The party song of a generation

Every generation of American teenagers has had its party song since mass radio audiences were possible. I can remember some enormously popular party songs during my growing up years. In 1981 “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang hit number one. As one who spent the greatest portion of his developmental years in the ’80’s I can say that “Celebration” was fairly harmless. In fact the lyrics are safe enough that someone is probably using it on Sunday morning gatherings with a slight word tweak here or there. A few years later Lionell Richie came out with “Dancin’ on the Ceiling”–again, fairly harmless unless dancing on the ceiling is a reference to a drug-induced state of dancing. But I don’t particularly remember associating Lionel Richie with drug use.

More recently Miley Cyrus produced “Party in the USA.” Once again I would place this song in the same general category as the two above, although not being performed in Sunday morning settings as far as I know. As a side-note: If you’re wondering if I am being somewhat sarcastic about the use of secular songs on Sunday morning, I am. Although, I will admit that some folks whom I have great respect for are using cleaned-up and sometimes unaltered popular secular songs in evangelical settings on Sunday mornings in a manner that appears to be effective. And yes, I realize we would have to debate what effective means.

Back to the topic at hand, which I think will garner support from most believers: the party song of a generation can tell us something about youth culture at a given point in time and I certainly agree with Plato that the songs of a generation can influence that generation. Katy Perry’s recent hit “Last Friday Night” is number 1 on several charts right now. This, my friends, is an example of a dangerous party song. The music content is quite good if judged by pop-music standards: fun-sounding, good hook, interesting close to chorus that represents reflection and sets up next verse, interesting and fun bridge with chanting of TGIF–reminds me of cheer section of “Hey Mickey from 80’s.” Of course the problems emerge with the text. This song goes way beyond pushing the limits of “I’ve got dad’s keys and we’re having a safe but good time on the town.” I believe there may be a couple of felonies listed. Out of control sexual behavior  is promoted throughout the song. There is a general encouragement toward carpe diem Huxley style (i.e., drug-enduced states are the key to experiencing paradise). Inception would be an example of a popular movie with the same Huxley philosophy in place (of course, Perry’s version is less thoughtful). Perry’s song represents a total “in your face” rebellion to the value-preserving institutions of any great society.

Of course, Perry did not invent this rage against adult-authority attitude in pop music. Many would credit the Rolling Stones as being the first to do it openly  and bombastically.

However, I would argue that Perry’s approach may be more persuasive for a larger demographic. Like Madonna she communicates her rage against the church and authority of all types more subtly through a pop sound as opposed to a pure rock sound. In fact, rage may not be the right word to describe this approach. The anti-authority sound of the Rolling Stones and other male-dominated bands who followed in their footsteps sounded more like rage, but even Twisted Sister figured out that the message would reach a larger audience if it was presented in a fun manner (e.g., “We’re Not Gonna Take It”).

In sum, I am not arguing that because of this song, the youth culture today is somehow worse than it has been. But I will say that a song of this nature reaching number one should alarm us and remind us that we are in a constant battle for the minds and hearts of our youth. And perhaps this reality reminds us that Christian artists who seek to find alternative ways to present a relevant sound with more wholesome lyrics are doing us a great service.  We may have to endure trite lyrics from Nashville’s best attempts at relevant Christian music. As I remind my students the 2% rule is always in place: only about 2% of the music in any given era will be enduring. Let’s hope “Last Friday Night” does not make the list.

46 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Beth Tucker on August 30, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    I agree completely. Music is a huge part of the youth/college culture. I have friends who aren’t actively attending church services who are surprised when I don’t know the latest Katy Perry hit, or who an artist is, but I am a firm believer in what goes in must come out. I want what comes out of my mouth to be pleasing to God, so I don’t listen to many things that don’t lift Him up. With my kiddos at church I try to plug them into Hillsong Kids, Addison Road, TobyMac… I hope and pray they latch onto these artists and hold onto them throughout their young adult life. I talk about VBS a lot, but that is my main worship time with my kids. I still have middle schoolers who listen to their VBS CDs from the past because they love the music. I want my kids to understand that everything we do should glorify God, and that means the music we listen to. I do listen to music that isn’t Christian, but I always make sure it doesn’t go against what God would want. My kids know that, and I have seen them use that with their friends countless times. Justin B and Hannah Montana had their moments, but Myle Cyrus not so much. I would love for the youth of Parkway to make their song of the generation from Passion. Many of them have and they are working on the others! All it takes is one…

