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Christianity and Glam

July 9, 2008

Alright, I have to be honest here. I was born and raised a Baptist…and not just any Baptist, but the strictest sort of Baptist there is. We don’t smoke don’t drink don’t swear don’t get tattoos don’t dance in public don’t have body piercings etc etc etc…you know the deal. Go figure—Baptists also don’t listen to heavy metal.

Occasionally I have to defend myself against those “thou shalt burn in hell” looks I get whenever I share my favorite songs or albums, and I hate being put in that position. I honestly don’t see why I can’t be unrepentant about listening to Poison and still show my face in church on Sunday.

Alright, this is my spiel on music: I understand that in many ways, the things you allow yourself to listen to have a great deal of influence on your moods and ideals and how you act and who you are. I know this from personal experience. Therefore, I am generally careful about my music–every once in a while I’ll come across a song that I just cannot listen to with a clear conscience and I’ll delete it…usually if it has content that is exceedingly nasty or vulgar or disturbed or something, and I just don’t want that stuff. If you like it, thats fine, it doesn’t bother me-but I don’t need it in my life. There are plenty of other songs to listen to instead. yes, PLENTY. Metal isn’t a total wasteland of nothing but sex and drugs and meaninglessness. It never has been. In fact, the thing that attracted me the most to heavy metal is that it represents people who (like me) want to have a good time and enjoy their life, but underneath it all still wonder why things are how they are, and they want to do something meaningful with their lives.

I’m not impressed by punk rockers who spend their days yelling angrily at the world. I’m not impressed by those so-called “art rockers” who think they’re smarter than everyone else, who think they’re writing poetry and imparting wisdom no one else has…y’know, Jim Morrison, John Lennon types…

No, I listen to glam metal because it is music for normal, average people. Its the life of kids who are looking to find their own identity and live it up a little while they discover what their life is about. It tells the story of a whole generation who is looking for meaning in this world-some finding it in the sex and drugs, some getting lost in the sex and drugs. They express their confusion and their hurt and their lusts and the pain in their lives. they ask questions about the world and cry out to make it better. In short, they feel the same things I do and they struggle with the same issues. Its interesting, maybe Nikki Sixx’s situation allowed him to drown his pain with a life of extreme decadence and drugs, but in my life, I drown out my issues with the music Nikki created. I know, I know…I should probably face my issues one day, but I don’t really want to, I’ll just let myself gradually forget about them instead. Its an escape method, a way to pretend I’m not who I am-reinventing my identity for a moment-and finding some connections to the other lost souls out there. We’re all each other’s cheerleaders, singing about revolutions and pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps and not letting anything stand in our way or hold us down as we move toward what we really want in life…and maybe one day everyone will find what they’re searching for.

Finally, its just fun. I can’t overlook that most good glam metal is pretty darn enjoyable, and thats the primary reason I love it so much. It always brightens my day a little and gives me energy. Its party music–you can drive fast to it, roll your windows down, and sing along at the top of your lungs. it gives one a moment of freedom, I think. ain’t nothin’ better, folks.

You know, honestly, I think church folk could learn a lot from rockers. Many Christians never seem to allow themselves to be a part of the “real” world we live in. Instead, the shut themselves off in their own little Christian universe, with only Christian books and Christian music and all that mess. thats ok in moderation, but you can’t forget about the world outside. How can you claim to love people if you don’t even try to understand them? and how can you understand them if you never see them as anything but worthless, overly-tattooed bums, sinners without a chance, and you imagine yourself to be so much more righteous than they are? Anyway, If you listened to what these rockers (or anyone, for that matter) have to say in their music, you might actually find out a lot about how this world actually is, maybe you would be a little bit more motivated to care about people, rather than just brush them aside or shoot them down.

Thats all I have to say.

ROCK ON.

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