Well, now that I'm on break, I have a little time to devote to writing another entry (sorry it's been so long). I thought I would do well to write about music, as it is one of the most influential and intriguing media forms today; not only is radio (FM, AM, Satellite, Internet, etc.) extremely prevalent in our modern society, the instant availablility of music from places such as the iTunes Store or any local music store makes music a potent medium with which many different people spread their ideas and influence.
Not only can someone quickly find almost any popular music on the planet, but he is also able to carry it all with him on his iPod, on a CD player, or using some other portable method. What goes into a person's head is very important, for the Bible states, "I do not allow into my presence anyone who speaks perversely" (Psalm 101:3). How important it is, then, for us to protect ourselves from not only people who speak perversely, but also to protect ourselves from their words, i.e. music.
One of my biggest gripes with modern music is popular artists' tendencies to think everyone loves hearing curse word after curse word. Or having to rhyme everything by using profane words instead of using God-given creative powers to make relevant and interesting rhymes. In case you don't know, it is not a good thing to listen to all this swearing and cussing; not only does it sour the mind, but it also makes a person more likely to use those words in his own speech (familiarity breeds fondness, not contempt), and lessens the value of words. Why do we have to put up with this music's inability to produce meaningful verse? We don't.
In case you do not know, there are many groups in the music world who do not use swearing or profanity in their music. Sure, they are not played on all the 'popular' radio stations, nor are they always easy to find in the music stores. The best way to protest the bad words in music is to not buy, support, or even listen to the music. That's right; by simply listening to this music, you are showing it some sort of support (even if it's not monetary). By allowing your ears to hear, you are telling God and others, "I deem this sound worthy to be heard by my ears."
We must take heed not to let bad sound enter our ears, just as we should not let bad images enter our eyes. We experience the world through our senses—if we allow profanity to enter our ears, we are giving up one of our senses to wrongdoing; our experience will be the worse for it!
Another problem that is sometimes caused by people's musical tastes is an addiction to music. Some people simply cannot get enough music. They walk around with headphones in their ears, they turn on the stereos in their rooms, they listen to the radio in their cars, and they go to concerts when available, rarely taking the time to give their ears a rest!
Not only can this cause physical problems (i.e. deafness or impaired hearing abilities), it can also cause other non-physical problems. Once we 'Lose ourselves' to the music, we have given up a part of what makes us humans. We are admitting that we are dependent on music, as we could be dependent on a drug. If a person is listening to music so much that he 'loses himself' to it, he has put himself in a weary situation indeed!
There is a certain amount of music that can be healthy for a person, and this amount differs for every person. But a common problem amongst the people of our modern American society is their inability to cope with silence. Some people even have silonophobia ("fear of silence"), and become tense when there is no ambient sound. Jesus himself knew the importance of silence: "he would withdraw to deserted placed to pray" (Luke 5:16). Without this respect and acceptance of silence, we cannot truly have some time to ourselves—to actually think things over and pray.
One of the greatest issues that my generation must deal with, but which I don't normally see much argument about, is piracy. Many of my peers seem to think that either (a) it's morally acceptable to obtain copyrighted music through filesharing networks or other digital means (i.e. 'sharing music'), or (b) it's not morally acceptable, but it's not so bad that I won't do it. This is a huge problem! Just because you might not get caught does not mean it's okay!
Some try to justify this stealing by saying, 'oh, the record companies overcharge, and I'm just a rebel trying to make a change, etc. etc.'—but this is not the way to do it. Boycotting is an acceptable way of dealing with these kinds of problems, but stealing is not.
Stealing is stealing, no matter how 'innocent' one feels. The only way to stop this terrible disease of piracy is to stop cold-turkey. People must realize that piracy is wrong, and should not be done at all. It is not acceptable, and carries with it the same moral consequences as stealing. Stealing a song is, morally, the same as stealing a candy bar from the store. Sure, you might not get caught. But it is wrong. W-R-O-N-G: wrong.
Now, you may say, am I not being a little harsh? Maybe so. But I always like to err on the side of caution. We must be vigilant in our use and likings of music. We must be careful to not let smutty, ugly or improper words enter our ears. We must take care to not take what is not rightly ours (even if everyone else is doing it).
I listen to music often, but I try to (a) make sure I leave myself ample quiet-time, (b) select only appropriate, well-written music and (c) never steal music, by any method. Although I sometimes fail, I strive to do better; I wish to amend my ways and turn back to God; the One who gave me the ability to listen to His wonderful gift of music. Let us all strive to be perfect, as Jesus our Lord was!