Heavy metal Christianity?

Ben Gray at OpenSwitch talks about how he loves Metallica’s heavy metal music, particularly their S&M album.

He talks about expectations of him as a youth pastor:

Among these expectations are things like: I’m expected to never cuss, never drink (alcohol), never smoke, never do, say or think anything questionable…and never, EVER, listen to Heavy Metal. Especially Metal that contains cusses or morbid themes like virtually every Metallica song does.

His justification for listening is as follows:

I personally don’t find that it affects me adversely but maybe I shouldn’t listen to it on sheer principle. It’s at this point I ask myself, “Why shouldn’t I listen to it?� What does Metallica S&M contain that isn’t contained in many of the other forms of media I regularly consume? Violent imagery? That’s on the News. My son sees that. Cussing? That’s in movies that are PG13 (btw, as far as I know a PG13 movie can drop the F-bomb once and still be considered PG13. Other words like $#!7 are virtually unregulated.) Sexual references? Jerry Maguire.

Here’s a comment I posted on his blog:

Two comments:

One: your focus as a Christian should never be: what can I get away with … or, how far to the edge can I get without crossing the line? It should be: what honors, glorifies, and pleases God?

It disturbs me that as a youth minister you don’t seem to get that.

Two: “Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.” Phillipians 4.

The Bible is not silent about books, movies, and music.

Why do you think God gave 10 Commandments, and not 10,000? Because He knew that it would be foolish to make a law for every possible occurence in life.

Rather, what He wants His people to do is to live for Him, focus on Him, glorify Him, and see to do His will.

Finally, a Christian does not “prove” to himself that X is OK because, after all, X is in the popular news, X is in popular movies, and X is in popular books.

A Christian says that X is OK because it’s consistent with God’s word, and it’s expedient and helpful in my goal to live as Christ wants me to.

Please note: I’m not telling you whether you should or should not listen to Metallica. I’m telling you that the grounds upon which you’re basing your decision are not Christian ones … they’re secular ones.

First get the right foundation. Then the right decisions are a lot easier.