In my previous post about Listening to Music with Swear Words, I discussed how listening to music with swear words is an okay thing to do. At the risk of making things worse or more confusing, I’d like to follow up with a bit of a clarification: I’m arguing that listening to a song with swear words is okay, but I’m saying there’s a difference between listening to a song simply as an experience of human emotion and recognizing how our flawed humanity fits into the human experience with others, versus jamming out to songs with terrible messages and convincing oneself that these things are true while idolizing people telling these lies.
There are some obvious exceptions to the idea that listening to music with swear words is okay. It’s hard to see the good in a song that belittles and objectifies women and glorifies a life filled with drugs, sex, and violence. That message can be very influential to people trying to fit into a culture that tolerates those ideas and themes, and can be damaging to the worldview and attitude of those to whom these songs seem “cool”. I think the only worth that these songs have is to indicate where our efforts of prayer and evangelization need to be focused. Obviously, the people making these songs and those lauding them for what they’ve made have a disordered view of life and the dignity of the human person. Therefore, I think recognizing that this is going on and providing a counter-narrative is better than sweeping it under the rug and pretending it doesn’t exist. As I’ve stated, humanity is messy and the way to righteousness is a long and difficult journey filled with questions and confusion.
I guess what I’m getting at with all this is that while KLUV Christian radio is all well and good, there is more to life than that. Yes, “Jesus loves you,” is an incredibly powerful and important thing to hear, but what makes it important and powerful is understanding why it is important and powerful. Without Christ, we are nothing. Without his guidance, all we have to look forward to is the next worldly thrill which just doesn’t quite seem to satisfy; all we have is a life spent searching for something meaningful by distorting reality in a vain attempt to find relief from the pain of our flawed humanity. Only in Christ can we find true rest, and only through the experience of the imperfect human condition can we understand what it means to find true rest in Christ.
By sharing our own spiritual groanings with the world, we share in being human. As I said before, life is about seeking truth, and by the very nature of humanity, seeking truth involves navigating through the treacherous terrain of life on Earth. During this journey, some of the earthly lamentations of God’s pilgrim Church will be expressed in imperfect ways through works of art and expressions featuring adult themes. It’s my opinion that this is a natural part of life, and that these expressions should be witnessed by others in order to identify issues in society or to prompt an awakening of the spirit. Humanity is united through the Spirit. From Christ crucified, we are gathered together, invited into communion with one another and with God by letting down walls, sharing in each other’s messiness, and coming together with an attitude of love. The expressions of angst in songs with swear words are, in my view, a longing for love and acceptance. The artists of these songs with swear words are letting down their walls, showing their own brokenness, and, whether they say so or not, are asking to be loved in return. Is the most important thing to a Christian not love? Therefore, I hold the opinion that listening music detailing some of life’s messiness (within reason, of course) is a beneficial part of the human experience, especially that of a Christian.