Music to My Ears
By Simeon Young Sr.
The ancient Latin proverb, “There’s no disputing about taste” brooks no argument. A more common version somewhat softens the impact of the proverb: “There’s no accounting for taste.” (The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. 2002). Another applicable proverb says, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Often, when I see some styles (the style may involve a car, clothing, interior decoration, etc.) that I do not like, I am apt to say with a dismissive and derisive tone, “There’s just no accounting for taste.” Of course, I understand that my own personal tastes are subject to the same judgmental scrutiny of others.
Who would not agree that this world would be a dull and monotonous place if everybody liked the same things? As civilized people, most of us make generous allowances for differences in tastes across a broad spectrum of styles. And especially as Christians, we are called upon to be magnanimous with those whose tastes in the mundane differ from oars.
Except for music styles. When it comes to music, it is my way or the highway. When I hear a style of music that I do not enjoy, I sanctimoniously intone, “That just proves that there’s no accounting for taste.” On the other hand, what is music to my ears may be noise to someone else.
‘There’s no accounting for taste.”
I hear some music in church nowadays that sounds strange, even discordant, to my ears. I confess that I have never enjoyed, understood, or believed some of the songs that we sing in our churches. When it comes to believing some of our songs, A.W. Tozer is often quoted as saying, “Christians don’t tell lies, they just sing them in their songs.”
If it is doctrinally correct, I am willing to endure music that I do not enjoy if the younger generation can use it to offer authentic worship to our holy God. I could not sing a few of the new choruses unassisted if my life depended on I – I struggle to get all the words in. I carefully watch the lip movements of the lead singer on the platform and try to keep up. While I struggle through this awkward process, I notice the younger members of the audience sailing through the lyrics appearing to be spiritually enraptured by God’s presence. What is confusing noise to my ears is an authentic worship experience for them. “There’s no accounting for taste.”
Recently I spoke with a man on the phone who called to tell me about his distaste for the the music in Pentecost. He has been running from it for a few years now Unfortunately, he no sooner lands in a new church than it capitulates to the new worship choruses. He has been to four or five churches so far trying to outrun the new music. He is locked into a musical time warp,
“There’s no accounting for taste.”
I am not running from the songs that I cannot sing and do not understand, but there are limits to my generous spirit. The Latin proverb, “There’s no disputing about taste” is patently wrong. I do dispute some musical tastes, and I do so with zeal. Some musical tastes are simply not acceptable, not just to me and my out-of-date ilk, but to God especially to God.
My personal list of unacceptable music styles is not germane to this article. Suffice it to say the suggestive body movements that accompany some “religious” music that have no place in the house of God. How could a Spirit-filled believer not reject it regardless of the lyrics? Lest someone object that my objection amounts to a straw-man argument, consider the fact this sacrilege is being perpetrated upon and promoted in many Charismatic and “Pentecostal” churches.
Apart from that opinionated, judgmental, legalistic, pharisaical position on music, I am rather open-minded about the music in our churches.
During this awkward musical transition, why not include a balanced blend of music styles that provides everyone the opportunity to be part of authentic worship of our God who seeks true worship from true worshipers?
Article “Music to My Ears, excerpted from “Forward Magazine”. Article written by Simeon Young Sr.