Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Practically speaking

Today's Christian Music "industry" focuses on reaching youth. With this God-given outreach, groups have an incredible platform to minister to kids in their everyday lives. And yet so many seem to forget this and instead try to impart theology in their songs. Now, don't get me wrong, Biblical principles and theology in music is well and good, but to be honest, it doesn't always apply to the lives of youth. So often the Church assumes that if they ignore the ugly realities of life inside the Church, they will go away. If we pretend that suicide and sex aren't discussed by youth, maybe it will become true. Nothing could be further from the truth. So here's to the artists who addres issues that aren't preached about in Church, that are often deemed "taboo."

Self-inflicting injuries:
So many people try to block out the world and the troubles in their lives by injuring themselves. They figure it's one way they can control some small part of their lives.
Christian artist Plumb has released four different studio albums, and on each album she puts one song about this issue. Her latest release includes the song "Cut", in which she writes,

"I may seem crazy Or painfully shy And these scars wouldn't be so hidden If you would just look me in the eye I feel alone here and cold here Though I don't want to die But the only anesthetic that makes me feel anything kills inside I do not want to be afraid I do not want to die inside just to breathe in I'm tired of feeling so numb Relief exists I find it when I am cut."
Superchic[k] also addresses this issue in their song "Hero."

"No one talks to her, she feels so alone She’s in too much pain to survive on her own The hurt she can’t handle overflows to a knife She writes on her arm, wants to give up her life Each day she goes on is a day that she is brave, Fighting the lie that giving up is the way, Each moment of courage her own life she saves When she throws out the pills a hero is made ."
It's an issue that is very relavent in the lives of youth, so props go to Plumb and Superchic[k] for bringing it to people's attention.

Suicide, its never pretty, but it exists, even in the church. Hawk Nelson addresses this topic in their upcoming release "Smile, it's the end of the world."
Newsboys sing the song "Ellie G." in which they address the issue of salvation and suicide. Can you lose your salvation by committing suicide?
"how can we return that which we never could earn? God, I long to see her face we haven't a hope beyond Your grace I know that You will overcome evil for good."
Salvation is permanent, you can't return it, and it can't be taken away, even through suicide. The song also offers encouragement to people who are considering suicide to consider their lives and how much they are worth, showing that suicide is not the correct option.
Derek Webb wrote the song "Center Aisle" on caedmon's Call's first album.
"In November of '95, the sister of a friend of mine from high schoolcommitted suicide. Having never been to a funeral, I was veryapprehensive, especially since I had been asked to play a song duringthe service. Seeing her in that room along with all of those people wholoved her and cared about her really made me think. I mainly wonderedif whatever it was that had driven her to that point could have beenworked out in that quiet room with that group of people. I supposequestions just lead to more questions. I wrote this song on the wayback home in the car. (Derek Webb)"
In the song, Derek says, "What crimes have you committed Demanding such a penance That couldn't wait for five more minutes And a cry for help. 'Cause this room is so peaceful And this room is so quiet And I hate the silence And I can't walk the center aisle" Hold on to hope, don't commit suicide.

This eating disorder where people, (nearly always teenage girls) starve themselves in order to "look beautiful" is a direct result of our society saying you have to look a certain way, wear a certain size, have a certain hair color to be "attractive." But beauty comes from the inside, not from the length of your waist. In the song "Courage" Superchic[k] addresses this issue.

"I don't know the first time i felt unbeautiful The day i chose not to eat What i do know is how i've changed my life forever I know i should know better There are days when i'm ok And for a moment, for a moment i find hope But there are days when i'm not ok And i need your help So i'm letting go I need you to know I'm not through the night Somedays i'm still fighting to walk towards the light I need you to know That we'll be ok Together we can make it through another day."

