I think about how many times have you overheard conversations between Christians regarding the “secular” media? They usually don’t go well. Usually, someone is upset and frustrated about how media is destructive to our society. The word “secular” creates a perception that this popular media is somehow separate from Christian media. They are different, therefore one must be wrong, which is obviously the non-Christian one. (Please note sarcasm)
This black and white view of Christian and non-Christian media does not allow room for discussion. The discussion of whether or not we can find value in “secular” media. In my life, I have found more encouragement and inspiration in secular media. Does this make me a bad Christian? Am I going to hell because I cannot stand Christian musicians that simply say the same thing over and over? They say, “It’s okay, God will work it out” and “Just give it to God.” But what if those phrases don’t encourage me in that moment? Will Jesus frown upon me?
In my life, I have found more hope and peace in secular musicians, television shows, and movies than I ever have in their Christian counterparts. According to certain Christian media sources, this means I belong to Satan. Creationists.org tells us that “The secular media assaults Biblical truths” and that mainstream media promotes evolutionism, homosexuality, abortion, false religions, separation of Church and State, and attacks Biblical disciplines. Those are some pretty heavy accusations in my opinion.
Now, I am not saying that these kinds of secular sources do not exist. That would be ignorant. What I am arguing is that a gray area exists. I do believe that secular media can celebrate God without even realizing it. I have experienced “secular” music that has brought me to tears because of the raw emotions of passion and heartbreak.
We also tend to see people in the media talking negatively about the church. Instead of us saying that they just need Jesus, we should listen to what they say and understand how they have come to feel that way. I look at artists like Noah Gundersen and Hozier. In Noah Gundersen’s song “Jesus, Jesus,” he sings, “Jesus, Jesus, there are those that say they love you, but they have treated me so damn mean. And I know you said ‘forgive them for they know not what they do,’ but sometimes I think they do.” Likewise, Hozier’s song “Take Me to Church” cries “I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies, I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife.”
That breaks my heart.
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Both of these artists have been severely hurt by the church. And instead of Christians listening to what they are crying, they simply say they need Jesus. How on earth are we supposed to minister to these people if we shun them and say that we will not associate with them because they express their raw emotions?
Jesus did not call us to live this way. As Jesus prays for His disciples in John 17:16-18, He prays to His Father, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (NIV). We are here on this earth, and we are not to shy away from issues that are difficult. We are to build a community of believers here on earth. We cannot do that if we refuse to connect to them.
I strongly believe that God is in everything because He created everything. In Creationists.org’s article on this topic, they state “Satan owns everyone until they are spiritually reborn.” I strongly disagree. We are God’s children and He will love us no matter what we face in life. He will never stop loving us. While Satan may have a hold of some people’s lives, Satan does not own them. He does not have that power. But God does. God has the ultimate power.
And that is how I can see God’s beauty in everything and everyone. God created it, therefore it celebrates Him in some way or another. While we do face horrible corruption in this world, God is who gives us hope. But we cannot fully serve Him unless we face this world, which means we must destroy this horrible divide between secular and Christian media.
So here we go, Church. It’s time to stop living in our safe world.