Does secular music present itself as a another form of preaching?


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I would argue definitively yes. Music artists do preach, and they
have fans, disciples, if you will that adopt the philosophies/worldview of these artists. So, in this regard, speaking from a cultural perspective, especially in light of what is happening all around us, I would say that music artists such as U2 do occasionaly raise some interesting theological ideals and in fact preach a message (take the song Walk On, for instance) that is influenced by, shaped by what the gist of Hebrews is about.

As a youth minister, I am constantly trying to get my teens to engage culture, to have an on going discussion what the culture that innundates them daily. I want them to filter everything through the gospel, and yet I know for the vast majority of my kids thier theologies are shaped more by what's popular in secular culture than the Word of God.


4 Responses to “Does secular music present itself as a another form of preaching?”

  1. Blogger J-Wild 

    I whole-heartedly agree. Music isn't the only form of media that espouses some sort of theological outlook but movies, books, and television all present a multitude of views. What teens don't realize is how much of their daily decisions are informed by their own "theologies." How they treat the "un-popular" kids is how they live out their theology of creation. How they serve others indicates their feelings on Social Justice. If a teen participate in the "friends with benefits" trend, that is an indication on their theology of sexuality, and so on.

    There is a great article dealing with "A Theology of Pop-Culture" that people can read here. The big challenge for me is my immediate, almost knee jerk reaction, to rejecting a lot of teen culture. I need to spend more time reflecting and trying to discern the message that resonate with my teens, and then take the gospel from there. Jesus was the master at meeting people where they were at and with stories that resonated with them.

    For example there is a song by Emenim called "White America" that is really powerful and instructive to me. Within the lyrics of the song Emenim touches on a lot of realities and reasons why so many suburban kids flock to him and his music. Yes the language is foul and the beat and tone are aggressive and disrespectful, but it's accurate to a lot of the feelings of teens out there.

    PS: Just reading the lyrics of the song don't do it justice, because Emenims’ delivery is so full of pent up angst that it's as much a part of the song as the lyrics.

  2. Blogger Jason Retherford 

    J-Wild,

    Thanks for the link to the article from YS. It's an interesting article.

    The culture we live in definitely presents a problem and an opportunity. Our choice to engage pop culture is a brave and honest attempt to be the hands, feet, heart, and voice of Christ in our world that is saturated with so much garbage.

    You are right about other outlets of media being a huge influence on our kids and they make decisions based on the values/theologies that they let into their minds.

    One thing for sure, we need to not run from pop-culture, but to become a student of culture so that we can present the gospel in relevant ways to our teens.

  3. Blogger CL 

    J and Jason,

    First of all J-Wild, welcome, man I am loving your insight. I also checked out your blog and site and loved the revolution thing, great stuff man keep it up!

    I agree with both of your assesments, and actually I find myself using some secular artist or song almost twice a month as an illustration to where we are going with the message at that time. It is so effective, I guess more than anything because it speaks their language directly, like you said J-Wild it identifies directly with (with what I think often enough is very subconcious) their personal theologies.

    Lately, I have found myself using Dashboard Confessional in our group these guys tend to really help me share the message. One song - "The Places You Have Come to fear the Most" talk about "barely getting by" and speak so much about hiding who you really are. Great stuff that speaks to our teens. Great sharing guys!

  4. Blogger tony 

    i would totally agree too. the media consumed youth culture today demands that we engage secular music as we reach and grow students. and sometimes, they can say it a whole lot better than we can, right...?
    great question, it's time we have a generation of youthworkers who aren't afraid of the culture around us...

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