‘Christian’ Music

The other day, I noticed the day-workers dancing back in the dishwashing room.  It’s not an unusual sight in the dining room, it happens about once every other minute.  Our boss, Roses, found some small speakers, so they plug up their MP3 phones and play everything from contemporary worship to christian rap, tribal West African to African worship.  When I entered the dishroom, some of them were dancing traditional African dances while others had their eyes closed, faces and hands lifted up.  All of them were either singing or praying in some fashion to the beat of traditional drums and voices. 

Later that day, I asked one of them where the music came from.  Where the beats originated from.  I was surprised to hear him tell me that the tune was a traditional, tribal song used frequently in Voodoo ceremonies in the area. 

Part of me was horrified.  Another part of me realizes that this is how our hymns started. 

Here in Togo, one of the major religions is Voodoo, a mix between tribal witch-magic and Christianity and Islam.  Many of the ceremonies include masks that are openly sold in the markets, though the vendors will tell you that they aren’t used (found this out through one of the other day-workers), and blood sacrifices, both human and animal. 

When people hear this tune, this worship music set to a Voodoo rhythm, they don’t hear the Christian lyrics, they hear the association with ‘blood-magic,’ wild dance ceremonies, sacrifices and curses.  It’s the darkness behind the music that people hear, and that makes me very uncomfortable. 

Even the day-workers still dance to this music, the traditional dances that are associated with the tribal religions and faith.  You see it in the celebrations in and around the ship.  You see it in the churches and on the streets.  It surrounds this culture.  It consumes West Africa. 

Do not get me wrong, It brings joy to see the West African people praise and worship God, but how much does the light shine if it is shrouded and consumed by darkness.  Not only darkness around it, but within it too. 

I fear that Christian music that is based on the foundations of darkness is still, in essence, darkness.  Christian music should have a solid foundation, the words of salvation, the words of Christ, lyrics that are solid.  The music should be constructed out of the lyrics.  This, I believe, goes for all Christian music. 

Just some of my thoughts on Christian music.

God Bless and PEACE

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2 Comments »

  1. Jenn Said:

    I really do enjoy reading your blog, and I believe that experience you are currently living through is quite wonderful. It probably is an enjoyable learning experience, one that I only wish to be a part of.
    I wish to comment on the fact that you make the Vodun Culture to be an evil religion, when in fact it is not, rather it is a celebration of life on earth, the earth itself and their ancestors. While it is vastly different from a Christian culture it still deserves to be respected because it is one of the oldest religions know to mankind.
    If you would like to read more just visit this site

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1666721

    Also don’t forget that Christianity also had its own share of animal sacrifices for our God. Also Christianity does have a dark side, Hell, so that we can understand what it is to be a better person and try to reach the light side…

    Also if you have to know, there was a time when the Catholic Church did not want its music to have lyrics because they felt that the original message was supposed to be sent through instrumental music. For more information in this I recommend looking up the Council of Trent and also the Counter Reformation. Thank you and God Bless!

    • stkerr Said:

      In my experiences with Voodoo (few that they are) I did not see anything good that came out of it. The people of West Africa respect the practice thrugh fear. When children are sold by their parents to be sacrificed by Voodoo priests, or when spirits and demons are called upon for possession, or when slaughtered animals are hung on anothers doorstep as a curse or warning, then I see the Vodun Culture to be evil. I did not see a celebration of life on earth, the earth, nor its ancestors. I saw darkness and spiritual death.

      The only respect that the West African Voodoo gets is fear from its own participants. If it seems like I do not give it respect, it’s because I don’t. It is darkness to the extreme. The practices hold power not because people believe it, but because it calls upon dark and evil powers not of this world.

      Your saying that Christianity involved animal sacrifice is wrong. The Jewish Religion, which Christianity came from, required animal sacrifice in attonement for sins. Followers of Christ have no need for sacrificing animals because the ultimate sacrifice has already been made, through Christ on the cross.

      I understand that instrumental music, for some people, brings a greater spiritual awareness due to the fact that there are no lyrics to get in the way. It wasnt only the Catholic Church that believed this, but religions all over the world. Many still practice this type of worship. I choose not to. It’s a personal choice.

      As i said before, Christian music should have is foundation in truth. The lyrics and the message should be clear and obvious (blatant is perfectly fine) before anything else. Yes, the instrumental accompaniment should be up to par, but it should not be the focus and it should not have its foundation in darkness.

      God Bless and PEACE


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