Monday, October 04, 2010

The music kids listen to these days...and yesterdays...

As readers know, I have started teaching Gregorian Chant and Sacred Music to high schoolers. It is not without hiccups and crosses, but so far I have been enjoying it a great deal. The students are ,for the most part, a lot of fun to work with.

The other day I was giving an impromptu piano lesson to a kid and he was relating to me how much he liked "praise and worship" music. It seemed odd at first because this is a traditionalist school. I asked him how he liked the chant we did in class and at Mass and he said he loved it and was trying to get a group together at home during his praise and worship sessions to sing it.

And it was then that I realized something I pretty much already knew - that many young people are not prejudiced one way or the other. When I was thirteen or so years old I went with my Presbyterian youth-group to Creation '92 which is a big Christian rock concert in a field that lasts for several days. I remember there were Catholics there and one of the announcers said to them "we love our Catholic brothers and sisters too!" They whooped and hollered. The music that weekend was emotionally charged and blaring. All the big names of the day were there: Amy Grant, Newsboys, etc... Then they asked everyone (20,000 people) who would like to be baptized again. Those who wanted to be baptized were to go over to a pond with a ministry team. Then a few minutes later they said there were too many to baptize. So they put the flood lights on the crowd and asked those who felt moved to stand and accept Jesus into their hearts. Feeling moved by the Spirit I stood up along with another girl in the youth group (there were people standing all over the place, it was huge.) And that was my moment of giving my life to Christ.

Nowadays I would wince at their view of baptism, and perhaps I would look with suspicion on the highly emotionally charged atmosphere. But as a 13 year old that is what I needed, and God brought good out of it.

Eventually I left that kind of music behind, I matured, fell in love with classical music, and found my way into the Catholic Church (much later). But if that music brings someone closer to God in a real way, how can I flat out discourage it? Certainly it isn't for Mass - but as devotional music it could be used as long as it doesn't lead one to error.

Which is what I told my student. I warned him about the anti-Catholic overtones in some of that music which he agreed were there - and it seemed like he knew how to find them.

So the next time you hear a Catholic youth singing or talking about the latest Christian rock band, hand them a Chant CD. I bet they will love it. Young people aren't prejudiced that way.


Moonshadow said...

Young people aren't prejudiced that way.

I suppose another way to phrase it is that young people haven't yet learned to discriminate. Their tastes are still developing and are, therefore, open.

Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

Great insight! I used to love Protestant music but I would wince at the bad theology and resent that Christian bookstores wouldn't carry Catholic artists!

Moonshadow said...

How about an example of bad theology that made you wince in Protestant music. I'm curious.

I'll give you one:

I was at a Bible workshop last month, sponsored by World Reformed Fellowship, and the Gettys (Keith & Kristyn) are the PCA's hymn-writing darlings because of their relatively thoughtful lyrics.

Yet, singing the otherwise splendid "The Power of the Cross" at the workshop, I found myself falling silent over these words in the refrain - "bore the wrath." I suppose the notion of Jesus as Maker doesn't sit well either. But I can't pretend my theology's perfect.

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton