Petra

I’ve been very active on this blog lately. I find it hard not writing, but if I can resist the temptation I will take a few days break. The plan is to read some more as part of my book challenge. If you are curious about what that is I recommend you read the information under Book challenge in the menu.

As a young christian I listened to a lot of christian rock. To be honest some of it was. I’m not sure what to call it because when I hear groups like Mortification, Vengeance Rising and Tourniquet today, it doesn’t exactly sound very christian. What was I thinking? I guess I must have liked it well enough, but that music is just noise to me today.

But before I got into this aggressive music, which I did mostly because it gave me a chance to hang out with someone for the first time, I had a much calmer period. That was an important concideration because my mother kept asking me whether I had been with someone when I came home. She didn’t understand why I was different of course. I’d like to share a song I concidered embedding in the post I published yesterday, because I thought it had some relevance to free will, which was the topic of The law of nature.

Judas’ Kiss has a bizzare intro because it sounds almost demonic. They reversed the intro and I suspect that has to do with a debate we had in Norway too, rock is from the devil. In our case it’s an ancient argument that rock only revitalized. Many bands supposedly had hidden messages you could only understand if you played the songs backwards. When I was a teenager there was a lot of focus among christian leaders on what they saw as Lucifer snatching the youth. I think the Baptist church my parents went to during my childhood even labelled the accordion as an instrument of the devil, and of course the violin certainly had that reputation.

There is a Norwegian fairy tale or legend where a man with hooves holding the fiddle the wrong way (the fiddle’s neck against his chest) plays a tune no one has heard before. This was interpreted as being the devil,. This legend describes a wedding that supposedly took place in 1724 and the scene with the devil occured in the basement while a man went down there to get more beer. That probably explains everything, but the fiddle got a really bad reputation among good christians. I suspect this intro in Petra’s Judas’ Kiss was a comment in the debate that link music and the devil. Most versions of this song has the intro being reversed and just gibberish, but in this version they are playing it backwards, so that you get the message. Then the words are:

What are you looking for the devil for when you ought to be looking for the Lord.

I haven’t listened to christian music for a very long time. I have no idea what is popular christian music today. Maybe it isn’t popular in the mainstream anymore ? I remember an interview with Petra (probably close to 20 years ago) where they said it was getting harder to get the big gigs, and at the top of their career I think this band was among the ten most popular bands in the world based on how many concert tickets they sold combined.

What do you listen to?

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One thought on “Petra

  1. The Great Music Debate has been raging here for most of my lifetime. I recall that my husband said he was harassed over his choice of music (ie Petra) by his well-meaning pastor when he was a teenager. It prompted him to do a research paper as a matter of self-defense.

    To be completely honest, I am concerned that some of the backlash is due to stubborn generational prejudice, as there are many modern songs which have excellent, biblically sound lyrics. It could be a simple matter of being an unfamiliar form of music or it can be fear that since secular bands also use electric instruments and drums, that children will be lured away into demonic territory after being introduced to a particular style of music.

    And sadly, I wonder whether there may be just a hint of racial prejudice,involved, as well. Many of the great hymns we sing were written by individuals of white, European descent…so these older songs will reflect the culture with which we are most familiar. I have read that Martin Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” was set to a popular tavern tune of his day. But, no one seems to question whether this song is of the devil.

    Yet, African or native American tribal drumming is supposed in some circles to always be wicked, since such activities were traditionally used in pagan ceremonies.

    The question really comes down to whether music is inherently good/evil or whether God can redeem it for His own purposes.

    I view music as an amoral, yet soul-affecting gift from our Maker. It is simply a vehicle by which a message may be sent.

    Regardless of whether one appreciates the musical style, one outstanding feature of Petra’s music is that the lyrics usually relay a recognizable message of biblical truth.

    As God is the author of order and beauty, I do not appreciate chaotic, angry-sounding heavy-metal stuff, with intense guitar riffs and the vocalist screaming and bellowing like a wounded bull.
    If I cannot even understand what’s being said, I feel that the song isn’t likely meant to do anything but evoke a particular emotion. And I don’t need to feed my tendency toward anxiety and restlessness. Urban rap has never appealed to my sensibilities, either.

    But I will listen to most other forms of musical expression.
    Different songs suit different moods. And sometimes, a particular upbeat song can help get my eyes off of my own sour mood and onto God’s goodness and grace toward us. My blog currently has a small sampling of the Christian music I enjoy, under the category Musical Moments.

    Michael Card is one of my favorites, as his songs tend to be theologically solid and have a soothing effect.

    I haven’t featured him, to date, though.

    That said, I do believe that some of the popular contemporary Christian artists are anything but God-honoring. Discernment is warranted, for sure.
    If any particular song/group/style wounds your conscience, it’s best to avoid it.

    Enjoy your break from blog-land! That topic of Christians and law is a big one, and I pray you will be given insight as you consider it.

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