I frequently receive questions about music from other Christians brothers and sisters that go something like this: Does God care what music I listen to? Is it a sin to listen to ____ genre? Do genre and aesthetics matter? Are there biblical principles that govern how we make and listen to music? Is music moral, or amoral? Does it matter what music we listen to? Can we listen to music written by non-Christians? Is all musical meaning subjective and relative?
These are some tough questions to be sure, and ones that the American church at large has not offered much substantial teaching on in recent generations, despite how important and omnipresent music is in our everyday lives and modern culture. Back in March of this year, I very ambitiously attempted to tackle some of these questions at a local event in a two-part series on music, in all likelihood biting off a good deal more than I could chew. The first part was focused more on the theological and philosophical considerations regarding music and our involvement in it as Christians (which I believe is the more fundamental lecture), and that is what I’m posting today. The second part was focused more on the science and mechanics of music (which is really, really, cool, BTW), but that talk relied on visuals and audio very heavily and will probably not be making it’s way online–at least not anytime soon.
Personally, I feel woefully inadequate to properly address many of these issues, but I do really want to help those out there (like me) with big questions and few answers, so hopefully this talk will provide–at a minimum–a starting point for the discussion and the introduction of some very important concepts. Though I cannot guarantee a response, I do appreciate any emails or comments with questions, critiques, additional viewpoints or considerations, as I believe there is still a lot to learn and I want to make sure I’m not making arguments that fall apart when examined, or saying things that are untrue.