    Reply

    • Posted by Jerry Lee Kelly on September 10, 2011 at 8:45 pm

      Hello Beth,
      I agree, it is so important what we listen to. What comes in usually goes out. I do enjoy some secular music, but risque and sinful lyrics can cause us to get our mind off Christ and onto the world. I am as conservative as anyone can be, but I still believe that nobody should be censored in what they sing. It is not the responsibility of the world to not tempt, it is the responsibility of Christians to be discerning in their selections. I find myself asking sometimes “Would Jesus actually listen to this?”

      Reply

      • Posted by lvillestudents on September 18, 2011 at 2:08 pm

        The funny thing is Jerry, he would probably be listening to that, because he would be surrounding himself with people who were sinners. But, to your point, discernment is the key to all of this. I lead a large group of students aged 11-18. I am hearing everything that is popular from rap to country and in-between. My job as a leader is not to tell students which music they can buy and download- that’s a parent’s job. My job is to lead with the truth and allow God to convict…

        good post!

      • Posted by Brad Gaunt on September 23, 2011 at 2:26 am

        Another aspect of leading students is by example. While there are several secular songs that are descent, there are many more that are crude. When the youth pick up our IPods what do they find on it? When we help to lead them to the truth and apply that truth to their songs, they may get the message. I think that we should also be careful about what songs we condone and give approval to. If we would not have the youth watch a movie with lots of sex scenes in it, then why should we condone them listening to music with the same subjects in its lyrics? I do agree however, that we cannot be the “music enforcer” for our youth. We cannot tell them what they can and cannot listen to. But we can show that we do not condone of certain types of music.

      • The secular music issue is not an easy one. I personally do listen to secular music. I like country music, some pop music, and lots of old stuff like the Eagles, etc. Obviously we should use discernment in what we listen to and how it affects us and what is being glorified. We must be careful to not allow ourselves to become influenced by the world and at the same time not be legalistic. If we were for instance to promote that only Christian music should ever be listened to (as some people do, but none on this board that I’ve noticed), would we not then need to promote only Christian news, movies, books, etc?

      • Posted by Mike Cobb on September 23, 2011 at 6:07 pm

        Dear Brad,

        I completely agree that as leaders in the church, we must lead by example. Ultimately, the responsibility for what young people listen to must come from the person’s parents. However, we must eccourage the young people in our churches to surround themselves with music that glorifies God.

      • @Jerry: I definitely think that Jesus would hear a song like this. I don’t think he would be listening to it on his iPod, but he would be familiar with it. But i think there is a big difference between listening and enjoying something and hearing and critiquing it.

    • Posted by Donnie Jones on September 11, 2011 at 3:32 am

      I agree Beth. I do like some secualr music, stuff that is appropriate, but I seek to listen and promote music that is God-honoring and helps me and others seek the Lord. I also like to promote and listen to music in which the artist that sings it, is living for Christ and is a good example for kids and others.

      For istance, I like “Jesus take the Wheel” by underwood. I like the message, but is the messager a God-seeking individual? This doesnt matter to many, but it sure matters to me.

      Reply

      • Posted by lvillestudents on September 20, 2011 at 3:58 pm

        Good thought. Being from Atlanta, I know several main stream “Christian Artists.” Their music plays on the radio and most would say that they are “popular.” But, as I have found, there are a lot of “Christian” artists who are playing “Christian” music, who do not “live” like a professing believers. You would not believe the things that are said after the concert or things that are said on the tour bus…Just a thought.

    • Posted by Ben Purvis on September 12, 2011 at 2:33 pm

      Beth,
      I completely understand your line of thinking. I didn’t grow up in church, and became a Christian when I was in high school. I struggled for quite a while with trying to decide what type of music is “right” and what I should or shouldn’t listen. I remember spending time in a small, conservative, but not over the top fundamental Baptist church. Over the last eleven years or so, my mind has shifted several times on the stance of what should be played. Maybe this will change when I have kids, but I think there may be some danger in having a student only listen to praise songs and contemporary Christian music. For one, there are plenty of musical groups that aren’t Christian that I have no problem listening. Honestly, I listen to music at times for worship purposes, and at other times for other purposes (working out, for example). So I guess my thought is this, is there room in the musical spectrum to listen to music that is not Christian or worship music?

