Rethinking my resentments

I shared a big revelation recently: I’ve become disillusioned with Christian subculture. Now I’m struggling to figure out what to do with that.

My big problem is it defined me for so long. It defined my faith. It’s who I was as a Christian. Now that I’m redefining myself and stripping off so much of Christianity that disgusts me, it’s hard to figure out what kind of Christian I am now. I feel like I’m caught between the old goody-two-shoes-me and a new worldly me. I want a balance between the two.

I used to be the Christian that was absolutely offended by anything that wasn’t cleaned up for my eyes and ears. Once I discovered Christian music, I didn’t want to listen to anything else. It felt safer. My college boyfriend, who had a deep love of music, loaned me a Pink Floyd CD. It was one of his favorite albums and he wanted to share it with me. I was wary, because it just looked “evil.” I listened to about a track and a half, and grew incredibly offended by a couple of swear words. I gave it back to him, refusing to listen to anymore. He told me that if I could just get past those words, I might really enjoy the music. With my arms crossed in front of me, I refused. I would not come off my holy high horse.

Looking back on that, I’m ashamed. I wasn’t willing to come out of my safe bubble to engage with him musically, yet I played CCM music for him the entire length of our relationship. It was not his music of choice, but he lovingly listened to it with me. He never once said a bad word about it. He could have. A lot of what I played lacked originality or good musicality. Compared to his music collection, which ranged from that Pink Floyd album to Franz Liszt to every Billy Joel album in existence, my collection was pretty simplistic.

He was nothing but kind to me and my music, and I couldn’t give one of his favorite albums a single listen. He wasn’t a Christian, but sometimes he portrayed more Christlike characteristics than I did.

Now, I’d rather not listen to those CCM songs. I find them too simplistic and predictable. I listen to a bigger variety of music, mostly non Christian. I listen to songs that goody-two-shoes-me would be shocked at. I recently had the rap song, “Thrift Shop” stuck in my head for days (Don’t judge me like I used to judge all others, please). I’ve learned that many non Christian songs have really deep messages; messages that I think Jesus would agree with.

I don’t want to go back to goody-two-shoes, but I also don’t want to roll too far the other way. I still want to be conscious of what I’m listening to and watching, and careful not to feed too much “filth” into my head. I want to be in the world, open to other’s music choices and thoughts, all while remaining focused on Jesus.

It’s a struggle.

Question: Do you ever find yourself caught between the secular and the sacred? Where’s that “fine line” for you? What’s okay and what’s not?

6 Replies to “Rethinking my resentments”

  1. Jamie, I so resonate with this post. I actually detest Christian subculture, but it’s taken me a long time to be okay with saying that. I once destroyed every tape I had that wasn’t Christian music, including DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’s “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” which I’d LOVE to own now.

    I don’t know how I draw the line. In fact, maybe it’s that I don’t draw a line. I find God in all kinds of things, and like you, I see Christ in people who would never call themselves Christians.

    I heard a pastor summarize the entire story of the Bible in this phrase – “Love God, and do what you want.” I have found that when I trust my heart for God, and when I trust God’s love for me, I know where those lines lay – what I cannot do without feeling sick or sad and what I need to embrace because it overflows with love.

    It’s when I forget the love that I get in trouble, I think. Thanks for this post.

    1. “I have found that when I trust my heart for God, and when I trust God’s love for me, I know where those lines lay.” I love this sentiment. I think I spend too much time and energy wondering, “Is this okay for me to do/say/listen to/watch?” I should probably just trust my gut.

      I sold all my secular albums when I got into Christian music. I miss a lot of them, like Alanis Morrissette’s Jagged Little Pill.

  2. I find that I tend to be too “rock ‘n roll” for my Fellow Christians and too Christian for those who aren’t. It’s tough. I just decided to only worry about the One who should should be concerned about all of that.

  3. A verse has stuck in my head a couple of days now and specific words from those verses…. Luke 6:37, 38… Do not judge, …Do not condemn…..Forgive…. Give…..

    I do not want to be one who condemns or judges and I think we tend to do that with stuff that is not stuff we like or like us ….. I think to reach people we have to be open to them and their stuff all the time trying to make wise choices for ourselves with how we deal with it. People will respect us if we decide we do not like what they like if we gave it an honest look and if we did so respectful. It also gives us a greater chance of having them take a look at what we like.

  4. Excellent thoughts. I honestly reached that point a long time ago.
    Then again, some of my favorite bands kind of walk a fine line. Christians who record good music that wouldn’t always be considered “Christian” music. My best examples are The Violet Burning and The Prayer Chain. I guess you would consider both . Then again, they write truly fabulous worship songs too.

    As for where my line is, I guess that line has shifted over the years. I guess it depends on the overall attitude in the music. But that would apply to movies & tv too. A couple years ago I realized I was over the top with cynicism and sarcasm to the point of meanness, so I sold my Simpsons DVDs. Not that I think The Simpsons is always bad, it just happened to move me in a bad direction in very subtle ways.

    Music though – I think Nine Inch Nails is generally over my line, though Smashing Pumpkins, which is very similar, isn’t (at least not always). There are times that I really love Led Zeppelin – mainly because I love the guitar parts, but for some reason, I get depressed if I listen to too much. Again, just me.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank YOU for sharing. I love your thoughts. I think it’s different for each person. I love your example of the Simpsons. I have to be careful of cynicism too, and I think a lot of what I watch leads to that.

      One of the lessons I’ve had to learn is to stop judging others for what they listen to and watch. Just because it doesn’t fit under my definition of okay doesn’t mean it’s not okay for them.

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