The other day at an event (that was in need of some music), I turned my I-tunes playlist over to a stranger, and it made me extremely uncomfortable. I knew my phone was in good hands, but I was nervous about what this person might think if he started perusing my playlists.
Would he judge me for the Barry Manilow songs?
Would he imagine the reason I have the soundtracks for High School Musical I, II and III is that I have some sort of crazy cougar crush on Zac Efron, or would he know that my now-seventeen-year-old daughter was obsessed with those movies some years back?
Would he know that I sing along with my extensive list of tunes from Broadway shows, but only when I’m home alone?
Would he think it was inappropriate for a pastor to have The Killer’s Don’t Shoot Me Santa on my Christmas music playlist? Or for a middle-aged white woman to have so much Cardi B and Nicki Minaj up in there?
Music can be very personal, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to share such personal information with someone I had just met.
For most of us, our faith is much more personal than our playlists. The depth of our feelings about just who God is and how God works in the world can make it difficult to articulate to others why they ought to believe, too.
The old standard, “If you died today, do you know where you would go?” doesn’t cut it for me. It makes a loving, creator God sound threatening and merciless. It also suggests that our faith is all about what happens when we die and has very little to do with how we live.
I prefer the approach (let’s call him Steve) once took with my husband when inviting him to a Bible study. He talked about how studying the word of God with a group of men had made him a better husband, father and person. Steve said the Bible study had transformed his life and thought it would be meaningful to my husband as well. Steve was not worried about what people would think of his playlist.
While faith is very personal, it’s not something we should keep to ourselves. Our faith traditions and spiritual practices should help us live better lives in the here and now, in addition to giving us something to look forward to in the hereafter. And if our faith has made our lives better, shouldn’t we yearning (instead of reluctant) to share it with others?
I am a fan Barry Manilow and Bon Jovi. I know all the words to all the songs in Dear Evan Hansen and on the Eagles Greatest Hits album. Kate Campbell, Kate Nash, Kate Rusby and Katy Perry all have a place in my list and in my life. If you don’t know who some of those people are, I’d love to introduce you. Their music makes laugh, makes me cry and makes me think. When someone or something touches our lives and makes them better, we shouldn’t keep it a secret.
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