Sunday, March 25, 2018
Why Should The Devil Have All The Bad Music?
This is a time of you where Catholics are trying to walk with Jesus through the passion. We try to connection our suffering with those of Christ. That can not only make us feel better but give our suffering salvific significance. That is our pain becomes a powerful weapon is the spiritual battle to save souls, including our own. This is a doctrine protestants reject because they get salvation wrong. I won't get into that here but it matters in practice because much of our Christian music comes from protestants.
I recall something I read a while back about Christian music being excessively happy.
This just documents what many have said. That is that Christian music is great when you are happy and feeling good. It is not so good when you are in pain. Now Christians should always have a deep underlying joy and our music should help us connect with that. It is good we have music that does that well. Yet we still have pain. We still have deep pain that we cannot just ignore for a while when we sing some happy clappy songs on Sunday morning. Even the lesser struggles we have that we can set aside, is Sunday morning a time when we should set them aside?
If your theology does not really have a place for suffering you have no choice. That is not true of Catholic theology but many Catholics don't really get it. We can slip into protestant thinking because we live in a sea of protestants. We have a very secular culture but to the extent we have a Christian subculture it is very much a protestant one. We get that we believe in the Eucharist and the pope and they don't. Yet other differences like the way we think about suffering come out in more subtle ways and impact us a lot.
One way it impacts us is we have no Christian art we can turn to in times of suffering. We don't even really think Christian art can address the subject. We can even go so far as to imagine Christian community cannot address it. It happens that someone who is in serious pain withdraws from Christian community because it does not go well. Often they can find secular art and secular community that can understand their pain. Yet the secular world has no answer. We need something that points us to the cross. Yet we have forgotten how to do that.
So that brought me to the title of this post. Larry Norman had a song a while back called "Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music?"
What I am thinking has happened is the Devil has all the Bad Music. Not artistically bad but "bad" in the sense of music we listen to during bad times. Christianity needs to relearn how to write such music. It needs to relearn how to embrace the cross.