Friday, February 1, 2013

Does playing metal mean I'm losing my religion?

I've recently purchased an electric violin.  It's something I never thought I'd play, but I borrowed one over Christmas break, and the sounds that came through my amplifier made me feel like I was playing an electric guitar!  It has catapulted me into wanting to hear and play the craziest guitar-driven songs, primarily. . . metal.

I wasn't allowed to listen to pop music growing up, let alone metal!  My days were filled with Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms, as well as some Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Debussy.  I was trained classically on the piano and violin, and with all of the practicing required of me, I didn't have a chance to explore any other types of music unless I stealthily changed the channel on my radio while I was studying late at night.  That's when I was introduced to bands like Depeche Mode, Erasure, New Order, and also Chicago,  Cheap Trick, U2, and of course, George Michael.  "Got to have faith. . . yeah, yeah. . . got to have faith, faith, faith!"

Interesting point George.  I do have faith in God and a personal relationship with Jesus, but now that I am listening to Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer, Baroness, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, AC/DC, Guns 'n Roses, etc., does that mean I've lost the faith?  Can I listen to some of their dark lyrics yet still call myself a Christian?

Here's my answer: Yes.

Why?  Well first, I'm actually not listening to any lyrics, so I'm not looking to change my life philosophy.  I'm only interested in the music, and can I say, these metal guitarists are mad talented!!  It's not easy to play their riffs, and they have created some very innovative melodies that when stripped from high-octane lyrics and performance antics, are incredibly beautiful and technically challenging.  Dare I say that some riffs are practically on par with Paganini and Mendelssohn as far as level of difficulty?

I'm also finding that when I take the skeleton of the song and put flesh on it with the electric violin, it becomes a completely different animal.  Is there a name for it?  Violinist David Garrett calls it "Rock Symphony," pianist Scott Davis refers to it as "Rockfluence," my name for it is. . . "Metalin."  I never dreamed I'd listen to metal and then want to play it on the violin, but it is my newest hobby and has completely taken over the hours of 10:30pm-1:00am almost every night.  I just plug in my headset on the electric violin, and my family doesn't have to be bothered while they sleep and I practice!

But the other thing about my faith is this: I believe that God loves me, and because He loves me, He takes joy in my joy.  Just as I take great delight in my children's delight of something I've given them, I believe He delights in my love of music.  He's the Creator of music, and when I play, I play for Him, regardless of what genre the song comes from.  Colossians 3:17a says, "And whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord."  That means that everything counts; everything I do can be an opportunity to give God glory, whether it's washing the dishes, making a meal, teaching lessons, or practicing metal on the electric violin!  God desires to be at the center of everything I'm doing, and when I give Him the best in every aspect of my life, it's all about Him and not about me.

So no, I don't think playing metal means that I'm losing my religion.  In fact, I lost my "religion" a long time ago- I don't like that word anyway!  Playing "metalin" allows me to spend time enjoying the gift of music that God created, and there's nothing I love more than being in His presence, playing for Him.


SpringSnoopy (Julie) said...

Right on! But who's questioning you about this, girl???!!

Rock Symphony vs. Beethoven isn't a dividing wall between having faith and losing/lacking it, is it?

The externals like this are just clothing over our hearts.

Playing Bach? Playing Rock? Let's not deceive ourselves into thinking we have enough evidence to stop there and make a verdict about anyone's heart!

ANYthing can be done with and in faith in God (ONLY by the grace of God). Likewise, ANYthing can be done without faith, too (which is actually the default and norm).

So, like you said, everything we do counts! Whether singing, brushing, sweeping, talking, gathering, playing, hosting, listening, etc... It can all count towards our own gain/credit/glory (=lacking faith) or it can count towards His magnificence/worthiness and glory (=faith by His grace).

It's what's in your heart, not the composer you choose.

Tammy Meinershagen said...

Thanks Julie!! I love that last line. . . and I totally agree with you! Partly it's my own heart that is condemning me and this was a way for me to remind myself that God can still be glorified whether or not I'm playing hymns or metal! :)