Why I Trashed Almost All of My Music

Back in the late 90’s, when I was in college and Blink-182 was just hitting main stream, “pop” punk rock was the greatest music known to man…in my opinion. From NOFX to Pennywise to MXPX, I loved it all. The Warped Tour was the greatest show on earth. All was good in the music world.

Granted, there were times when some of the lyrics bothered me. While I wasn’t living the greatest life, some of the graphic language, disrespect to women, and jabs at Christianity weren’t my favorite parts of the music. It was the sound that lured me in and kept me going back for more. The harmonies, the beat, and the excitement were all part of it. The lyrics…well…I could ignore them.

I left beautiful southern California after my freshmen year – a mecca for this music genre. Where did I go? Where else: Atchison, Kansas. Ironically, I was able to hit the Warped Tour and see Good Charlotte all within that first year or so. Not all was lost in my music world. And, in the end, it was a great shift. At Benedictine College, I met the Lord. My life was forever changed. But I still thought, since I am Catholic, and not Puritan, punk rock was still okay – right?

I am pretty sure the moment came my senior year of college. Through the Bible studies I attended and my time with Matt, who was the FOCUS missionary on campus, I was challenged to think about what I was feeding my mind. And thanks to God’s grace, I honestly listened and pondered the questions. Our mind directs everything we should be doing – at least that is the design. Our intellect gathers knowledge and uses the truths it discovers to form our will to make proper choices. Our passions and emotions all are meant to help the correct choice and serve this entire process. Were the words entering my mind something that would serve the pursuit of truth, beauty, and goodness? For most of my music, the answer was clearly no.

And so the purge began. I was left to think about the following as I tossed my CDs into the trash:

  • How much of my life am I willing to give to the Lord?
  • Do I honestly need a time to be separated from everything “grotesque” so that I can recover from all the junk I’ve fed my mind and heart?
  • In place of this music, what can I feed my mind to support my pursuit of truth, beauty, and goodness?
  • What will help me develop a mind like that of Christ?

I want my ears to be sensitive to foul words and topics. I don’t want to be desensitized to junk. I want the light of Christ to fully radiate from within me.

I want that for all of us.

Thomas Wurtz
Thomas Wurtz
Thomas started college at the University of San Diego where he played a season of football and joined Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity. He transferred his sophomore year to Benedictine College where he played rugby to stay in shape and eventually graduated cum laude with a BS in Biology. It was while at Benedictine College that Thomas was exposed to FOCUS which was a major instrument in his conversion to the Christian life. He joined FOCUS staff in 2001 and served as a missionary and Team Director at Illinois State and as Team Director at Seton Hall. After two years as Men’s Formation Coordinator and receiving his Master’s Degree from the Augustine Institute, he launched Varsity Catholic, a division of FOCUS reaching out to college athletes. He continues to serve as the Director of Varsity Catholic (which has full-time staff working with 16 different athletic departments across the country) and resides with his family in Littleton, CO. He is the author of Compete Inside: 100 Reflections to Help You Become the Complete Athlete. His latest book is Pursuing Freedom: Becoming the Man You Could Be. You can follow Thomas and Varsity Catholic on Facebook and Twitter (@vrsitycatholic).

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