Changing the World



Songs can change the world.


Case in point: Back in the 1980’s, music critics complained that glam-rocker David Lee Roth wrote all his songs about sex, partying, and cars. Roth, enraged by these accusations because he had clearly never written any song about cars up to that point, composed “Panama” which was about a race car called the Panama Express. It’s a typical, loud, shallow, hair band song from an era I’m happy to let slip away as a long-forgotten side-note to history, but it changed the world when the CIA played it (along with other songs of the era) at insanely high volume for ten days to flush Panamanian dictator General Manuel Noriega out of hiding in the Vatican Embassy and topple his government.


While that’s an amusing example of a song being used as a military weapon to change the world, there are plenty of songs that changed the world by changing the way people look at things.


When Elvis Presley first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956, a prominent reviewer for The New York Times called his performance a “gross national disservice.” After Elvis came The Beatles in 1963 and The Rolling Stones in 1964.


And American music was changed forever.


Songs like Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, ‘We Gotta Get Outta This Place” by The Animals and hundreds of others strongly influenced public opinion about the war in Vietnam. Along with those songs were many hundreds of others that conveyed the hippie culture of the 1960’s and 70’s. Mingled among them were songs about civil rights and women’s rights.


There’s no doubt those songs changed the culture –some for the good, and some for the bad we still cope with today.


That’s why, when Allen Jones mentioned the controversy about Christian artist Lauren Daigle’s appearance on the Ellen Show on Monday, it didn’t surprise me to see Christians debating it on social media.


Basically, some Christians say Daigle was wrong to appear on a show hosted by an openly homosexual host as it seems to endorse or approve of that “lifestyle.”


In my opinion, (and I can only speak about my opinion) it’s a victory.


And I say it’s a victory in the same way it was a victory for Elvis, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show. It’s hardly debatable that the mainstream media has become decidedly anti-Jesus, but here was an immensely popular Christian artist singing openly, unabashedly, gloriously about Jesus not only rising from the grave, but continuing to save people from sin and death!


As Christians, this is the time to join Daigle in praising Jesus and witnessing to the power of the love of Jesus Christ. This is the time to express our joy that the nearly four million people who watch this show have heard the gospel beautifully and winsomely delivered. This is our chance to contact the network and ask to see and hear more artists like Daigle.


And, yes, that can indeed change the culture. Scientific studies had “discovered” that music is both a physical and emotional experience releasing oxytocin and dopamine creating powerful memories on a subconscious level. Music can also influence and aid in neuroplasticity, which can help heal the brain and rewire the way the brain works.


But, and more importantly, music influences one’s soul. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible mentions music. We are told in many, many verses to sing and make joyful music to the LORD. There’s a very good reason so much of the Bible is devoted to the Psalms with specific instructions for the instruments and the melodies used for various songs.


Make no mistake, the culture was changed away from the love of Jesus on purpose. The counter-culture of the previous era published manuals and books on how to influence culture to their way of thinking. Music was a part of that strategy. To a large degree, they have been successful, but the chink in their armor is that it is not sustainable. Eventually, sin and darkness are exposed for what they are. The darkness cannot prevail over the light of truth and love. (John 1:5)


Jesus knew that. Jesus showed us that.


The religious leaders of his day murmured among themselves about how Jesus polluted himself by eating with tax collectors and sinners, but Jesus told them the tax collectors and the prostitutes were entering the kingdom of heaven ahead of them.


True, Jesus told the woman caught in adultery (John 8:3-11) to go and sin no more, but before that He got the Pharisees to drop their stones and their murderous plans and consider which of them was without sin. In the end no one, not even Jesus, stood in condemnation of her.


And it reminds me that I cannot look like Jesus with stones clenched in my fists.


I must never forget that the real enemy is not other people. The real enemy hides in the darkness because he cannot stand to be in the presence of the Light of the World.


Today’s Praise

I thought that I was too far gone
For everything I’ve done wrong
Yeah, I’m the one who dug this grave
But You called my name
You called my name

All at once I came alive
This beating heart, these open eyes
The grave let go
The darkness should have known…
You’re still rolling stones
Lyrics from “You’re Still Rolling Stones” by Lauren Daigle
Written by Dan Jones
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