Monday, October 09, 2006

Paradise Lost...

I suspect that the following subject will find it's conclusion in multiple parts, but for now I will have to content myself with writing an opening foray.

It may be relatively obvious from the time of this post, but as a "nighthawk", I can afford myself the luxury of accomplishing much more in a day than the average person. To that end, I began watching the video series Hell's Bells 2 this evening. Personally, I don't think I will begin that again at 1:30 in the morning. The oppressiveness of some of the content and the conviction it produces is simply too much before bedtime...I can't say though that I was not dutifully warned.
That aside, I came to a fundamental realization; one that has been brewing within for many days now. We live in a fallen society. Not only that, we live in a fallen society that revels in its faults and enjoys its ever increasing distance from moral high ground. The clear finger pointing is toward sin. Big shock. I should think though that on a more structural level there is some far deeper, far more sinister evolution occurring in our world. As Christians we need to be cogniscant of the fact that there is a force in this world that opposes God and the light of the church.

As I watched the video I became increasingly incensed with my past willingness to listen to some of the artists dealt with in the first two sections. Admittedly, I like my music loud. And please remember I am not in the business of audiology or musicology or other made up sounding disciplines, but rather I am a listener. I am the kind of sinner, who like so many others, often felt in my younger days (and probably even more recently than that) that I was impervious to the influence of music. It doesn't effect me...it's just music.

Poppycock!

Anyone, who can honestly say with a clear mind that the sense-charged impact of music has no bearing on their thoughts and actions is either an idiot or an idiot. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize that our bodies are tuned in one very specific direction. Emotionally and physically we are reactionary beings. We see a problem and we fix it. We experience the death of a close family member and we become emotionally involved. We hear music and it moves us. God created human beings to function this way for what I would deem a very clear reason: we are vessels of His mercy for His glory. If you said there is a more decisive reactionary impulse in this world, than a Spirit directed reaction to the mercy of God, I would call you a liar. We are what we eat, so how on earth can we not be what we listen to. It doesn't make biological sense. If you weren't supposed to hear and understand what you were listening to God would have put your ears around your knees to keep them far from your brain.

This is a clear line in the sand friends. On more than one occasion during the first two sections of Hell's Bells they showed real footage of music fans causing all sorts of carnage at Woodstock 99 and other rock concerts. If I remember correctly there are very few riots at the ballet and even fewer at the symphony. There is a certain intelligence that precedes any sort of action and a complete lack of self-control that precedes others.

Now I am certainly not saying that rock muscians are stupid. Far from it...in fact I think they are often far smarter than we give them credit for. Think about it. If you recently purchased a CD was it because you knew you could play it at home with your own guitar, or is it because you lack the necessary skills to produce and write and create said music so you are letting someone else do all the work. Fact...you are not a rock star. You buy music because someone else put it together. Which means you are already doing what they told you to do without actually saying anything...you bought into the hype or the beat or the cover art or the gyrating floozies.

But hold on a moment. Are you saying that I buy music because the artist subconcisouly told me to? Hmm...let's check back in to this whole concept of something sinister motivating our world. Surely music is not evil some will say. Fortunately, just like many other things of this world, I can honestly say no, music is not evil. In fact it has been put to very good use throughout the history of the church. The crux of this matter, however, is not that artists who make music are doing wrong, but that they are sinners just like we were. The varying degrees of corruption to which they apply their sin is intense and often mindboggling. Which can only lead one to realize that something else motivates and captivates these individuals as they write and perform.

This where everything can get a little dicey, but I am going to step out on a limb here. If God's inspired words have come to us as the Holy Scriptures, is there any rational reason that the work of Satan cannot transcend our world as well? I would say that we live in world and culture that continuously showcases the ease at which Satan can permeate and blur the lines between right and wrong. We live on a battlefield Christians. We live in world that is an ideological battlefield for the hearts and minds of a people. This is no Cold War, this is a holy war.

As Christians it is our great comfort that Christ rose that third day and defeated the enemy, who is the Devil. But it is important to note that although the defeat was complete, it was not a total annihilation (at least not yet, and even Satan knows his time is short). Even now, Christ saves sinners as he saved you and I. Not because of what we didn't listen to, but because our hearts were changed and pointed toward him. That doesn't mean that sin has disappeared and temptations have ceased. By all accounts of my own life, even this last day, Satan still taunts and tempts. He still hopes to win, even though his vanity cannot let him see the desperate hopelessness of his cause, he will convince you that you have nothing better to live for and that the only way out is through the reckless abandonment of your soul.

There is no apology for sin. Just as there is no apology for the Devil who wields it in many guises. In that final day, I am assured that the Lord will not be overly concerned with the choices of music you made, instead why you listened to the inklings of a wicked heart to make those choices. God directs all things, but the choices you make are still the choices you made. Unfair? I doubt very much that any person of worthy mettle could ever deny their own hand in the choices they've made. The morale of course is be responsible for your heart and be concious of what you do, because what you put in to life, is what you are going to get out.

Be on guard, Christians, for the battle will come to you, but do not fear the end, for therein lies the most glorious part.

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