First, I am writing this as the "newest pastor" in my town. I am looking for some serious thoughts as it relates to Christian musicians [worship team members] playing secular music outside the church. I have been asked by members of a worship team that I have played with to get together and play a benefit for a Catholic Church/School Fundraising event. At this event alcohol with be served [yes, at a church fundraiser] and the song list that I have received is all secular music. The music is mostly classic rock [ie: Jumpin Jack Flash, Jet Airliner, Already Gone by the Eagles, Can't Explain by The Who, etc...] with only one Third Day song which is Christian focused. How does one handle a situation such as this? On one hand I am playing with a great group of Spirit Filled Christian men who love God, and on the other, especially as a Pastor, I feel torn as to what kind of message this will send, as I am a leader in Christ's Church. You thoughts??????
James, great comments on not loving the worldly stuff more than Godly stuff. Christian music started in "secular" music anyway, and used to bless / Praise and Glorify God.
But you also need to include verse 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
I.E. do as Jesus did and go to the people and NOT stay away from the ones God loves. They are the ones He came to save; they need us to do what Jesus would have done today.
And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. That is ALL secular music is about.
I did the Bill Gothard thing once too. What a mistake! "Secular" music isn't "ALL about that", but you have to listen to some of it to know. There are a huge number of songs that contain good life lessons and hard learned wisdom that can be applied to your life and help you grow spiritually. And a lot of it is just plain enjoyable and fun. But beyond that, if you want to learn your instrument well, you have to go to "secular" music to get anywhere. Note that instruments are "secular" in their origins anyhow. To paint all "secular music" with such a broad brush stroke is incorrect.
But wait, there's more - would you care to define "secular music"? How about Albinez' Suite Espanola? Mozart? Beethoven's 9th? Louis Armstrong? By most definitions, they are all secular.
I always say, if you have to think about it, you don't want to do it.
What? We're not instinctual animals. If you don't think about it, you are foolish no matter which decision you make! Any good decision should be accompanied by wise counsel. This implies thought.
Nobody said anything about Alvin or Armstrong. We are talking about the songs on his list. Anything to make it OK.
Sorry, I didn't notice that you specified any particular music other than "secular". When you said "that is ALL secular music is about", I thought you were talking about ALL non-Christian music. And when you said, "I don't listen to secular music", I thought you meant that you don't listen to any non-Christian music. So you do enjoy a bit of Django and Grappelli now and then? Or perhaps some John Mayer, Patsy Cline or some Mark Knopfler? There's some good stuff out there on them 'ol "secular" labels!
Wait, you did say that it was black and white for you - now I'm confused. What is secular music? Perhaps we should answer that first.
Yes, that is what I was saying, you need to listen to a wide variety to develop well and only listening to Christian music won't provide that variety. Music doesn't' come in a vacuum - you're not going to get very good if you only listen to and emulate Christian players - there just aren't enough of them to look up to. I'm thinking of a couple of outstanding Christian guitar players right now and their playing clearly has a lot of outside influences from non-Christian recording artists. But most of all, whatever is being done in Christian music today was already being done in so-called "secular music" long before that. You might as well accept that fact.
And to be honest, there aren't that many outstanding Christian guitar players who record and are known. There are, however, a lot of very good and excellent session musicians . I'm sure a number of them are Chrsitians and I'll bet a number of them show up on Christian albums from time to time. But if you look at the general landscape of popular rock and country music, well known, excellent guitar players are all over the place.
You've really got to listen to a wide range of music to become a good musician. Check this interview with Phil Keaggy, arguably one of the most skilled guitarists in the world and unarguably one of the top guitarists in the Christian scene. See that last paragraph where he talks about his influences? Elvis gets credited with lighting the fire underneath him (and I'm sure that wasn't the gospel recordings) and others get a mention, like John Renbourn.
Or, if you want to go biblical, remember Acts 17:28 where Paul says:
‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
He is quoting from pagan poets and you can't throw out a quote if you haven't spent time studying the work of the poet. So, even outside of music, keeping inside the fence of Christendom isn't the example we are set.
Everyone has their convictions. Mine is I don't listen to lyrical secular music. No matter how good or positive it is it doesn't glorify God. If it did it would be Christian. My job on this earth is to "Know God and to make Him Known". And do you really think Jesus would play music that didn't glorify His Father? I know my Jesus wouldn't. It would be out of His character.
And for me it's not about how good I can get, it's about how good I can serve Him. There are a hole mess of flamin' hot Christian guitar players out there. How many influences does one need. I want to look up to the guys using there talent for Christ. The guys who make a differance for the kingdom. Why would I want to waste my time on secular music. Moreover, why would I want to support it. I have enough trouble with the flesh, why add more. Like they say, "garbage in, garbage out". Scripture says sing spiritual songs and hyms, not back in black. Again, my convictions. And I did spend 25 years in secular bands. It was the biggest waste of time, money and energy. If I had those years back to do it for Christ, wow. All the people I could have led to Jesus. I want to be an example of my Savior. Jesus gave it all, all to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow. Nothing else matters.
I think Jesus would be more than willing to listen to a good Mark Knopfler song. And if you listen to Gillian Welch's tune, "Elvis Presley Blues" and aren't moved in a spiritual way, check your pulse.
And for me it's not about how good I can get, it's about how good I can serve Him. There are a hole mess of flamin' hot Christian guitar players out there.
Flaming hot suggests a fairly narrow style and genre. So that kind reinforces my point. I'm not suggesting that everyone get flaming hot. What I'm suggesting is that we don't get stale. Infuse some Latin style, some classical style, some jazz or blues or something - just make the music come alive. If you've read some of the other threads on here, the general thought by several of us is that that a majority of Christian music is stale and predictable. How does that benefit Christ? Elvis wasn't a stellar player, but he made an effort to add different things together to make his music stay alive.
And how is it beneficial for Christ to be a worship leader and not grow in your craft? To become stale and boring is not honoring to Christ. "Sing a new song".
Interesting that you end your paragraph with the title to a Metallica song. I just looked at the lyrics to that song and it could be easily adapted by Christians.
Again - I think your approach is kind of insulting to people. It's basically saying, "Sorry Josh Grobin (insert any name here), your music is unclean." Really?
I don't disagree with the zeal for Christ at all. That's very cool.
"Everyone has their convictions. Mine is I don't listen to lyrical secular music. No matter how good or positive it is it doesn't glorify God. If it did it would be Christian."
You do realize that this is a circular argument, a fallacy?