Friday, July 1, 2011
He Sings Over Us With His Love
The common practice is to accept this as harmless and even, in some fashion, right. Hogwash.
Personally, I feel that line is one which had to have been concocted by someone of just such an age; the minions to whom this sounded good jumped on the band wagon and took up the battle cry. It was probably an idiot from my own generation, who are now parents (or old enough to be) and have lived with this fable long enough to unwittingly accept it as the truth. Plus, it gives you "cool points" to let children have their way - for those who care.
As I began this conversation with my daughters, I informed them that they are entering into an age of personal freedoms, responsibilities, and accountability and would need to begin thinking about how they will be handling a great number of things. We discussed a few, advancing towards this subject of music. In our family, we have found it best to address the foolishness of youth. The intention is never to insult them or this particular age-group, rather our designs are to alert them to the pitfalls of their new terrain and the mindfulness that will benefit their walk. For better or worse, scientific studies and statistics prove out the precariousness of decision making in the young, from driving records to credit card handling to cognitive maturation.
We want our children to be thinkers, and our goal is not only to encourage them to do so, but to verbalize this goal to them so that it is deeply impressed into their hearts and minds. Questioning, seeking, extending ourselves are all healthy endeavors to which we should willingly yoke our hearts and minds. And to all this, we should bring the Scriptures to illuminate and see how everything bears up under its light.
I have been hearing these whiny complaints from my kids concerning the repetitiveness of Christian radio - true enough. However, if we were to listen to secular stations, the same will often be found. In perusing the lyrics of a number of songs by "popular" artists - Lady Gaga, Train, Justin Bieber, Matt Nathanson, Beyonce, Rhianna, Shakira, Alicia Keys... I found I didn't even want my girls to look upon these words. And yet, they are played on radio stations over intercom systems in dentist offices, beauty salons, and malls, and I am sure that my children are familiar with some of them despite our sheltering. Rising above my reticence, I determined we should approach this squarely and head on. So, I decided to read the lyrics out loud and ask if they recognized any of these songs. While there were a few that I was certain that they would identify if they heard the beat, they drew blanks on their own. And therein lay the key.
We all love catchy tunes and melodies. If an artist succeeds in creating something that hooks us and remains bopping around in our minds long afterwards, he's attained success. The problem we find usually lies within the words that accompany the harmony. Here is where our discernment comes in and our decisions are played out. Will we mindlessly nod our heads and hips to what we know is wrong because we like the beat? Or will we weed out that which is not edifying, and seek that which is? The common and recurring themes of girls moving their bodies and guys being encouraged to watch them do so was unequivocal and embarrassing for us all to hear, but couple it with a jazzy groove and they'd very well have supped up without hesitation.
My girls asked for me to review the words for several other songs, and I quickly looked them up and read to them. After a while, one would think of a song and the other would identify it as unacceptable before I even began typing. We did find some perfectly fine ones as well, and I think it was good for my kids to hear that I am not opposed to secular music, just anything that tears away at the strength and resolve we need to walk in The Way. This past Sunday's sermon (dated 6/12/11) tied in wonderfully by its explanation of how the psalms connected to the music of life for Jews before and during the days of Jesus. Our lives should be hymns of praise, crying out, and worship today as well.
*The LORD your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in His love He will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.
He sings over us. What do we sing back in response? What songs are on our lips? In our hearts? In our steps? And even in our hips?