Does the music you listen to matter? The quick answer is a bold YES, Christian Mother! The music you listen to 100 percent matters. Not only does it matter, it can have a huge impact! Christian music, music that glorifies God, for a Christian mindset. This article doesn’t mean Christian Music as in the Protestant Music found on K-Love. We mean Christian Music, as in music that is intended to share thoughts that are Good, True, and Beautiful, and lead us closer to our Creator. Hymns, Songs, and Chants, all to help lead us to lives of virtue.
This post may contain affiliate links. The topics discussed are my personal opinions and I fully encourage you to do your own research and pray for clarity on the topic. This post is intended to help you foster purity and joy in your own heart and I claim no authority in my teaching, except that it is my current and sincere belief.
My Own Musical Background
I am not a musician! In school I played recorder, violin, and guitar, and that was the end of my instrumental endeavors. I throughly enjoy art and human expression and so even though I have never been musically talented, music is a huge part of my life!
In fact, music was idol like to me growing up. I didn’t think that at the time of course, but in hindsight my i-tunes library was held up way to high. Containing maybe 4,000 songs spanning a variety of genres, I delighted in them all for different reasons, for better or worse.
When I met my husband in high school, our first and deepest bond was through music. Both of us almost exclusively watched the music channels on the television. We attended more concerts and musicals together then I could count. Hours and hours of driving around town or parked at the beach with our favorite playlist of the week blasting. We laugh now but we had such a similar taste in music and for opposite reasons. To this day we will have the same favorite songs, and if you ask me why I will tell you it is the lyrics every time. His reasoning? Always the beat!
Our music choices influenced our lifestyle. What a sad thing to say, but it is true! When we think back on the different genres that we were embracing at that time, and compare the music to our actions and dress, we were transformed. The music videos we watched, and the songs we listened to, influenced how we presented ourselves. Without even realizing we gave complete strangers power over us.
Slowly, and at different times, we both ultimately realized that the music we listened to did not glorify God. I started to feel horribly awkward singing songs that I used to get lost in! Every song was impure, encouraged lust, glorified drug use, romanticized alcoholism, and even promoted self harm. Vice after vice, even the songs with the softest voices of female leads on acoustic guitars idolized brokenness.
We made no immediate changes to our listening habits. However as we grew in our faith, we slowly phased out songs that were obviously wrong. If a song openly promoted promiscuity, blasphemed, or used vulgar language we would change the song but it took some time for us to realize our whole music scene needed a change. At this time we were not traditional in our values, but attending the N/O Mass, and felt convicted to live our lives for God. Our music choices started to match that.
Christian Music Christian Mindset
Songs that were less obvious lingered, until one day I became so convicted that I deleted my entire 4,000 (ish) song music library and never looked back. I began to hate that I had these lyrics of horrible songs in my head, and that I would think of them or quote them. Album cover art, deeper meanings in songs, and the lives of the artists who wrote them, all began to matter to me. The people who wrote these songs may have had some “clean” songs, but it really was all tainted.
I can give a mainstream example of what we found to be true almost across the board. There was a popular song titled “Slide”. You might have even heard it playing in an elevator or at the local grocery store. The song is soft, and well known! Catchy and romantic in its lyrics and beat. A common song, played on the radio. It is about abortion. The lead singer declares himself that it is about a boy encouraging his girlfriend to move on with her life after she has had an abortion. Do we really believe that there are not spiritual ramifications to souls SINGING JOYFULLY a song about murdering an unborn child. Of course there are. These songs have to go.
Choosing Virtue in Music
The above mentioned song is just ONE example of millions. We have found popular bands with songs seemingly harmless about life and love, only to later find out they are actually consecrated to evil. Again, these songs will still be playing in our local grocery store.
Why would I let people who hate the Kingdom of God, even if they don’t know it, into my heart and mind? How could I give them this kind of power over me? Is this the influence I want affecting my spiritual, emotional, and maybe even physical well being?
Surely the thoughts of musical artists that I internalize through their songs would eventually affect my world view. The children’s Bible Song, “O Be Careful” tells children to be careful with what they see and hear. This is not just for children and it is the point of this post! What you hear and see is easily absorbed in, but very difficult to purge out.
Why Does Music Touch People in Such an Intimate Way?
My 3 year old has a favorite series that we watch titled The Wonderful World of Benjamin Cello. We have a limited screen time policy in our home, for many reasons. If my children are watching a show, this is the type of imagery and sound I want them to fill their minds with!
In the main characters interview with The Augustine Institute he shares some deep insights on the power of music. He states,
“Music is so important. Did you know the songs that you learn when you’re young, when you’re a child, are stored in the deepest part of your brain. And even if you forget things when you’re older and you begin to maybe have poor health, you might not even remember your name but you will still remember the songs you learned when you were young.”
This is so powerful! Certainly this makes me think twice about what music I expose my children to…and how special to know that the music I do expose them to is so meaningful. This reinforces our experience from our younger years on being careful with what we listen to and expose our own hearts too.
Music is relatable, easily memorized, and generally makes people feel good. There a huge problem lies, when people are feeling good listening to songs about things that are bad!
Cut it Out and Replace it With Something Better!
As I stated earlier, this is just my opinion. However it is good to remember that even the smallest venial sins are offensive in the sight to Our Father. This is not a judgement as The Lord knows my heart and I am certainly not without sin, and therefore not casting any stones. Yet, we are called to be perfect as Our Heavenly Father is perfect, and so we try.
If you are feeling called to ditch some vice filled music in your life and flood your mind with good things, we have found some options that we enjoy and hope they can bless your family too.
For the Children and You!
We love these songs too, but intended for a child audience:
- Cat Chat Music – Fun songs, rock sound, that teach virtue.
- Benjamin Cello – Classical music focused on the Good, True, and Beautiful
- Making Music Praying Twice – Music for Catholic kids reflecting all sounds and time periods!
- Songs for God and Country – Classic songs with a classic sound
- Rhyme Line Sing A Longs, Salvation History Through Song – Short songs for memorization
- Song School Latin – Fill their minds with Latin rhymes!
- Lingua Angelica – Beautiful Latin Prayers and Hymns
- Wee Sing Bible Songs – Popular Bible Songs for Children
Some Christian Music, Just For Fun:
Luke Spehar – Folk and rock sound, Catholic Artist. We just started listening to him, but so far so good!
Brother Isaiah – A Franciscan Friar of the Renewal who writes and plays beautiful music!
Franciscan Friars of the Renewal – The other Friar’s make music too!
Monks of Norcia – Amazing chant
Laudamus – Sing with the Sisters!
Marian Hymns – You can find different artists who sing them but this is a great start.
Audio books are another great replacement to poor music! The best replacement which I hope to do more to help me hear God? Silence!
Do you have favorite Christian Musicians that lead you closer to the fullness of the faith and help you to live in virtue? Let us know in the comments below!
Stella Maris, Ora Pro Nobis
Oh my I never knew Slide was about abortion!! I definitely grew up belting it joyfully with no idea, and I too have stripped myself of the horrible music that I used to be attached to and replaced with music that truly glorifies God! We are so similar, Jen! My girls also love Benjamin Cello and the Annie Moses Band specials on Formed are also beautiful! I also love Brother Isaiah and just discovered the Hillbilly Thomists! Catholic songs for Kids is also adorable! They sing verses to memorize. All for God’s glory!