Better to Eat Bacon Than Listen to Christian Music
Imagine for a second that you are offered two plates. One piled high with bacon. The other with brightly colored vegetables. Which do you choose?
Bacon, we’re told, is bad for us. While I think that’s rather debatable, I wouldn’t dare call it a health food. As such, I eat it rather sparingly — even if the 10 packs in my cart this last shopping trip suggested otherwise. I eat bacon, because I like it — not because I expect it to make me healthy or fit or improve my physique.
So naturally those veggies seem like a better option. But what if they’re not regular veggies? What if these are veggies specially formatted by someone whose primary goal isn’t your health, but is instead to make money? Not an evil notion in and of itself, as I’m certainly not anti-capitalism, but still, money can and does affect one’s motives and intentions. So, instead of real, healthy, natural veggies, they’ve created these veggies laden with poisonous cancer-causing chemicals that will slowly make you go blind and die. Or something. They tell us they’re healthy. They, in fact, look healthy. They smell healthy… but they aren’t.
We have two options — the bacon we know isn’t a health food, and the veggies we are told are healthy, but really aren’t.
Because we know the bacon for what it is, and because we have the freedom to eat it, we do so… sparingly. We approach it for what it is — a delicious and delectable treat that isn’t necessarily good for us, but also won’t kill us in moderation.
Yet we assume the veggies are healthy and we trust the people hocking them, and therefore we let down our guard. We approach it assuming it’s something it’s not. We expect it to be good for us and to not hurt us. In fact, we expect them to help us, and so we eat as much of it as we can, not realizing that we are actually doing ourselves harm.
The same goes for entertainment — music, books, tv, movies. We have two options before us: secular entertainment and Christian entertainment.
Scripturally speaking we have the freedom to partake in either, just as we have the freedom to eat bacon or donuts or potato chips or anything else that isn’t necessarily healthy. I hear often from folks claiming we should avoid secular entertainment – especially that which goes so strongly against our Christian values and beliefs. I hear often that we should instead turn to the Christian market, listen to Christian popular music and watch Christian movies and read Christian books.
But this isn’t always wise.
Just as that plate of chemical-laden vegetables looks good and seems healthy, the vast majority of Christian media is crap. Much of it has doctrinal issues, twisting scripture into something it isn’t, making God’s Word about me me me rather than Christ, and pointing us repeatedly back to the law and a list of rules to be kept rather than the freeing news of Christ crucified for our sins.
Then there’s the bacon… er… I mean the secular media. We listen to it, because we can. Because it’s entertaining. Because it makes us laugh or cry or think. We don’t — hopefully — partake in it looking for edification of our Christian faith. We don’t watch a secular movie expecting it to feed our faith, nor teach us something about God.
Just as with those plates — we see the secular pile and we approach with caution. We know it can be harmful, so we enjoy it sparingly. We expect it to go against our faith, so we don’t cling, but walk away when our conscience steps in, warning us to take a break.
But that Christian labeled pile looks all sparkly and Jesus-y, and we assume it must be good. We let our guard down. We tell ourselves it will strengthen our faith and teach us something about God. Yet the enemy loves to twist God’s Word, convincing us God is saying something to us that He isn’t. He loves when we let down our defenses. He loves to use God’s name to point us away from Christ — especially if he can do so without our knowing, especially if he can do so while tricking us into thinking we are being faithful Christians.
Now I’m not saying all Christian media is horrible and false and will wreck our faith. But unfortunately, the Christian market is often more concerned with selling books and selling out concerts than actually preaching God’s Word faithfully. It can become tiresome and challenging to constantly wade through it to determine what is edifying and what just sucks. And trusting it blindly invites bad theology and false teaching in — which is never a good thing.
At least secular media knows what it is, is honest about itself, and doesn’t claim to be something it’s not. Just as bacon is true to itself in all its fatty, delicious, and not-so-good-for-you-ness.
Unless it’s turkey bacon.
That belongs with that pile of poison-filled vegetables and should be approached with caution.
“Unless it’s turkey bacon.
That belongs with that pile of poison-filled vegetables and should be approached with caution.”
LOL! (and agreeing)
I strongly disagree with the arguments in the post.
It presents a false dichotomy, sets up a straw man argument and is just plain wrong.
Is the author really encouraging listening to hard core rap, with it’s glorification of promiscuous sex, drugs, violence, demeaning of women and hedonism, over CCM?
Let’s just compare the lyrics to Hillsong United – Oceans (number 1 song on the iTunes chart for Christian/Gospel) and Stitches – Molly Cyrus (a hard core rapper).
