Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Why I still Listen to the Radio
Today I started a conversation with some friends about wishing there were more choices in "Christian Radio"
I actually like listening to Christian radio- sometimes the songs really lack a depth of theology, sometimes the little sermons lack real exegesis, a friend pointed out that they couldn't listen to the folks talk because Christianity felt watered down with their words to "encouragement" and "safe for the whole family." Her point was that we have a faith that is so much more than this.
In my conversation about this most folks suggested that I just listen to Pandora- which I usually do, but I like to still listen to radio.
I often listen to NPR - I love hearing the news of the world. I love hearing lots of different opinions about things. I love hearing Science Friday and learning about things I usually wouldn't learn about. I love listening to Diane Rehm and hearing lots of great dialogue and actual civil discourse. In Detroit I loved listening to Ed Love and especially the voice of Quinn Klinefelter! There are a good number of NPR haters out there-- but seriously- listen and you just may learn something.
I like flipping to what is now considered "Classic Rock" I think--- where they play 80's rock ballads, hair bands, etc. I love teaching my girls how to head bang like my big sister Sally taught me!
One of the things I love about listening to the radio is that I hear things that I may not hear if I'm only listening to my ipod.
When I listen to the Ipod I choose what I want to hear. I direct everything. I control everything. I pick everything.
I don't have to hear anything I don't want to hear.
I don' t have to let anything else bother me...
Even with Pandora- I've got some elusive computer program (I'm guessing?) helping me learn about something I may not already know about- making suggestions and exposing me to new music.
In so many places of our lives we become isolated. We only hang out with folks who offer the same brand of theology, politics, way of thinking that gels with what we already know and what is already comfortable.
I'm really not interested in being and knowing what I already know-- I've been there already- already know that. What's next? What more do I have to learn?
I'm not interested in staying the same. I'm not interested in status quo.
I do like to watch what I like on my DVR - I love watching what I love watching-
I don't have to watch commercials anymore.
But I got to thinking-- I don't see anything on TV that I don't already choose what I want.
Now I could choose to watch things that will break me out of my comfort zone...
But most of us DVR what we love to watch- what we already know we will like.
Most of us read the newspaper that slants the way we like.
Most of us read blogs that may already support what we think.
Its hard to purposely enter into places that are uncomfortable for us theologically, ideologically, politically.
It may feel painful, annoying, or frustrating.
But you'll learn something.
When I listen to the Christian Radio station I get ideas. I'll hear a song that lacks the depth of theology and I'll think- in a Contemporary Christian setting- we could sing this and possibly talk about what it means for us and what it may be missing. (I'm not sure how deconstructing a song may work in this setting-- perhaps if I try it I'll let you know). The song I thought about this with was Jeremy Camp's song "I'll take you Back" I really didn't like it when I heard it because I thought-- this lacks an understanding of grace- -prevenient grace- a Wesley understanding of grace. God never left-- (why we get baptized only once- God worked the first time)- God never stopped being with us, loving us, forgiving us, pouring grace and mercy upon us-- God never left. We may have left, we may have strayed--- but God never left. So God does not take us "back" really-- was my thought-- its more like we take God back. This might just be semantics to to some- but there is a lot depth behind the why and how of what we say.
When I listen to the Christian radio- I actually like to hear some of the stories. I feel like I can sift through what may seem/ feel/ a petty or cheapened understanding of faith and I can see the depth in the folks still. Hearing the stories of the "Drive Through Challenge" about paying for the person behind you - has been really sweet. And grace filled. Sometimes I'm like "Yay! These are real and loving people."
Its the pre-recorded soundbite sermons that frustrate me. But its probably good that I hear this- is this what folks take as Gospel preaching?
When I listen to the Classic Rock station- I'm reminded of songs of my childhood- I can dance silly with my girls to the awesome tunes of Journey and Heart and have so much fun! Songs that I have forgotten I remember and sometimes I hear new things.
I'm not sure what you call the new radio station these days-- do they still call it "Alternative"? But sometimes I'll hear new things that I wouldn't ordinarily be exposed to.
I know a lot of us listen to our ipods, playlists, etc. I do too. But I think in some ways- the convenience of our playlists, DVR, and self-selected news choices keep us limited, isolated, and stuck in a place of individualism of our own bubbles.
Those places we have chosen on our own are comfortable and we need them.
But every once in awhile I wonder what it may be like to purposely listen to the news of another slant, a radio station that may be a different kind of music, or radio itself, and sometimes perhaps we may even want to remember what its like to watch a commercial when you don't have to fast forward through it.