Have you ever noticed how we compartmentalize our religion into specific areas of our lives? We may go to church on Sunday but what do we watch / listen to / say during the rest of the week?
A couple of examples. While sitting at a table for donuts after Mass on Sunday I heard a mom at the next table comment that her favorite song to exercise to was Ain’t Going Down by Garth Brooks. Now, there is nothing wrong with Country music per se, but when a Catholic says that her favorite exercise song is about a couple of kids running off to have sex, there’s a problem. In our office I allow people to put CD tracks onto a juke box computer that we randomly sort and play in the back office. I set clear guidelines about what was allowed – the lyrics couldn’t be promoting things contrary to the Faith and hard rock / metal wasn’t allowed regardless of the lyrics because I didn’t want customers hearing it when they called. One of the songs that somehow got put onto the jukebox was The Joker by the Steve Miller Band. The song is an autobiography of a Don Juan who does drugs. The song, and a large selection of others, have been removed but why were they there in the first place?
Paying attention to what the message is isn’t just a Catholic problem. A local radio station promotes itself as being “family friendly”. Immediately following one station promotion mentioning this, they played All that She Wants by Ace of Base and Bette Davis Eyes back to back. They also have the song Follow Me by Uncle Kracker in the lineup. If you wonder why the playlist and the station promotions are at odds, go look up the lyrics. When I listen to the radio, I am constantly flipping stations to avoid humming along with whatever immorality is being promoted. I frequently end up listening to the local classical station because there is so little decent music on.
Any time I watch a movie or listen to music or read a book, I am constantly asking myself “What is the message?”. If the message is at odds with my Faith, I have to do some serious pondering about the value of spending my time doing what I’m doing. It seems that in a day where 90% of what passes for media is antithetical to the Faith, we need to do a better job of bringing our Faith to bear on all aspects of our lives, even when it means changing our listening / watching / reading habits.