Molly Cyrus: //genius.com/Stitches-molly-cyrus-lyrics
And the author is going to say with a straight face, it is better to listen to Stitches than Hillsong, because with Stitches, you’ll know to have your guard up???? (This is the same false choice set up in the OP.)
Rather, a Christian should always be testing the spirits and be discerning, whether they are listening to a confessional Lutheran pastor or a secular music song. So, listen to good CCM, watch HBO and consider each choice in light of the knowledge of the Truth.
I agree and disagree with the analogy, and also I think it is missing an important category. The analogy was between “treat – can be part of your complete breakfast ;), but doesn’t make a complete meal on its own, and can be harmful if you eat it in meal-like quantities (both because of what is *in* the bacon and because of what *isn’t* in the bacon – not only do you suffer from too much bacon, you also suffer from the corresponding too-little nutritious food)” and “covert poison – food that claims to be nutritious and suitable as the backbone of your diet, but actually provides poison instead of the nutrition it promises – not only is it hurting you instead of helping, it also is crowding out truly nutritious food (just like too much bacon does).”
I agree that a lot of “Christian” media is covert poison – people think it is wholesome, but really it is killing them. And not only is it killing them, it is also crowding out *genuine* Christian nourishment, so that it’s not only that people *are* getting poison, but that they also *aren’t* getting the Christian nourishment they need. It’s a double whammy – poisoning and malnourishment all in one.
But I agree with #2 that secular entertainment – which “we *expect* to go against our faith” – isn’t so much a tasty treat that can be enjoyed as part of our complete life, but rather is *overt* poison. And overt poison might be honest, but it’s not any better for you than covert poison. True, you at least know it’s doing you harm and that you need to counteract the damage – but that’s not exactly the same thing as enjoying a harmless-in-small-doses treat. And as that Stitches song that #2 pointed to shows, some of that overt poison is far more potent and does a lot more damage in one shot than the covert stuff.
What I would call “bacon” isn’t the overt poison of “stuff we *expect* to go against our faith”, but rather the cotton candy fluff of things, be they focused on life eternal or life temporal (or both), that are innocuous but shallow – they don’t go *against* the faith, but neither do they contribute anything of substance, either. There’s nothing *wrong* with them, but there’s not much *right* about them, either. And too often they are presented as wholesome food, not as the “bacon” they are. And a steady diet of them leads straight to malnourishment – which people try to solve by adding on more of the cotton candy Christian fluff, thinking that it’s good food (because it’s the only food they’ve known).
And that brings me to the missing part of the analogy – we talked about things that *aren’t* nutritious and *aren’t* suited to forming the backbone of our diet – but what about what *is* wholesome and nutritious and genuinely worthy of forming the core of your diet? It seems like that gets skipped in these discussions because it’s “obvious”, but I can tell you from personal experience that after years of malnutrition from 90% of my Christian food being cotton candy fluff (on top of malnutrition from too much innocuous temporal fluff (shot through with some covert secular poisoning), plus occasional poisoning from secular stuff, and with a mild but chronic covert poisoning from random false “Christian” stuff) – it’s not at all obvious at that point.
It’s been a real problem of mine, actually – I’ve been increasingly realizing the problem with CCM-style “Christian” influence, with secular influence, and with cotton candy fluff masquerading as genuine food – but that just leaves me with absolutely nothing to eat – it doesn’t point me *to* good food. I’m starting to think that every discussion of what’s wrong should also include a discussion of what’s *right* – build people back up after tearing them down. The important things are *always* worth saying – and by constantly keeping them in the forefront of what we say and do, we keep* them important, both for ourselves and for others.
I can’t say I agree with much in this post.
I have been listening to Christian music for over 30 years. In fact, it was part of what led to my conversion.
I will completely agree,however, that there are Christian labels that are much more about the money (business-oriented) than about any kind of ministry. And there are quite a number of artists I used to listen to that I have drawn away from for that reason. My read and research over the years has led me to believe that most of it has had to do more with the label pushing a certain contract than with the artists themselves.
But let me add this….
One’s spiritual diet should consist mainly of time spent with the Saviour (prayer, Word, and fellowship with other Christians). At least for me, the music complements these. As long as we keep music in it’s proper place in the heirarchy.
I also agree that there is Christian music that twists the Word, or leads us in the wrong direction. This is where discernment comes in. Nobody is perfect. We are all led astray at times, including the artists. But to say what was said in this post , “The vast majority of Christian media is crap”, is an extreme overgeneralization, and rather judgmental.
Just apply to all music the same as we apply to all media – test the spirits to see whether they are from God. Does this line up with the Word?
But to paint most of it with such a harsh brush is unnecessary.
Yes, it can get tiresome to have to keep discerning. But that’s not a reason to just throw it all out, either.