What Do We Do For Fun Around Here?
I spend a lot of my time talking about sacred music and holiness in worship—so much so, in fact, that I’m often asked whether it’s okay to listen to secular music at all! Should Christians ever “loosen up” and listen to music just for fun?
The short answer is: Yes!!
When I’m considering music for any given activity, I keep these three guiding principles in mind:
· Music parallels the rest of life. In our God-given humanity, we participate in many activities outside of worship—working, playing, shopping, exercising, attending sports events, going on dates with a spouse or significant other, eating, going on vacation, snorkeling…well, you get the idea. If you’re like me, you enjoy listening to music during most, if not all, of these activities (maybe not snorkeling). Here’s the key: I believe music reflects all the various aspects of life. It can represent the highs and the lows, aid in worship, and a provide soundtrack for the most mundane activity. Music expresses romantic love and can provide release for entertainment purposes. Different music is appropriate for different settings, which brings me to my next point.
· Determine appropriate context. Let’s make one thing clear: I don’t listen to Patch the Pirate on a date with my wife! I also don’t kiss my wife during an offertory. Why not? Because music and activities that would be appropriate for a date are not appropriate for worship. In most aspects of our lives, appropriateness is intuitive. We wear swimsuits to the pool, not to the grocery store. We shout and cheer at a basketball game, not in the library. Music is the same way. Appropriate use of music is required in the life of the Christian. While there are many styles of music that can be enjoyed in certain contexts, dragging some of those styles into corporate worship would not be appropriate to the occasion.
· Evaluate the message. How, then, can we determine what kinds of music we should listen to in our day-to-day routine? While it is certainly true that we should never do something that wouldn’t please God, I think there is a lot more freedom in our lives as conservative Christians than we think. That doesn’t necessarily mean that anything and everything is fair game, however. It’s still important to evaluate the message of the music in order to determine whether it should be part of your listening repertoire. Does the message still fall within the parameters provided by God’s Word? Does it promote an ungodly worldview or turn my mind to things I shouldn’t be dwelling on?
The bottom line is this: We live our lives in many different contexts, and each of those contexts carries with it an appropriate style of dress, mode of communication, and yes, choice of music. When we allow biblical principles to inform our conscience while keeping appropriateness in mind, we can enjoy great freedom in our secular music listening choices.