Friday, March 5, 2010

Shallow Lyrics...A Sign of the Times?

This is philosophical Friday. And I admit this read may be a bit of a downer, but the subject matter makes me sad. I worry about the lack of critical thinking in our society. I worry about the selfishness and the inability to see life objectively instead of subjectively. It only breeds problems for us, and it'll only grow worse, I think. But we still have to fight it.

I visited with a friend last night, and she was telling me about a minor dilemma that she's facing. She has been looking for some good Christian music to add to her CD collection. But she can't find anything that is both musically excellent and lyrically edifying. In other words, either the music stinks, or the words don't provoke her to think, to grow, to feel encouraged, or anything else that you'd like from lyrics that are labeled as "spiritual."

It seems to me that this problem infects non-Christian music too. Lyrics are shallow. They're self-referential. Self-involved. Self-ish, to be more accurate. Even so-called spiritual music is just as self-centered as the non-spiritual stuff. Why is this?

My friend and I tossed some ideas around. Maybe Christian singers today don't have time to read their Bibles. Maybe they don't know much about what the Bible says. Maybe they don't study, or don't know how to express theological ideas. But I don't think that's it. I think young people today, whether they are practicing Christians or not, are so hung up on themselves and their personal experience of life that they have no perspective of the big picture. And how could they? We haven't taught them to see.

I've noticed this problem as I've taught freshman writing classes at community colleges on the East Coast and in Oklahoma. Students are so totally convinced that they know everything, it's hard to teach them how to write a critical analysis paper or an argument essay. They can't really understand or emphathize with those who don't see life their way. They see only their own side of things. What a dangerous way to think!

But it's what they've learned... It's not just encouraged, it's mandatory to go through life as if you are the center of your universe. But there can be only one center of the universe. Not millions. Not billions. So, billions of people can't all be the center of things. What happens when we realize this? We tell ourselves that we're the real center of the universe, and everyone else is mistaken. Unfortunately, when you think you know the right way and you think everyone else is wrong, you become a source of destruction instead of life.

I'm troubled by shallow lyrics these days, because I think they are a sign of the times. And it's not a good sign. It's a warning sign...Bridge Out Ahead. I wonder how many people will recognize the sign and stop in time. And I wonder how many people will plunge ahead and fall?

Copyright (c) 2010 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

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