      Reply

      • Ben, I like the point that you make about different types of music at different times. I grew up listening to an eclectic mix of oldies from a local radio station (50’s-70’s), country music (classic and contemporary), and all types of Christian music. There have been times that I have really wanted to listen to a praise and worship CD, but there are other times that my country favorites playlist on my iPod helps me relax. Music speaks to our soul at a very deep level, so different types of music meet us where we are at. While I recognize that some music is unwholesome from the beginning due to explicit lyrics or inappropriate content, there is a wide range of music that I do not have a problem listening to. It takes discernment to understand what is appropriate and what is not. I think that it is the issue of discernment that is central to the selection of music. We must teach our kids that they cannot just listen to music without thinking about it. They must consider the artist and the lyrics of music they are interested in before they listen and/or buy it. Discernment takes practice and persistence before it becomes a natural part of our lives, so parents play a vital role in teaching their children how to choose music wisely.

      • Posted by Mike Cobb on September 23, 2011 at 6:11 pm

        Dear Josh,

        The majority of country music is acceptable. I grew up in the 60’s where much of the music was being influenced by the drug culture of the day. So, I agree with you that we must be extremely discerning in what we listen to and be particularly cautious as to what our young people listen to.

    • Posted by Jeremy Willis on September 19, 2011 at 2:11 am

      Beth,

      I agree with you. I know in my life there was a time when I listened to music every moment possible. I would go to sleep with music playing in the background. I have always like a hard rock sound, so as a youth I listened to lots of heavy metal type music including while sleeping. One day I decided to change up what I was listening to at night I started to listen to classical music. I found that I was not nearly as aggressive a person especially in the morning. I still like that hard rock sound, however I look for those bands offer it with a Christian message, like RED. There seems to be music enough to go around the question is what do you choose to listen to?

      Reply

  2. I think that this is even more interesting (disturbing?) when we look at more of her songs. “I Kissed a Girl”…”Teenage Dream”… others which focus on promiscuity. And then we combine that with her growing up as a pastor’s kid. Now both her dad and mom were the pastors (which could be an entirely different issue), but still…

    I dont think that youth today are worse than any other generation, but I question if parents are as strong as they used to be. It seems now that many parents, in their efforts at being relevant to their kids, go to far in accepting immorality.

    Reply

    • Posted by Derek Mitchell on September 6, 2011 at 10:42 pm

      I agree … This trend among the generations continues strong, so we should be prepared in how we live our lives against it? Right? We’ve got everything we need for life and godliness. God’s spirit in us (to counsel us and lead us to Honor God with our lives) and God’s very Word is clear in our approach to things of the world. “Do not love the world or anything in it” (1 John) How much will we chose to tolerate before realize that God doesn’t demand partial obedience or partial holiness? How will this relate to the type of music we listen to and allow our children to hear?

      Reply

    • Posted by Jerry Lee Kelly on September 10, 2011 at 9:10 pm

      Hello Derek,
      I too do not think that our youth is worse or better than other time periods. They certainly face more temptations that people, such as we, might face. In this age of incredible technology, they have more at their fingertips than previous groups might have in a lifetime. But, Jesus is still in the redeeming business, and he has not forsaken the young people of today. The sadder perspective is that the adults of today have literally thrown away a generation. We all need to simply get back to serviing the God or our forgiveness.

      Reply

      • Posted by Derek Mitchell on September 12, 2011 at 3:23 am

        Amen! God gives us wisdom, and I pray that we all use it to guard our own lives and the lives of those we love by filtering the music and movies from its luring power and lead us to sin. But, even then and I absolutely agree, PRAISE THE LORD, that we serve a REDEEMING Savior! That’s enough alone to worship! He continues to redeem us from the things of this world, until we see His face in our resurrected bodies and sing “HOLY” music forever 🙂 ….

