The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
1 John 5:16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death. (NIV)
I love this video. Not for the content or the–in my humble opinion–highly suspect allegations. (The horned goat ring is a little disturbing, but the pentagram assertions are a hoot, as is the dress-straps on one of Beyonce’s dancers that for an unfortunate micro-second maybe just, might kinda, sort of form a pentagram—if she bends her arm just right and holds her neck just so . . .)
Nothing about the overt sexuality, the scantily clad women or erotic dance moves: No, no, those are fine.
But those subliminal pentagrams? THAT’S offensive!
No, I love it simply because it took me all the way back to my
daze days in junior high and high school. I was just developing my own interests and opinions of music and, of course, my music of choice was what those good ol’ hellfire and brimstone preachers would call, “that satanic rocky-rolly garbage!!”
Inevitably, soon after I formed an interest in a particular band, accusations would follow:
The Eagles and “Hotel California”: alleged to be about someone who falls into the occult or satanistic worship. Not only that, but on the inside fold-out album cover, in the shadowy upper corner of the photo, there appears an evil looking figure with arms outstretched in an ominous welcome. (Rumored to be satanic cult leader Anton Lavey. In actuality an actress hired specifically for the shoot).
Supertramp (??!!) and their astounding (and lifted with surgical precision) lyric in “Goodbye Stranger” of “The devil is my savior”. Cue stunned *gasp*!! Never mind the full lyric actually reads:
You can laugh at my behavior
That’ll never bother me
Say the devil is my savior
But I don’t pay no heed
And then, of course, the grandfathers of occult and mysticism, Led Zeppelin and the ominous backmasking of the lyric in Stairway To Heaven that, when played backwards, supposedly revealed, “”Oh here’s to my sweet Satan. The one whose little path would make me sad, whose power is Satan. He’ll give you give you 666” and so on.
I appreciate Robert Plant, the lyricist in question, and his apt response in an interview with Musician magazine:
“‘Stairway To Heaven” was written with every best intention, and as far as reversing tapes and putting messages on the end, that’s not my idea of making music. It’s really sad . . . I couldn’t take people seriously who could come up with sketches like that. There are a lot of people who are making money there, and if that’s the way they need to do it, then do it without my lyrics. I cherish them far too much.”
And don’t think that Christian musicians are exempt from the pointy finger of poisoned persecution. Type into any Google search musicians such as Michael W. Smith, Third Day or Toby Mac with the word “Satanic” and watch the fun unfurl! Lyrics, symbolism, even the way they pose for photos falls under the vengeful eye and hyper-scrutiny of the religiosity.
1 John 5: 19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. (NIV)
Could these rumors of Beyonce and Jay-Z be true? Well, absolutely. But more likely it’s simply two lost, desperately egotistical people craving fanatical attention. As an added bonus, they get to boost their CD sales by sending the easily gullible public—wide-eyed youth and wild-eyed conservatives—on a wild goose chase to hunt down all the hidden (most likely due to its non-existence) symbolism within their packaging.
It’s just too bad that vinyl, with its easy-to-play-backwards simplicity, still doesn’t hold the mass appeal it did in its heyday. Who knows what secret messaging would be revealed!
After all, nothing drives sales like a good controversy. Still . . . .
1 John 5: 18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. (NIV)
1 Corinthians 1: 23 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. (NLT)
It’s often a tough combination; that we get caught up in our zeal to espouse our beliefs, yet our message gets bogged down with the weight of judgmental critique: of “right” and “wrong”, of “good” and “evil”.
Instead of pointing out the faults and missteps in someone else’s story, what if we simply tell our story? or better yet, tell God’s story through our own lives?
Instead of pointing out all those things that offend you, why not point to the One who saved you? Or, at least, why not point to yourself and espouse simply what Christ has done for you, instead of what all this B.S. (befuddled symbology) has done to you?
But . . .
It’s just a suggestion . . .
No need to get offended.