Sex, purity, and relationships:
Sex before marriage in the Church? No way?! Yes Way! Sex seems to be taboo in our churches. Preachers are afraid to mention it as if it's the new three-letter word. But it's real, and it's something every teenager deals with on a day-to-day basis. Remaining sexually pure is a difficult thing in our society.
KJ-52 talks about this in his song "Check Yourself"
"Virgin ain't a drity word don't be ashamed of that. See in reality people be respectin that. Stand up fro yourself tell 'em jus chill wit that. And even if they diss turn around and bless them back...See God said save yourself for ya marriage. And it was for a reason don't misunderstand it. Sex is a beautiful gift don't mishandle it. Ya better jus check yourself and don't damage it"

Rebecca St. James (Christian music's most eligible bachlorette) wrote the song "Wait for me" as a personal heart cry that speaks to all single people:
"Darling did you know that I, I pray about you Praying that you will hold on And keep your loving eyes only for me. Cause,I am waiting for, Praying for you darling. Wait for me too, Wait for me as I wait for you"

BarlowGirl talks about dating in their song "Average Girl", recomending the non-recreational dating method to people.
"No more dating, I'm just waiting. Like sleeping beauty, my prince will come for me. No more datig I'm just waiting. 'Cause God is writing my love story"

Give it up for TobyMac! In his song Irene he talks about the difficulties surrounding a teenage girl who becomes pregnant, and her struggle to make the right decision. Such an encouraging song!
"Last night you had a dream you was the homecoming queen Today you're 18, happy birthday Irene. quit school you had to drop out to raise your little child Doesn't seem to be anyone around You've got to reach up to touch rock bottom. The powers that be keep you downtrodden. Daughter of Zion, I heard you prayer, Just cast your cares and please beware of snakes: They come in all shapes and sizes Tempt you, put scales on your eye lids. Don't waste your sorrows They'll give you strength tomorrow...tomorrow Your Calvary's about to come so: Keep your head up, don't you ever let up This storm will pass you'll be ready for the next one. Hey little girl with the pressures of theworld on you shoulders Don't say that it's over I heard your prayers, just cast your cares And I'll be there so don't you fear. Hush little baby don't you cry Daddy's gonna sing you a lullaby. Everything's gonna be alright, The Lord's gonna answer your prayer tonight"

Again, props to TobyMac for his song "what's goin' down"
"Welcome to the world of a girl name Susie, Susie's only crime was that she was born a cutie. Physically abused by her uncle and his friends Alcohol let 'em all leve the house with grins. But Susie couldn't shake off the memories Forced to find her own kind of remedy. A man-eater for the rest of her days Three kids, three men, no daddies by eleventh grade"

In General:
Superchic[k]'s song "Hero" talks about suicide, depression, and role models. Thousand Foot Krutch's song "This is a call" speaks of the calls of youth that go ignored by Chrisitans so often.

"She fooled all of her friends into thinking she's so strong But she still sleeps with the light on And she acts like it's all right on, as she smiles again. And her mother lies there sick with cancer And her friends don't understand her She's a question without answers Who feels like falling apart. She knows, she's so much more than worthless, She needs to find a purpose, She wonders what she did to deserve this...Have you ever felt this way before, Cause I don't wanna hide here anymore. Take me to a place where nothing's wrong And thanks for coming, shut the door And they say some one out there sees us, Well if you're real, then save me Jesus Cause I've been this way for far too long I wasn't meant to feel alone"

So, in closing, props to these, and many other artists who take the Gospel to the youth on a personal level. And here's a challenge to the Church and other artists: open your eyes, before it's too late!


Blogger Strider said...

WOW! It's incredible the way you put all of these songs together and dealt with all of these issues on one page! I couldn't agree more with your statement about the Church's intentional ignorance on the issues facing its own youth. Very well said! This was definitely the largest post on a blog I've ever seen, but it was well worth reading.

2/09/2006 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Lauren said...

I really like this post! It's very important for teens/young adults to know that there are other alternatives to dealing with their pain, sorrow, feelings, etc. It is awesome to see how many Christian artists are taking a stand and writing music that they can relate to. Keep up the good work :)

2/28/2006 10:51 PM  

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