, Corbin, KY

January 21, 2013

Discovering the positive alternative

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — One of my most favorite hobbies is listening to music.

At home, while I’m doing housework or cleaning up, I’ve got my CD player blasting throughout all the rooms. When I’m driving in my car, I’ve got my iPhone plugged in and the volume cranked loud enough so the people I meet at red lights can sing along with me. I sometimes like to go for drives just to listen to a new song I’ve downloaded or a new CD I’ve purchased.

Growing up, some of my most favorite times were had during youth group activities at my church. And naturally, one of the studies from my youth group that stands out the most was when we talked about music.

 The focus of the discussion that day was how lyrics of secular songs can have a negative influence in your life. And this wasn’t even about songs that glorify things like drug abuse and murder. That’s a discussion for another day.

The song that the youth pastor played as an example was “When I Come Around” by Green Day, which was pretty popular in the mid-1990s.

I’ll admit, that song is not as obscene as something you would hear from a Marilyn Manson type or any number of rap artists. But it is still not a song you would hear being sung by a choir Sunday morning.

But for the most part, it was a song pretty much viewed as a harmless, secular rock song by a very well-known rock band.

You won’t find any talk of killing or committing any type of crime in that song’s lyrics, but what you will find are lyrics that talk about being a loser.

The second chorus says, “I heard it all before so don’t knock down my door. I’m a loser and a user so I don’t need no accuser to try and flag me down because I know you’re right.”

In the context of that song, the person is basically saying, “I know I am a loser. You don’t have to tell me that.”

And this song is just one example. There are countless other songs heard on secular radio that sing the praises of being a nobody or being a waste of space.

Often times we only hear about the songs which are blatantly obscene. But at least those songs come with a warning label.

“When I Come Around” can be more damaging to your spirit — it just does so in a more subtle manner. And as these songs become more and more popular — especially with our youth — this culture of being just another worthless individual grows larger and larger.

But God does not want you to ever feel that way. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created.” Because you are made in God’s image, you are a reflection of His glory and are valuable. God loves you and made you to be like Him.

So since being with my wife, Carmen, she has introduced me to more uplifting music. She has gotten me into a contemporary Christian radio station called Air 1 Radio. They call themselves “The Positive Alternative” which is a very appropriate moniker for the music they play. Their playlist is full of contemporary Christian music mixed with the occasional secular song, but all of the songs are full of positive, uplifting lyrics.

And since listening to that station and others, I have found my own positive alternatives which are just as good in musical quality as other songs you might find on the radio but have better messages and shout the glory of our Lord.

I have really gotten into a band called Thousand Foot Krutch lately. If you like rock music, you should absolutely check them out. I also enjoy others I’ve discovered like Anberlin, Newsboys, Disciple, Skillet and Kutless.

I’ll even be attending my first contemporary Christian concert in March when Carmen and me make our way to Winter Jam in Rupp Arena. Artists like Toby Mac, Red, Newsong, Matthew West and American Idol’s Jason Castro will be some of the featured artists. And for just $10 a ticket, this is definitely a show I’m already excited about.

So the next time you meet me at a traffic light performing in my private concerts, at least you’ll know I am singing the praises of God and all his blessings — and not about being a loser.

Brad Hall is the nighttime editor for the Times-Tribune. He can be reached at