As I'm still getting back into the routine of writing here regularly, I also need to resurrect some of my regular features- one of which are 'Music Monday' posts. Here, I'll usually offer some thoughts on a song or a an artist just to stimulate deeper thoughts when we listen to music that sometimes we take for granted as just background noise.
I'm not going to do that today though.
Last weekend I read this article at Relevant Magazine by Marc Barnes about how music critics don't "get religion". (As an aside, a whole blog is dedicated to the media coverage of religion, or lack thereof. I wonder if Marc would be interested in starting a similar site focused solely on music.) He hits the main points I try to with these posts- that if you listen carefully, you can glean spiritual, religious, or even explicitly Christian themes and messages. Some artists are more overt, others subvert. But when headliners or Grammy winners (see, Chance the Rapper) turn to religion, the typical music critic doesn't know how to treat that material.
I'm never going to be the next Lester Bangs (or his protege Cameron Crowe, yes 'Almost Famous' is one of my favorite movies). When I listen to music I fail to hear the "[infused] angularity, with an industrialized blur of motion" (quoted from one review in the article). I don't even know what that means. But what I do hear are themes of redemption, hurt souls crying out for hope, and finding peace in a higher power. If you listen carefully enough, you'd be surprised how common these themes are. Does that make them explicitly 'Christian' in content? Sometimes, but usually not. So it is up to us, as believers who live to be salt and light, to search out the redemptive qualities of the secular space and to highlight those to the rest of the world so they may understand "the reason for the hope that we have" (1 Peter 3:15)