9:00 a.m. Family-Friendly Service + 10:00 a.m. Service




As my beloved wife Anna will tell you, I go through musical ‘phases.’ I listen to a lot, like a lot a lot, of a particular sub-genre, or a particular band, until I get bored with it, and then I move on to the next thing. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly some long-running common themes too though. I heard Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Guerilla Radio’ for the first time thanks to the release of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 in 2000. And I’ve been blasting RATM ever since. On the other hand, a few years back I got really into old-timey bluegrass gospel music. That, however, did not have the same kind of staying power. Interestingly enough, those both have a lot to do with how I understand my faith.

The bluegrass gospel connection is rather obvious. And I’m definitely on board with the whole loving God thing. Unfortunately, the finer points of much of the theology expressed in those songs is not my cup of tea. Perhaps one day I’ll find the time to rewrite some of the lyrics to those songs so they actually reflect what I believe. And then we can do them in worship! Although…we’d have to find a banjo player…and I’m not sure how Stephen would feel about the whole ‘Deliverance’ vibe it sometimes gives off.

On the other hand, perhaps unexpectedly, the ‘theology’ behind Rage’s music is often very much in line with how I conceive of what God wants for our world. Now, just like I don’t disagree with everything that bluegrass gospel has to say about the world, I also certainly don’t agree with everything that Rage says about the world either.

What am I listening to right now, you ask? (Or, I’m assuming you asked, if you’re still reading this post.)

Well, for starters I have ADHD, so listening to music with words while trying to work is a bit of a nonstarter for me. Hearing the lyrics throws me totally out of my thought pattern. So for background music while working, I generally listen to channel 53 on SiriusXM – “Chill.” “Chill plays downtempo electronic and deep house. Music that takes you away to a relaxing poolside or chic hotel. Hear downtempo rhythms and melodic deep house beats…” I guess I like the thought of working on my laptop by a relaxing poolside or in the lobby of a chic hotel…? Doesn’t sound too bad.

And speaking of neurodiversity, as far as music with lyrics goes, I’ve been listening to a lot of NF recently. NF is a hip-hop artist, strongly influenced by and with a similar sound to Eminem. However, a major difference between Em and NF’s music is that NF doesn’t curse. However, don’t mistake this ‘clean’ language hip hop as ‘light’ or even really appropriate for younger audiences. He struggles with multiple mental health conditions, and much of the content of his songs reflects that struggle. As someone who also lives with anxiety and depression, I believe his music speaks directly to those of us who fight similar battles. In ‘The Search,’ his brutal honesty shines through:

Last year I had a breakdown

Thoughts tellin’ me I’m lost gettin’ too loud

Had to see a therapist, then I found out

Somethin’ funny’s goin’ on up in my house

He might be the only rapper that’s experienced success on the Christian hip-hop charts and the secular hip-hop charts. Ironically, when asked if he considered himself a ‘Christian rapper’ he responded: “Not at all. I mean, I’m a Christian, but I’m just an artist. I’m a musician. You know what I mean? To me, it’s like if you’re a Christian and you’re a plumber, are you a Christian plumber? That’s the easiest way for me to explain it. I just make music.” Music that slaps. If you haven’t, you should check it out.