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.