From the Piano Man to the Prodigal Son

Why I choose to listen to Christian Music: Part 2

Some people say they only listen to music for the beat and don’t care about the words.  I find that hard to believe. For me, the melody is only as good as the lyrics that go with it.  The beat may grab you, but it’s the lyrics that pull the heart strings. The emotions conveyed in a pattern of chords carries only as far as the verses can carry them. I listen to the words in a song because the words speak to my heart, my soul, and my circumstances.

Even in Junior High and High School, I cared deeply about what a song had to say. There were many songs I listened to with strong, positive messages about family life, relationships, risk-taking, and so on.  Harry Chapin’s song Cat’s in the Cradle immediately comes to mind; it is an exceptional song about prioritizing family over work and the consequences of failing to do so. Keep On Loving You by REO Speedwagon is among the countless songs inspiring shy people like myself to overcome circumstances and take a chance to find love!

The majority of songs on the radio were not overtly bad, but they contained subtle immorality. There might be a little mild profanity such as Too Much Time On My Hands by Styx. Kenny Rogers' huge hit The Gambler glamorized (well, obviously) gambling. Drugs and alcohol were commonly referenced in song after song, but the most common little sin... was lust.

Some of my favorite songs spoke of subtle lust:  In Lady by The Little River Band: “You’re there on the dance floor making me want you somehow”; Meatloaf’s Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad: “I want you, Oh, I need you, but there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you”; Tommy Tutone’s 867-5309 – “Jenny, don't change your number, I need to make you mine”.  Of course for a lot of the M-TV and VH-1 era of songs, once you saw the video the lust was no longer subtle!

A high percentage of the songs on the radio focused on ‘hooking up’, ‘breaking up’, or ‘making up’, not exactly the type of topics that young people need to be obsessing on.

As a Christian, I gravitated towards popular songs that appeared to have Biblical references: Portrait by Kansas, Longer and Leader of the Band by Dan Fogelberg, and many others-- all sounded vaguely Christian, possibly describing Jesus. I was yearning for music that also captured my beliefs, not just my hormone driven emotions.  I wanted something beyond hymns played on an organ or campfire songs like Kum Ba Yah.  I wanted songs that sounded like Rock and Roll, but spoke of the immovable Rock of Ages!

Read Part 3 of From the Piano Man to the Prodigal Son: Why I Choose to Listen to Christian Music

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Copyright 2015 Patrick Bain All Rights Reserved.

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. Colossians 3:16 (ESV)

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