View the photos full screen or see the Flickr set to get a closer look. Photos by Nick Onken
Tuning into God
When you listen to music, what do you hear that gives evidence of God’s presence?
The Apostle Paul challenged the Athenians to look around their culture and see the ways God was speaking to them. As Paul says in Acts 17:27, we can find evidence of God in our culture if we’re alert: “God did this so that people would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”

Highly sought-after record producer T-Bone Burnett, a Christian, may have said it best in the London Times. “Music does two distinct things,” he explained. “On the one hand, music can speak about the Light and its hope, or it speaks about those things that are exposed by the Light. Both are what the Gospel is all about.” Sometimes music points us to the love in Christ, and sometimes the light of God through popular music exposes us to the despair, anger, and hopelessness found in contemporary culture that needs redeeming.

One example is “All These Things That I’ve Done,” off The Killers’ debut CD “Hot Fuzz.” The Killers could certainly raise some eyebrows and cause people to wonder if anything good could come from a band of peppy glam rockers. But this song keeps with the Christian tradition of lament. Singer Brandon Flowers sounds like the psalmist as he pleads for the ability to “stand up,” “let go,” and for the “direction to perfection,” ending with a simple “help me out.” As the song reaches its end, Flowers lays down everything in this gospel service: Over and out, last call for sin/While everyone's lost, the battle is won/With all these things that I've done, all these things that I've done/If you can hold on …, hold on.

The question left to the listener is whether we can “hold on,” or are we willing to let go of our sin now that “the battle is won”? “All These Things That I’ve Done” is not unique in its ability to highlight truth. So the question remains, where is the light shining in the music you are listening to these days? Like the Apostle Paul in Acts 17, let us be a generation ready to assert that God is indeed evident in pop culture, and that “God did this so that people would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”
View the Tuning into God Slideshow

By Jeff Keuss, Associate Professor of Christian Ministry
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