Music is a constant in our lives, whether we ask for it or not. It is playing in every convenience store, in the background of every movie, and on many awkward elevator rides. People walk around the quad with headphones in to relax and recharge, or maybe to simply avoid the people handing out flyers. Music plays an undeniable role in our daily lives, and yet, often causes so much controversy.
People spend hours arguing over what constitutes “good” music. We are quick to condemn an entire genre in favor of another, or discuss in depth how a musician’s articulation affects the piece (i.e. Luke’s disdain for “mumble rap”). In fact, we are so split that in Merge’s congregation, Country music was both the most and least favorite genre, all around.
However, when we get past all of that, we enjoy music for the same reasons. No matter what type of melody resonates with our soul, we listen and engage with the music for a purpose. We seek to gain something from the music, whether it be peace of mind, encouragement, distraction, or expression. With this in mind, we know that music has great power, because it can influence not only our mood and emotions, but also our thoughts and opinions.
In Luke’s sermon on Wednesday, he referred to Rap and Hip Hop as musical art forms and a manner of cultural expression. This music evolved out of a need to educate the world and communicate the messages that were being ignored. For many artists, this music became a catalyst for conversati
on, a precursor to real change. And most of this change isn’t done. We aren’t done fighting for equality, we have to continue to prove to the world that all are Equally Loved.
On Thursday, Bishop Frank Beard, the Bishop of our conference of the United Methodist Church, came to us here at merge to discuss the young adult perspective on homosexuality and the church. He wants to hear us out because next year the United Methodist Church will be making a decision about whether or not to change the Book of Discipline.
How does this relate? On Wednesday, Luke charged us with the quote “If you make an observation then you have an obligation,” from MK Asante Jr. We live in a world that sees injustices daily. A world that allows 19-year olds to obtain assault weapons, discriminates against people for their race or sexuality, and has created systems were most of the money is in the hands of just a few people. A world where churches argue over human behavior. However, we also live in a world where we can make our voice heard, and can support the voices of others.
Because, sure, plenty of us think that Country music is the bane of all existence, and would rather listen to anything else, but for every group of “cool kids” who will hate on country artists, there is a fraternity that will blast their music all night long. Trust me, I know, they live behind me. Let music be one of many catalysts that create change. Take up the charge to right the wrongs you see in the world. Ask the tough questions. Open up the conversation. Use your talents to express your thoughts in a healthy way, and take in the thoughts and opinions of others, whether or not they are the same as your own. And hey, listen to something new for a change!