Maybe you don’t know this yet, but I’m a huge fan of Metal and Hard Rock music. Grew up listening to it, its almost the only genre I’ve ever played in the bands I’ve been in through my musical career, and I’ve even preached and written lessons for my youth based on metal songs. You can find a lot of Bible stuff in metal. I mean, come on, even the song “Creeping Death” by Metallica re-tells the passover story. Regardless, I love Metal music because it very easily invokes emotion and response from it’s listeners, and in my experience of being in the music biz, the metal community is a great example for what we in the Christian community should aspire to be as far as how we take care of each other and support each other.
In my past experience it’s pretty easy to see where Metal gets a bad rap, especially in Christian circles. In high school especially I know I was called every name in the book that refers to someone on their way to hell, and in some cases, I probably was, but in no way because of the music I was playing and listening to. It was pretty tough growing up as a metal kid in my generation. My ninth grade year brought the added tragedy of Columbine thanks to the perverse minds of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Of course, the second people heard they listened to metal, a scapegoat was found and controversy began. Of course, the fallout flew all the way here to Roanoke, and me and my friends were examined, poked, prodded, and again called all kinds of names.
Just in recent news, we’ve heard of yet another school shooting tragedy in Ohio. My heart aches for those families, all of them, but I have to admit, after mourning the situation one of my first thoughts to pop in to my head was “Please let this kid’s taste in music suck!”. I know that it’s easy to tag blame onto anything other than the human race’s depravity itself these days, but we have to remember that it’s not an inherent trait among all people that listen to extreme forms of music, and instead of criticising those who fall under these human imposed labels, why aren’t we using this as an opportunity to draw them closer to the Kingdom? Why don’t we look at the qualities of it that are healing and resourceful and take advantage of those to better spread the Gospel? Take all that positive and wrap it up in a tasty burrito for the world to experience?
Just as an example, I was spending some time unwinding and watching Netflix the other night and watched Classic Albums on Queen’s “A Night At The Opera” and I couldn’t help but think as I watched, it is amazing the amount of encompassing emotion and imagery they can bring to their songs. They put you IN places and IN times. I mean, if you grew up in my generation (that being the end of Gen X and beginning of the millenials) you can’t help but be transported to the “mirthmobile” with Wayne & Garth headbanging and singing along every time you hear “Bohemian Rhapsody”. In the show they mention the power of how certain songs can easily transport you to very specific times of your life.
I know that when I hear certain songs I am very quickly placed in a certain vivid memory based on the song. Anything off of “The Downward Spiral” by Nine Inch Nails makes me 13 in Washington DC on my 8th grade field trip. Aerosmith’s self titled album makes me 9 and exploring Williamsburg, and their song “Deuces Are Wild” sticks me very aptly in the first dance with my wife at our wedding. There are sad tunes as well. “Hollow” by Pantera and “In This River” by Black Label Society put me in mourning at the EXACT moment I heard from friends who were at the Ala Roosa Villa is Ohio that one of my musical heroes, Dimebag Darrel had been murdered on stage. Music very easily invokes emotion and response in us.
My question though, is why doesn’t scripture do the same thing to us? There is just as much emotion and imagery in place. When you hear the words ” I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” Where does that put you? Anywhere? Anything? In most cases, I’m guessing not many places other than Sunday School, Sunday Service, or perhaps Bible Study. I think that’s a tragedy too, honestly.
So many things can achieve the goal of escape or temporary flashback moments: Movies, Music, even telling old stories with friends and family, yet we aren’t invested enough in scripture to allow it to do the same. I’m just as guilty. I have to say though, and maybe you can join with me, I plan on allowing the Holy Spirit to place a lot more scripture in my heart to guard and stand on. Hey, maybe even the next time I hear “Bohemian Rhapsody”, I will start reciting the 23rd Psalm?
Zach is a father, husband, and social media addict that describes his approach to faith as being a “Charismatic, Evangelical, Anabaptist that loves Catholic traditon, or just a plain old ‘lover of Jesus’ for short. He is the Youth director at Poages Mill Church of the Brethren and hangs out with an odd group he calls the “Holy Burrito Crew”.