Pastor's Corner: Remaining pure from pop music

First Baptist Church, Moreland
Last weekend I attended Winter Jam at Philips Arena with the youth group from church.
I witnessed thousands of teenagers, incredibly loud, going crazy over their favorite singers. Nick Hall was the evangelist between sets. During one of his messages he showed video clips from Justin Bieber and One Direction – the crowd went wild – crazier than the Christian music we were there to listen to.
Labels such as rock, alternative, R&B and contemporary are now morphed into one: pop. If you have a beat and good lyrics – record labels will be interested. Something’s wrong with today’s pop music.
It’s become more sexually explicit and it’s geared toward teenagers, even children.
Every middle schooler knows Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. Music is one of the biggest impacts on teens.
The Federal Trade Commission recognized a problem with the influence of music upon young people. The FTC said the recording industry “has not visibly responded” to its calls to stop targeting violent and sexually explicit material to underage consumers. “Unfortunately, the music industry response, at least so far, has been disappointing in its failure to institute positive reforms,” claimed FTC chairman Robert Pitofsky. If 13 years ago our government recognized a problem with music’s sexual influence on young people, has it improved today?

The music industry today is huge, racking up over 4 billion in sales in the United States alone, and kids are their target audience. It’s an industry that is no longer primarily about music. It’s become another avenue for selling porn and sexualizing younger and younger children in the process.

The music industry excels at promoting across every platform available – especially video. Nearly every major pop star produces pornographic music videos and pushes them to your children through Twitter links, Facebook fan pages – new videos generate millions of hits in hours – and YouTube videos, plus MTV.

The stars often reach down into the children’s market to cultivate new fans, creating brand awareness among even the youngest children that ensure future success and million dollar revenues.

Take, for example, pop star Katy Perry.

She is wildly popular with preteens, and has long left her Christian roots behind. In her latest album, “Teenage Dream,” her nearly naked, pornographic show flashes between beach flirtations and sex in a hotel room. In an interview, she boasts about resisting record company efforts to tone down her song “Peacock,” baldly sexual in its connotation, because she spells success “s-e-x.”

The same Katy Perry has been featured on Nickelodeon’s “Kid’s Choice” music awards, guest starred on “Sesame Street” and appeared in the 2011 children’s movie, “The Smurfs.”

Every sixth grade girl seems to love her. This is an example of the kind of purposeful, deliberate, crossover marketing the music industry has perfected. Katy Perry is not a good example nor a role model for any child.

Why does this matter to Christians?

The Bible calls young people to set an example in purity (I Timothy 4:12). Pop music today is music porn. Ephesians 4:24 says when someone is saved, they put on the new self. This includes your music. It will be challenging for a preteen or teenager to follow Christ, yet listen to today’s top 40.

One solution – throw away your impure pop music and replace it with Christian music. I was saved in high school. I used to listen to Metallica. I had all their CDs – hundreds of dollars’ worth. After I met Christ, God told me to get rid of them.

I remember loading all my Metallica music into my truck, driving to a dumpster and chunking them all. I didn’t even resell them. I lost a lot of money that day – but I gained so much more. Christ has called His children to purity – and pop music is now music pornography.

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