      • Posted by Brad Gaunt on September 23, 2011 at 2:35 am

        I also think that youth are no worse now than in other generations. Sins may evolve to a culture, but there are no new sins out there that our youth are just now discovering. However, I do think that some sins are much more blatant now than they were in past generations. With this, the gospel message also needs to be more upfront. The sins are not hidden so the forgiveness of those sins should likewise not be hidden. The church should not fight with the youth but they should also not let them fall through the cracks because of their open sins.

    • Posted by Ben Purvis on September 13, 2011 at 2:55 pm

      I’ve noticed these same trends in Student Ministry over the last few years. Currently, I serve at a church where the family units are very strong. Divorce still happens, but I notice it to be much more impactful on my students at this church than in others because of the family structure. All that being said, my students are extremely disciplined by their parents when it comes to studies. I would venture the vast majority of students are in honors classes which were chosen for them by their parents. Also, parents have already begun looking at where their child should go to college, and help them build resumes to get into these schools. The parents make sure that they have volunteer hours and make regular societal contributions that go above and beyond “regular” students. When it comes to sports, some parents provide extra training in sport specific areas to ensure that their child has the best chance to succeed. However, while almost every move is calculated, the parents still allow their kids to choose spiritual disciplines. Most of my kids have zero choice about whether they will do their homework, but have every choice in if they will come to church.

      Ultimately kids are kids…and it comes down to parental responsibility.

      Reply

      • Posted by lvillestudents on September 18, 2011 at 2:14 pm

        Ben, great word and painting us a picture of every meticulous thing that parents do in the every day lives and directing the future for their children. I am facing the same thing in my ministry. Parents want students to get A+ in every class and sport to save $ in the long run- and I completely understand. I have children who will enter college one day. But, I also realize that I have the most potential to influence their lives for good or bad. I will not stoop down to the level of society and make my children robots when it comes to getting a good grade or performing. I will ask them for their best and excellence will be expected, but they will not be punished for not performing to a standard.

        In the same respect, I want them to understand the standard of Jesus- which is holiness. I want them to understand that all will fail. No one can achieve this but God. I want them to be in pursuit. If music is a hindrance to this pursuit, I want to lead them in that direction so they can understand fully why we don’t choose to listen to things like that-

      • Posted by Ben Purvis on September 19, 2011 at 4:46 pm

        Thank you for your kind words. I agree with you, I want the music that they listen to to usher in an understanding of the character of God, encourage them to strive for holy living by the power of the Spirit, and leave an imprint of the power of God on their very being. Music is a slippery slope and unfortunately to some, there are gray areas.

      • Ben,
        Great point. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had a student say “I can’t be at church tonight, I have a test” or “I have a paper to write.” I have also noticed students seem more involved in multiple things than ever and those things take up more time than ever. When I was a senior in high school that played football and baseball, I can hardly remember missing a Wed. night. Today, many parents are very devoted to their kids educational and social maturity but as you have said, they do not force the issue with church. They have no trouble “making” them do about anything but go to church in some cases.

    • Sometimes I wonder if some parents fail at instilling moral integrity in their children because they are still living with the shame of their on youthful lust past. Just a thought.

      Reply

      • Posted by Jerry Lee Kelly on September 24, 2011 at 2:33 am

        Josh,
        You have hit on an issue that most people just ignore. Sadly, in most churches, discipleship training and sharing is weak, if existent at all. Lifetime guilt is a real issue to a lot of people. I know several, including a family member, who say they just cannot even witness to their wayward children because they were so rebellious in their lifestyles. I wonder when we will begin to realize that when God forgives our sin, he removes those sins from his memory. We remember, but he does not. Also, God never….and I mean never….holds our forgiven sin against us. It is satan and his minions who constantly throw up our sin to us. We need to rise above the guilt………and live in the liberty of forgiveness. I think our kids would see that and know that something is very in our lives.
        Thank you,
        Jerry

    • I’ve seen this a lot. Parents want to be accepted by their children, so they permit and even participate in the culture with their kids. I don’t need to be accepted by my kids. What kind of thinking is that anyway?

