The following is a guest post, written by Bishop Anthony Wright, a long time Wade-O Radio listener and supporter. Bishop Wright’s bio and contact info can be found at the bottom of this post. If you’re interested in guest blogging, please contact our managing editor, Mikaela.
Are you listening to what you’re listening to?
As a supporter of the Christian Hip-Hop genre and a servant of the gospel of Jesus Christ, my heart is broken over the influence the world has over the hearts and minds of believers, particularly Christian Hip-Hop artists. Artists who dare to produce music that honors God, shares the Good News and promotes righteous living are under constant temptation, deception, and accusation from the enemy. As a consecrated man of God committed to righteousness, I believe there should be a stark contrast between Christian and secular Hip-Hop. In this post, I hope to challenge your tolerance of carnality in your choice of music, especially if you have consecrated yourself unto God to produce Christian Hip-Hop. So the question I’d like to explore is, “Why do Christian (Hip-Hop Artists) listen to secular music?”
Listening to Secular Music Provides a Baseline with Music Industry
Christian Hip-Hop Artists have the challenge (and opportunity) of producing commercial quality music without the corruption of the world. They must strive to be the best creatively and competitively, while striving to exceed the quality found in secular music just to get a “spin.” When artists listen to music, they hear and appreciate many different things, often much more than the average listener. They listen for production, chords, rhythms, melodies, changes, progressions and dynamics. Secular music provides a baseline for commercially viable (although not necessarily the best) music in the market. [In a lot of ways, the industry determines who and what is promoted as the standard. The most talented and gifted artists are not necessarily always the most commercially successful.]
Some Artists (Believers) Rely on Secular Music for Inspiration
Most artists would readily admit to being influenced and/or inspired by secular artists in developing their music. In many ways, the influence of secular music on artists can be even greater than on the average listener because they may “emulate” (or even copy) what they hear (consciously or subconsciously). The church has generationally been challenged with accepting artists, such as Thomas Dorsey, who have taken the musical styles and modalities of modern music and applied them in spiritual songs. One of the reasons the church remains hesitant in wholeheartedly accepting Christian Hip-Hop is many artists have allowed the spirit of pride, rebellion, and independence to permeate into their lives and into their music. So instead of a spirit of praise, a spirit of carnality comes across.
Some Artists (Believers) Have a High Tolerance for Carnal Music
We’ve become desensitized to the word “secular.” It has come to connote “not religious” or “commercial.” Most of us developed a love for Hip-Hop based on the music we listened to in our youth, perhaps when Hip-Hop was more benign and fun. Now that times have changed, instead of changing the music we listen to according to our standards, we changed our standards according to the music we listen to. Like the proverbial frog in the kettle, the temperature of carnality in our music has risen and since we are saturated in it, we have grown insensitive to it. Our hearts are hard, our consciences are dead, and our mouths are filthy. We tolerate misogyny, vulgarity, profanity, etc. We not only tolerate it, we like it! It actually appeals to our carnal nature.
Most Artists (Believers) Prefer Secular Hip-Hop to Christian Hip-Hop
Many artists (believers) prefer secular music to Gospel or Christian music genres (especially when it comes to Hip-Hop) because they perceived its quality to be “good.” The very suggestion that it might be “sinful” or “not beneficial” for me not to listen to secular music, is an offense to most people. “Legalism!” they cry. But perhaps, you may be using your liberty in music to indulge your bondage to your carnal nature. Think about it. What do you prefer to listen to the most? Who do you jam to when you get in your car (alone)? What’s on your iPod? Do you let your kids listen to it? How hard would it be for you to stop? Real talk. But now consider this: How does the Lord feel about it? How does it look in the sight of God? Does what you listen to merely entertain you or does it edify you and help you walk in closer fellowship with God? Does he care? Does He discern between that which is spiritual and that which is carnal? I mean, what’s the big deal?
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