Volume. XXI, No. 10
Sunday, 03 September 2006

From the Pastors heart: Music, not matters?

One of the persistent questions from young people in general is Christian music.  Since all of us like music and enjoy it one way or another, every one of us acts and talks like music professionals when it comes to the use of music in the church.  It is good, but at the same time it makes the talk difficult.  It is because the preference of music appears to be subjective, and who will say his music is better than others’?  Where did he receive such authority even to think like that?  Does that mean that all music is good?  Or is it possible to say that certain music is good, while certain music is bad, or not so good?  Some people say that as long as we have good lyrics, we have good music.  Some say that rhythm or beat does not have anything to do with goodness or badness of music.  If I say that I prefer this music to that music, then others will say, “good, but do not tell others to like the same.  Music is subjective.”  Is there more objective way to know of good or bad music? 

Well, August issue of Pediatrics,( Vol. 118, No. 2 August 2006, pp. e430-e441, doi:10.1542/peds.2006-0131) carries an article, “Exposure to Degrading Versus Nondegrading Music Lyrics and Sexual Behaviour Among Youth,” by Steven C. Martino, Rebecca L. Collins, Marc N. Elliott, Amy Strachman, David E. Kanouse, and Sandra H. Berry.  The study background is briefly explained in its abstract as following: “Early sexual activity is a significant problem in the United States.  A recent survey suggested that most sexually experienced teens wish they had waited longer to have intercourse; other data indicate that unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases are more common among those who begin sexual activity earlier. Popular music may contribute to early sex.  Music is an integral part of teens' lives. The average youth listens to music 1.5 to 2.5 hours per day [It does not include the amount of time they are exposed to music via music videos.].  Sexual themes are common in much of this music and range from romantic and playful to degrading and hostile.  Although a previous longitudinal study has linked music video consumption and sexual risk behaviour, no previous study has tested longitudinal associations between the content of music lyrics and subsequent changes in sexual experience, such as intercourse initiation, nor has any study explored whether exposure to different kinds of portrayals of sex has different effects.”  Then, in short, the conclusion of this study is as following: “Listening to music with degrading sexual lyrics is related to advances in a range of sexual activities among adolescents, whereas this does not seem to be true of other sexual lyrics. This result is consistent with sexual-script theory and suggests that cultural messages about expected sexual behaviour among males and females may underlie the effect.”  The point of this study is that there is a close relationship between music and our behaviours.

Christenson PG and Roberts DF said in their book, It's Not Only Rock and Roll: Popular Music in the Lives of Adolescents (Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press; 1998), that we cannot understand the youth without understanding the influence of music on them, because music is a part of their life.  Music forms their identity, their social interactions and personal relationships, and their behaviours are often determined by the music they listen to (Lull J., Commun Res. 1985;12 :363 –372; Lull J, ed. Popular Music and Communication. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage; 1987:140 –174).  Therefore, it should not surprise us that maybe the messages in music have significant influences on the inner and social aspects of our youth.  Having seen all kinds of music even within our churches, we ought to be careful what must be considered in our music.

Some people say that lyrics are not a matter of concern.  Young people do not pay attention to the written messages in popular music (Greenfield PM, Bruzzone L, Koyamatsu K, et al. What is rock music doing to the minds of our youth? A first experimental look at the effects of rock music lyrics and music videos. J Early Adolesc. 1987;7 :315 –329; Leming JS. Rock music and the socialization of moral values in early adolescence. Youth Soc. 1987;18 :363 –383; Rosenbaum J, Prinsky L. Sex, violence, and rock ‘n’ roll: youth's perceptions of popular music. Pop Music Soc. 1987;11 :79 –89).  However, such view ought to be rejected by the conclusion of the study in Pediatrics.

Young people, quite often, learn behaviours by imitating others.  According to social cognitive theory, “The likelihood of imitation increases when the model is perceived as attractive or similar to the self” (Bandura A. Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social  Cognitive Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall; 1986).  It means that “Highly popular music artists can, therefore, serve as especially potent role models for teens.”  We need to know who wrote what music and artists’ way of life and confession of faith must be considered.

According to Pardun CJ, L'Engle KL, and Brown JD, (“Linking exposure to outcomes: early adolescents' consumption of sexual content in six media,” Mass Commun Soc. 2005;8 :75 –91), “higher levels of exposure to sexual music content might have led to increased sexual activity and future intentions to be sexually active; however, a plausible alternative interpretation is that teens who were sexually active or anticipating sexual activity in the near future chose to listen to more sexual music than their sexually inactive peers.”  In other words, music leads us into certain directions, or our music preference simply shows our predispositions toward some behaviours.  Of course, media plays an important role in this matter.  Repeated exposure to certain messages may also lead to the internalization of perceived messages within the minds of the listeners.  The researchers for August issue of Pediatrics say, “We also observed an association between time spent listening to music in general and changes in sexual behaviour.  The more time teens spent listening to music, the more likely they were to advance in their nonchalant sexual behaviour and to initiate intercourse.”

Music in everything

The Associated Press reported on August 7, 2006, “Teens will try to deny it, they'll say ‘No, it's not the music, but it IS the music.’  That has one of the biggest impacts on our lives," Ramsey said.  “Natasha Ramsey, a 17-year-old from New Brunswick, New Jersey, said she and other teens sometimes listen to sexually explicit songs because they like the beat [underline added].”

Music, does not matter to you?  It matters to me and to all serious Christians!
Lovingly, Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question No. 61: What is forbidden in the fourth commandment? The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission or careless performance of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.

Please pray for health & God’s healing: Ps Ki, Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Rev David Koo, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, & Winston Selvanayagam; Sisters Sheila George, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Aranka Rejtoe, Iris Surman, Sally Teng, Juanita Tong, Susan Veradi, & Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; Auntie Oei & others in affliction. "He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill” (Ps 113:7).

Please pray for – a) Cambodia Missions - Rev & Mrs Luke Kim (Veal Renh); b) Laos Missions - Bro S Dhamarlingam; c) Pastors & believers in India & Pakistan; d) Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Bro H S Lim; e) Journey Mercies -  Dn Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong (Adl); Sis Roslyn Gan (Melb); Mr Chee Chong (Adl/Whyalla);   f) Ministry in USA - Ps Ki; g) Jobs for - Mr Leo Xeng & Sis Yee Min Tee. h) YAF members -Evangelism event “September 30 in 30”.

Please pray for The Lord to provide $11,000 for Pastor’s car fund.

Praise and Thank God for – a) YAF Prayer & Share, Ladies Prayer Meeting & Men’s Prayer Meeting ; b) Journey mercies - Ps Ki (USA); Dn Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong (M’sia); Bro Craig & Sis Clara Samels (M’sia); The George family (Brisbane & Adl);  Mr Chee Chong (Adl/Whyalla); Sis Roslyn Gan (Adl)

Please note: ECM has been postponed to 23rd September 2006.

Service Roster for the next quarter: Please let Dn Edwin D’Mello know of your availability.

Church Directory: Updating the church directory has now started.  Please give your contact details to Sis Josephine Lee.



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