      Reply

  3. Posted by Rich Beatty on September 1, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I know of more than one preacher’s kid who has willingly and gladly chosen the path to hell because of the way their mom and dad were treated by their congregations over the years. I don’t know if this is the reasoning behind Katy Perry’s musical lyrics but the in-your-face attitude of it all seems to belie some serious angst against all that would associate with the church. Any thoughts…??

    Reply

    • I don’t know her story completely. But I try to be caution in assuming (not that you were) that it was the church’s fault. Legalism can certainly turn people away but many times the cares of this world also choke out the seed of the gospel.

      Reply

  4. Posted by Derek Mitchell on September 6, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Music has an effect on people. It can change someone’s mood almost instantly as well as send a strong message to an audience with which they can choose to agree (and maybe apply to their lives or receive with favor) or disagree. Even more, if the music is not guarded from children by parents, even children innocently receive this music as good and entertaining. I don’t think parents realize the influence that negative music will have on their child in what they choose to listen to in their upcoming years.
    We need Christians of all ages to step up against the world of unwholesome Music (and not support it by buying it!!) for the sake of our children and ourselves to guard against the worldliness that enters and affects our lives through music. A mentor once taught me that our “eyes and ears are windows to our soul”. I’ve come to learn more specifically that what our eyes see and our ears listen to encourage us to live by what we allow into our lives and influence us. The question with regards to music and its affect on our lives … Does the music we listen to lead us to holiness by which we desire God more, or have we settled for music that sounds good to the ear, but ends up wasting our lives in how it brings no spiritual edification to our lives? Obviously, we need not be legalistic, but practical and wise in how we live to honor God with all of our lives.

    Reply

    • Derek-

      Great post! Thanks for your insight. Your mention of our eyes and ears being the windows to the soul actually made me think of a song that I learned at church as a preschooler. This little song says “Be careful little eyes what you see. There’s a Father up above and He’s looking down in love. So, be careful little eyes what you see” The next verse mentions being careful what little ears hear. Obviously this song is memorable, like most music, or I would not remember it more than two decades after learning it. The truth of the song, however, still holds true. We should seek to honor God is what we listen to and watch. He has placed the Biblical guidelines of thinking about “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable” (Phil. 4:8) in order to protect our heads and hearts because He loves us and wants the best for us.

      Reply

      • Posted by Richard Beatty on September 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm

        David writes in Psalm 101:3 “I will set no worthless thing before my eyes…” I think the principle behind this verse could also just as easily apply to what goes into one’s ears… The old computer metaphor still works well, “garbage in garbage out!!”

  5. Posted by Jerry Lee Kelly on September 10, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    There should be no surprise that music is such a universal language. Satan himself is pictured as a master of music. Music crosses language barriers and can speak when no words are used at all. Our selection of music demonstrates the spiritual condition of our sensitivity to sin. We tend to just let things go by. I remember the Stones singing “I can’t get no satisfaction.” It was a huge hit and greatly influenced a whole generation of young people. The enormous popularity of groups such as the Beattles accounts for some of our attitutudes toward what we accept as normal. Christians have allowed the words of secular music to infiltrate the church, and that is a travesty. But to be fair, it is not only the lyrics, but it is also the presentation. We have, as Christians, allowed our churches to adopt the methods of a worldly system in order to present music, even in our services. The reality is, some music played in churches is the same music played in the night clubs. Sadly enough, the lyrics are often buried under the blaring noise of instruments to the point we can’t even hear the words. i am old school, and still believe that the church (true Christians) should look differently and act differently from the fallen world system. I am totally against rock, country, jazz and other media modules that are used in some churches to present what they perceive to be a gospel message. We have assimilated worldly ways into the sacred and holy presentation and presence of the Holy Spirit as he moves among his children in worship services.

