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so i downloaded a playlist of "secular" music to our church's audio computer this morning. this raised an eyebrow from a fellow sound operator, which surprised me, as the two of us in particular have been on a mission to de-cheesify the g4's itunes library.
i spent a good amount of time yesterday sifting through my own library, thoughtfully choosing songs with lyrics and music that would be appropriate to play for our church body. because that is what i do. i have never played any music from the sound board without spending actually embarrassing amounts of time listening to it beforehand. just throwing in a cd and letting it play does not work for me. not all "christian" albums necessarily contain Truth; by the same token, not all "secular" albums necessarily lack Truth. i can't deal with sweeping allowances or banishments, because most of the time, they just don't make sense, especially when it comes to music.
sometimes i've felt as if i'm all alone when throwing out challenges to really think about the lyrics we take in or breathe out. a genre label is not a sufficient nor intelligent way to sort content. corporate worship is one thing [although, don't even get me started on some of THOSE lyrics], but does it follow that all pre-recorded music played in the sanctuary must be overtly "christian"? the majority of this body is not a black-and-white, these-are-the-rules sort of people. i believe my community is not going to be shaken if i play john mayer's "heart of life" or alanis morrissette's "you owe me nothing in return" or any other "secular" [and appropriate] track. they will not freak out. in fact, i think they will appreciate the challenge and variety.
and besides, let's face it... a lot of "christian" music sucks, anyway.
i will admit that it makes me quite angry when people assume i haven't put thought into something that clearly requires a good deal of thought. [do you really think i'm going to select popular music songs at RANDOM to play at CHURCH?]. and i'm sure other sound operators will doubt my musical selections on the audio computer, after a cursory glance at the artists without even listening to the content.
as a side note, while flipping through stations the other day, i heard a commercial for a "christian" radio station. part of it said something about extolling the virtue of "being a safe radio station". really? safe? no swearing but bad theology... yeah, that's safe.
Posted on Sunday, August 5, 2007 at 01:47PM by Registered Commentermdog | Comments10 Comments

Reader Comments (10)

one of the times you blog best is when you're angry

Aug 5, 2007 at 04:15PM | Unregistered Commenterkt

kind of funny, actually.

yea, music is always a hot button. There are a number of secular songs that really work well. And I think you are very conscientious and VERY aware of lyrics. I trust you implicitly.

I do think it is wise to be careful not to offend the "weaker brother/sister." Several years ago, we played a secular song and someone came up to me and said, "The song is good, but the person who sings it ___ " and talked about some moral failure or something. It was an interesting conversation... esp in light of Christian moral failure. But it clearly was a stumbling block for her.

Much of people's resistance comes from fear.. "if we play secular music..." But I'm not currently into fear right now. :O) But I do ask, "What would Bob W, or Bob M. think of this?"

Interesting post. But I will say again, I trust you... play what you want and if it "becomes an issue" we will talk about it... it can be a good teachable moment for the congregation.

Aug 5, 2007 at 05:49PM | Unregistered Commenterpaul

kt - perhaps i'll start an angry series. rawwrrr.

paul - thanks. i think i choose to err more towards challenging than coddling. we don't get through stumbling blocks without being pressed somehow... otherwise i'd still be one of those people who thinks no one should drink. [who the hell WAS i??]. but don't worry, i won't be playing eminem through the system just yet. i'm pretty certain neither bob would like that. :)

Aug 5, 2007 at 06:26PM | Registered Commentermdog

i have played songs at church a couple times without really putting thought into what is being said.

Aug 5, 2007 at 10:26PM | Unregistered Commenteralijoon

ah, but ali. you are not an obsessive planner like me. :)

Aug 5, 2007 at 11:09PM | Registered Commentermdog

Amen... I couple of months ago we got a new deck that supports MP3 CDs, so I spent about 10 hours putting together a 200 track disk w/ a nice insert and everything... I played it one week and everything was fine, then a few weeks later when I was running again I couldn't find it, so I asked around and apparently one of the other board ops complained.

Now I just make 1 or 2 regular CDs whenever I'm running, so it doesn't matter if someone throws them away or (more likely) someone asks, 'Who's this?' and I give it to them.

Aug 6, 2007 at 09:11AM | Unregistered CommenterIan

what... they just got RID of it? i mean clearly a lot of time was put into that. appalling.

i forgo the cds and just come prepared with traveldrive. i can always re-upload deleted songs... bwahaha.

Aug 6, 2007 at 10:03AM | Registered Commentermdog

I'll play any playlist that is mdog-approved. I know you've done the thinking, so I don't have to. Plus, then I can always blame it on you. ;-) Oh, and I like your musical tastes too.

Aug 6, 2007 at 10:12AM | Unregistered Commenterjared

Oh, we so need to make a graphic for that...


Aug 6, 2007 at 11:06AM | Unregistered Commenterpaul

Elvis is a stumbling block for me.

Aug 6, 2007 at 01:01PM | Unregistered CommenterSarah

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