Secular Music isn’t bad, but…

Today, I recommended a few Christian workout songs on my personal Facebook page and a friend messaged me, asking: is secular music bad?  After talking through it with her, I wanted to post my thoughts here as well in case others wondered what I thought. But for the record, this is only my opinion and we must all decide what’s best for ourselves.

So, is secular music bad?  -My short answer: No, but… I don’t choose to listen to it on a regular basis. Does this make me more holy? Heavens NO! Does this mean I’m oh-so-mature? Um, nope.

I decided to start listening to Christian music because my kids were always in the car with me.

Let me take you back… It was the summer of 2012. Jack was barely a year old, learning to talk and his favorite song on our pop radio station was “Locked out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars. Now first let me say this: I like Bruno. He reminds me of Michael and one day, I will teach my kids about one of the greatest musicians in my lifetime: Michael Jackson.

But, on with the story…Jack loved music and even though he couldn’t speak more than a few words on his own, he was quickly learning the lyrics to song. Sidenote: If you’re like me, you’ll remember the days of your youth, singing Shoop and Whatta Man and not realizing what the lyrics meant until you were much older. Listening to Jack sing about what take Bruno to “paradise” made me feel VERY uneasy so I decided to give our Christian station a try.

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t an easy transition. Christian music comes with a stereotype that it’s not good and like ALL music, some of it isn’t good. BUT there are some great bands out there. (Check out For King and Country, MercyMe, Gungor to name a few.) After a few months, I could tell a difference in Jack and myself. Jack was learning words to worship music and he began asking questions about God. I felt the Spirit moving in times at home or in my car. “The Hurt and the Healer,” is a song I would have never known about had I not decided to take a chance on Christian music. And it became a song that changed my life.

So, time for the long answer, do I think secular music is wrong/bad? No. I don’t. I enjoy Jimi Hendrix, U2, Coldplay and even some rappers. BUT, for me, I have to take in strides. Does that make sense?

For me, music is all about connection – whether that’s with a person, a time, a memory or God. It’s been like this since I can remember. If I hear Prince or Cyndi Lauper, it brings me back to playing on the floor as a child, surrounded by Barbies. If I listen to Ace of Base or Spice Girls, I’m reminded of my early teen years, dancing in the backyard, wishing I could be a pop star.

But music brings me back to not-so-good memories as well. I didn’t become a Christian until college and even then, I had my priorities mixed up. My focus throughout the 2000’s was “looking for love in all the wrong places”. When I listen to Fiona Apple, Foo Fighters or Hendrix, I’m nostalgic of an on-again/off-again relationship from college. And “times like these”, I’d rather forget.

Some music, for me, is kind of like drinking. Do I judge those who drink? No, of course not. But I choose not to drink (for several reasons) but for the sake of this post, because of memories from college like the ones I mentioned earlier. I have to be careful about what I allow in. As Grammie says, “don’t put in what you have to pray out later!”

This is not to say I’m legalistic about it. When David and I travel, he prefers pop music (He’s a Swifty) and we compromise. When I’m with my sister, we listen to 90s rap and reminisce. But when I’m at home or in my own car, I’d rather have on music that I can listen to with my kiddos present. And it’s carried over into my alone time as well.

I like most genres of music. The 70s is best for cleaning. The 80s great for mowing the lawn. The 90s? Well, that is the best decade in my opinion. However, from 2000 on, music mostly reminds me of things I’d rather forget. SO! I hope that clarifies how I feel (ahem, you know because it’s only my opinion).

Music is meant to be enjoyed. I could go on a different rant about lyrics that objectify women and other issues, but that’s for a different day. My advice would be to ask yourself: Is what I’m listening to uplifting? Be it for enjoyment, soul nourishment or good memories. If the answer is no, don’t listen to it – no matter the genre. The same goes for television, books and topics of conversation. Let go of what’s toxic (even legalism) and cling to what is good.


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