    Reply

    • Posted by Mike Cobb on September 13, 2011 at 2:39 pm

      The subtle rebellion present in this song is masked by the cheerleading beat and the seemingly innocuous focus of its words [at first]. As the song proceeds the innuendo multiplies. Is this new in secular music? Of course not. Growing up in the late sixties and early seventies, the times produced individuals and groups that were openly celebrating the prevalent drug culture. Janis Joplin, Jimmie Hendrix, Deep Purple, Uriah Heap to name a few sang of drug use. Jefferson Airplane’s, “White Rabbit,” clearly is about the use of LSD. I attended a concert on July 4, 1976 at Tampa Stadium. The groups that played during the concert wer “Loggins and Messina,” “The Eagles”, “Fleetwood Mac.” The song, Rhianna, speaks about a whitch. The Katy Perry song, in my opinion, is equally as dangerous as the message of the groups during the height of the drug culture. The available christian music certainly is the only aterternative.

      Reply

      • Posted by Ben Purvis on September 19, 2011 at 4:50 pm

        Mike,

        Your response reminds me of a discussion I had with a fellow of a fundamental church in town on this very issue. His stance was that Christians should only listen to gospel music, and condemned contemporary Christianity as little more than a “devil’s scheme”. His idea was that since the contemporary Christian music sounded exactly like the “satanic” kind only with changed lyrics, that Christians would be led astray by this. While I grossly disagree with his statement I think it should be properly pointed out that both lyrics and the music can have a spiritual connection and that people should be aware of this.

      • Posted by Richard Beatty on September 20, 2011 at 9:33 pm

        All media, i.e. books, movies, music, television, etc… contain within them a philosophical worldview of some sort. Our job as believers in Christ is to filter those philosophical worldviews through the Christian worldview lens contained in God’s Word. Sometimes the secular worldviews in these media formats are obvious, sometimes interesting, that is, novel, and other times outright dangerous. We as ministers need to equip our people with the necessary biblical tools in order to see through the often superficial storyline and into the deeper message hidden between the lines. They then need to measure those messages with the ultimate rule which is of course the Bible. We as ministers also need to be aware of what is current in pop culture so that we can biblically address those coming into our church with questions. Nothing kills one’s ethos with a lost or spiritually immature person more than when one seemingly appears out of touch with current pop culture events. As any attorney worth his pay knows, one needs to know the other side’s argument (worldview) better than they do in order to more effectively argue one’s own case. Doing this is much like Paul’s tactic in Acts 17:22-33.

  6. Posted by lvillestudents on September 18, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    What is really scary is the fact that parents do not have any concern over their children listening to such garbage. I even had a parent come to me a few months back and say, I just want to share a praise with you. I said, “ok.” She began to share with me this: “I think we should thank God that Lady GaGa has given so much money to help hunger in the world.” I nodded my head as she was sharing her story and then said, “God can use bad people to do good things in the world.” She didn’t understand my sarcasm and truth at the same time. That is what we are up against as leaders. We try to lead a generation towards the cross while their parents are still figuring out their own God-view of everything else…

    Reply

    • Posted by Ben Purvis on September 19, 2011 at 6:49 pm

      Charity is not synonymous with ministry. I’ve encountered similar stories as well.

      Reply

    • Posted by Richard Beatty on September 20, 2011 at 9:57 pm

      It sounds as though the parent you speak of needs to be better equipped in understanding various worldviews and how they do or do not align with the Christian worldview. Syncretism of various worldviews and Christianity has always been an issue throughout the centuries. It is amazing how people can be so blind to this problem and is one of the reasons why there are so many shallow believers. I do not intend for all of this to sound condescending in any way. However, we all have a lot of work to do helping people think critically and clearly regarding the Christian faith and worldview.

      Reply

    • Posted by Jerry Lee Kelly on September 24, 2011 at 2:37 am

      I agree. It is so sad that we have engrafted the ways of the world into our Christian mindset to the point that we have trouble recongnizing the sin. We need to be very careful about what we listen to….and if at all possible, control what our kids hear too. It is a difficult task, especially when in this culture we turn our kids over to a government facility to teach them. Our kids only repeat what they hear and are taught. When will we wake up?

