Hymns…And Other Muses
This is also going to be a little off from my usual subject matter, but i feel a need to write about it, anyway.
So up until yesterday, I had an electric organ in my bedroom. It was really cool, too…two keyboards, lots of fun buttons and foot peddles…It was a lot of fun to play with, but I was just never home to do it and never practiced enough to master it. And finally, my parents decided the thing needed to go, so they’re packing it up and taking it to my grandmother in Salisbury. Go figure—as soon as that thing leaves, I have a strong urge to play it.
Instead, I had to “settle” for the old out of tune piano (we have more instruments in this house than any one needs to know about), so I sat down and played through my mom’s hymnbook this morning, then I stole some chords from Phantom of the Opera and made up a new song, which is pretty impressive considering I’m a terrible pianist. It has been such a long time since I’ve sat down and played just to play…not to practice, not for a recital, not to teach someone else…just to play for the love of music. It was really refreshing.
Anyway, the hymns. I was playing “Be Thou My Vision” and it really struck me how amazing these old hymns are, and yet I take them so for granted because I’ve been hearing them for oh, 21 years now. They have truly beautiful melodies and the lyrics are almost always perfect…I always imagine the writers actually standing and looking at God as they write…how else would they come up with imagery so lovely? I only wish I could see what they see…
It also struck me that a Christian hymn is the direct antithesis to a rock song. maybe that is a wierd thing to say since i love both, but it is kind of true.
Rock music is a selfish business…although I suppose the same can be said for many other kinds of music, as well. Its about me living for the moment, me doing what I want to do, being young, taking everything in…Its about taking risks and being daring. Its about testing boundaries. Human relationships…having a person who makes you happy and who fulfills you (and writing about how you feel). Or even writing about who you hate. its about making your opinions matter. Being the person you want to be and throwing yourself into that lifestyle headfirst. etc etc etc etc…
Hymns are all about forsaking yourself and letting God guide you. “Be Thou My Vision”?? “Be Thou my Wisdom”?? What a huge statement to make. In this song alone, I’m proclaiming God as the Lord of my heart, my inheritance, my best thought, my great father, my light, my treasure.
When I look at this, it kind of makes sense to me why some Christians shun rock songs. I still think it is stupid to categorize every song and throw them all out just because of their genre, but I understand how the attitude and the lifestyle of Rock N Roll might seem dangerous and offensive to them. Like they say, you are shaped by the company you keep. I’d say that has been true for me…I know that the things I let close to me (such as music) definitely shape me. They affect my judgments, my opinions, the way I dress, the way I live my whole life.
That is why I’m so careful about what I listen to…It may not appear to be so sometimes, but I’m fairly picky. Even my favorite bands, like Motley Crue…I don’t listen to all the stuff they put out. I pick through and isolate my favorite songs, make a playlist, and thats my dose of Motley Crue. I don’t have to take the trash, too. I read the lyrics to every CD I buy before I buy it. A bit of sleaziness doesn’t bother me much, occasional profanity doesn’t usually bother me (unless it is every other word, that is ridiculous and unnecessary). But I can’t deal with angry lyrics. I don’t like violence. I don’t music that dwells in hate. I don’t like music that flirts with mysticism and withcraft or things like that. My brother listens to bands like Disturbed and Metallica, and I cannot understand why. I mean, they’re not really my cup of tea so I don’t know a whole lot about them, but what I have heard just seems so devoid of hope and happiness! I like glam because most of it is just silly and fun and nothing serious. I really can’t let myself rest in despair, and I don’t want my music to encourage that kind of thinking. For the musicians who make it…I hope they find the answers they’re looking for, and I hope they’re not really as miserable as they come across in their songs.
This has been a kind of long, rambling post…I think I’ve lost sight of where I was going with this. I just had to get some thoughts out.
Rock on, guys…I love you!
And song of the day…Meant to Live by Switchfoot, because I love this song, it is somewhat appropriate to the post, and i haven’t heard it in forever.