In defense of rock

Teens moshing at Brief Relief

I’m getting old.

There was a time when I loved bands like Guardian, X-Sinner and One Bad Pig (you haven’t lived until you’ve listened to ‘Swine Flew’ at obscene volumes).  Now I find myself listening to podcasts and sermons more often than music, and if I do put on some tunes it’s probably going to be Sarah Brightman or the cast of Glee.

As a youth pastor for almost ten years now, I’ve heard every concern in the book over rock music and it’s place in the church.  The screaming, yelling, pounding music, mosh pits … I’ve heard it labeled dangerous, demonic, destructive, you name it.

But I don’t really agree.

The lyrics in many ways are key for me, what they are saying, the language, the attitude.  If those are appropriate I don’t find offense.  There are metal bands that very much feed into anger and rage – music from the likes of Korn is never going to help a kid.  But I’ve seen Skillet’s words and music have profound and deeply resonating impacts on young people.

I guess I keep going back to when I was a teen.  Those adolescent years when hormones are all over the place, everything is bigger and more of a deal than it would be at any other part of our life, and the tools and wisdom to process it all aren’t fully developed.  For me, as odd as it sounds to some, that music calmed me down, help me to regain my focus and reign in my control.  That over the top music resonated with my over the top emotions and developing body.  Finding a safe release valve in appropriate heavy music impacted my life in a valuable way.

When I’m at a show with teens, or one of our own band nights, and I’m wishing I had industrial strength ear plugs (for those wondering, I do keep a stash of ear plugs in my office), those are the things I remind myself of.  I’m not just giving in or letting it be on the schedule aimlessly, I actually do see a value and benefit.

And I have to admit, I’m curious what others think!  Let me know!

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