"classical and Christian rap"
"original music. You know, not the repetitive stuff like all the Christian music"
Within this question there lies a deeper one--"who do you serve?"
And because of this I had to say, "I don't have a simple answer to your question. I took a class last year that really changed the way I choose the music I listen to. Before taking this class my answers would have fit right in with yours because it was based on the fact that I listened to whatever music I felt like. I personally cannot do that anymore because my eyes have been opened to how deeply my music choices affect me. So now I'm in the process of evaluating my music choices and why I listen to what I do. My desire is to be intentional with what I fill my thoughts with so that it all glorifies God." Nobody was expecting this response and suddenly I had everyone's attention, whether I wanted to or not.
I mumbled a few things like how different rhythms affect a piece, or what adding harmony does. But they didn't want to hear all that, so I asked them a question:
"How do you choose what music you listen to?"
"I listen to what I like."
"What makes a piece of music appealing to you--what makes you like a certain piece over another?"
"I don't know. It just gives me something."
"Aha. It gives you something--a certain feeling, perhaps?"
"So what feeling does the particular style of music you like--heavy metal--give you?"
"To do what?"
"Like what? What would you feel motivated to do right now if you listened to your favorite song?"
"Go shoot people on video games."
"Ok. Now I have another question, what would prevent you from doing what you do on video games in real life?"
"Well that would be wrong. That would be morally wrong."
"What do you base your morals off of?"
"What I feel inside to be right or wrong."
"So you base your entire life off of your feelings and emotions?"
"Yes, you could say that."
Truth without absolutes.
"What is truth to you?"
"That's a hard question. I don't know off the top of my head..."
"Think about it. I want to know."
"Truth is what I can see. I can see this spoon in my hand, I know this is true, it is real."
"What about the things that you cannot see? The wind, the current in a river..."
"I can see the result of those things."
"Ok, what about Jesus? You're at a Christian university and the son of a professor here so surely you know who He is. Who is He to you?"
"I believe Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life because that is what He said. But what about you? Who is Jesus to you?"
Hesitantly, he says, "I don't believe in Him. I've heard all these things you've said tonight before from my dad and stuff. I don't believe it and I don't consider myself to be a Christian. I don't say this to a lot of people because I've had some bad experiences and get a lot of hate."
"That is okay. Thanks for being honest. I'm glad you told me because now I understand why you listen to the music you do--it comes back to what or Who you believe truth to be. For you, you decide truth and so you listen to whatever you want."
He serves himself, the flesh. He has made himself lord in his life and decides what is right/wrong and what truth is.
I serve God. God is my Lord and He is the one who decides right/wrong because He is Truth.
What opposite worldviews. And all this from a little conversation about music? Yes. Every choice we make comes back to who we serve and make lord of our life--self or God.
And it is a day by day, moment by moment choice. Romans 8 is makes it clear what path serving self takes you down and what path serving Jesus Christ as Lord takes you. The last few verses in Romans 7 set the stage for the power that is found in chapter 8:
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Living in the Spirit is not of our own doing, but is the work of an unseen God in our lives. The biggest evidence that He is real and He is Truth is seen through the lives of believers. The biggest thing I left that conversation with was the hurt I saw in that kid's eyes when he opened up and told me that he didn't believe in Jesus as Lord. He said he received hate when he had shared that before. This is not what believers should share with him. He is broken and he needs to receive the love of the Father. How will he know the love of the Father if those who are called God's children, bash him? Didn't Jesus command us to love others? If Jesus is truly Lord of our life, we will obey His commandments.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
All this from a simple question on the first night of college orientation weekend. This is writing with the light of Christ living within me--Praise God!
So if someone were to ask you the simple question, "what kind of music do you like to listen to?" --what would your answer be?
*Conversations are not verbatim, but cover the general progression that took place.