More and more, I’m meeting Christians that know less and less about secular music. Whether it’s because it’s “the devil’s music” or because they simply don’t enjoy it, secular music is practically a foreign language to far too many Christians, in my opinion. Here are four reasons why Christians should listen to secular music:
- It expresses the values of the current culture you live in. For the Christian, music is one means of worshipping God. For the non-Christian, music is no different. Hip-Hop, Rock ‘n Roll, Country and Rap artists alike often sing about what they love (or worship). Streaming on Pandora are countless artists expressing their joy in and longings for love, sex, meaning, fame and fortune. Music has also often been used as a means of expressing protest and outrage in regards to a timely issue. Albums like Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are a-Changin’ and Green Day’s American Idiot are two notable records among many others that were filled with far more than catchy tunes; both albums voiced their generation’s dissatisfaction and desire for change amongst their government. By listening to secular music, we are able to gain an understanding of what our current culture worships and longs for.
- It shapes the values of the current culture you live in. Personally, corporate worship is a time for me to reflect on and respond to the Truth of Who God is, what He has done, what He is currently doing, and what He will do. Through the powerful means of beautiful, catchy music and rich, heart-felt lyrics, my thinking becomes transformed into the mind of Christ and begins overflowing in heart-engaging worship. For the non-Christian, music can have a similar power. Music not only expresses the values of culture but also has the power to shape culture. Just like meditating and reflecting on God’s Word transforms a Christian’s thinking, so can secular music for the non-Christian.
- It’s a means to relate to non-Christians. Many Christians I know don’t want to listen to pop music because it’s pointless, dirty, cheap, etc. I’m not saying buy every record that a non-Christian artist releases and play them on repeat. I am, however, saying we should see the songs of our culture not as simply pop music but as songs of worship. By listening to the songs and reading the lyrics of our culture’s songs, we begin understanding the values of the current culture we live in. This then will allow us to better be able to engage the thinking of those around us with the gospel. Jesus and Paul both engaged the culture of their day; so should we.
- Music is just shy of being a universal language. There are nearly 7,000 languages being spoken at this point in human history. Though language differences place barriers between numerous cultures and people-groups, music is one means that unites countless. Since music has such a powerful means of transcending and influencing culture, we must not ignore it; we must engage it with the gospel.
For similar content in regards to Christians living in and engaging with a non-Christian culture, check out the recent post Jesus at the Movies.