      Reply

  7. Posted by ernie bonnoitt on September 20, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    Katy Perry is such a said story. after i read this post I did a little internet research and apparently this Girl was a christian artist named Katy Hudson. I work in college ministry at LSU so I hear our student listen to her all the time and have really disliked her music. Now after reading her story I can’t help feeling sad for her. Her history shows that her dad was a pastor of a charismatic church that was very controlling. She said they didn’t own a devil vacuum because it had the word devil in it. I think a lesson to take from this is we cannot legislate morality by control.
    I totally agree that music shapes young minds into believe something about life that isn’t true. However I also think that her song is more reflective of culture than her projecting what she wants culture to be. It is called pop music for a reason… what i mean by that is pop music is now a money machine. So her label probable gives her that song to sing because they know people will like it and she sings it. If our culture didn’t want to hear stuff like that they wouldn’t create it. It is a lie that the life style she is sing about leads to a good time. In fact I don’t believe that type of life style exist outside a lot of pain and regret.

    Reply

    • “However I also think that her song is more reflective of culture than her projecting what she wants culture to be.”
      I think you are exactly right. It’s not like Katy Perry is the evil that we need to deal with. She is a product of sinful culture. She needs redemption as much as the youth we are trying to turn away from her music.

      Reply

  8. Posted by Mike Cobb on September 22, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Ben,
    Thank you so much for the sincere insight regarding the contemporary christian music. I had never thought of how the beat of a particular song could be detrimental to those listening. That the music itself could be a source of difficulty is a completely new concept to me. Obviously, I am not a musician, nor aspire to be. Again, thank you for your reply.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Christopher Fuselier on September 22, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    I totally agree that every generation has had it’s songs that identify that era. It’s so true how we must be very careful whenever it comes to not just the words, but also the music. This is something that we must consider as we worship the Lord in a corporate setting.

    Reply

  10. After reading the post I went to youtube to and watched the video. It’s not any better than the song. Between this song which is an anthem to drunkenness, sexual immorality, etc. and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” which seems to be an anthem to every sexual perversion and gender issue under the sun, it really shows where our culture is. Today’s students are bombarded with immorality from every angle. I suppose it has been that way for quite awhile now. It is sad to see someone like Katy Perry who at least at one point professed to know Christ, and who has been given a world of talent, use that talent to glorify sin.

    Reply

  11. This song is a thoughtless, silly, coming-of-age song that does represent certain trends that have been present in our country for four or five decades. When Christians make a huge deal about songs like this one, we come across in a very negative light. I am not saying that we should acquiesce to the popular trends of culture when they promote messages against our message. I am saying that the path to winning the hearts of the youth of our country is not through pointing out how harmful their most popular music is. Instead of making a big deal out of a song like this, I ignore it and know that it will pass and fade away. I do not agree with its message, but if I preach against it to teenagers, I misrepresent the biblical Gospel to them. The truth of the Gospel is so much bigger than a morality that limits teens from having fun. But, open hostility towards Katy Perry in a setting where I am representing the Christian faith to teens will send the message that Christianity is mostly about repressing the impulses of the young. Instead, I will ignore the song, proclaim the surpassing value of knowing Christ and being found in Him, and will elevate the truth that I believe. Hopefully, the pop culture will eventually have to acquiesce to a prevailing Christian culture that sees our teenagers rejecting this kind of music without having to be told by adults to reject it.

    Reply

    • I’m not sure it is as straight forward as you say it is. I would not let my children listen to this sort of music and “hope” that what i teach then about the gospel would convince them that it was wrong any more than i would let my two year old down a few pills from the medicine cabinet and hoped she learned her lesson. Now, i will agree with your sentiment that Christianity does not need to be primarily seen as a condeming voice looking down on culture. Me, as a pastor taking a stand against Katy Perry is a different thing from me explaining to my own children or the youth in my church how her message and the one we teach are not compatible. It would be like Paul preaching on Mars Hill the greatness of God and leaving off that part about how their idols where wrong. I don’t think he was misled to apply the gospel to culture. If we do not, we are not being faithful to our witness in the culture.

      Reply

  12. Ok. So i have heard of Katy Perry, but had not heard any of her music. So, i went to youtube and took a quick crash course in Perry’s sex-based music. Dang! I’m not even sure where to begin. I guess i’m really not that surprised that content like this is popular, but i was taken aback by the straightforwardness of it. But i guess that is what your post is really about. This is what “normal” teenagers are listening to. They don’t have to go far. This just shows us the nature of the battle. If we don’t pour into the hearts and minds of our teens, we will lose them.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: