It all started with this song, by Concrete Blonde

I told the priest
Don't count on any second coming
God got his ass kicked
The first time he came down here slumming
He had the will to live
The gall to die
And then forgive us
No, I don't wonder why
I wonder what he thought it would get us
from Tomorrow, Wendy

I was 15, in my room listening to music, as I normally was. I had gotten saved less than two years before, becoming a Christian unbeknownst to my Catholic parents. I was just getting into Christian music, which was still in the stages of paddling out in comparison to its secular counterparts. When you start something new that severely alters your life, you tend to go at it hard core at first and then eventually level out.

Upon hearing the above lyrics on a CD that I owned, I became filled with anger. How could this woman say such blasphemous things about my God, about Jesus? I pulled the CD out with a defiant jerk and, with all the other secular CD's I had amassed at that point, threw them all out in the dumpster outside our apartment complex, along with a Red Hot Chili Peppers T-shirt and a Sinead O'Connor poster.

Two years later, I went to college, where I met another Christian girl who I lived with as a roommate. She had never done what I had done and had never seen the need to. She had Christian music too, some of the same albums I did, but she also had secular music, lots of it. I realized that I had made a hasty decision and slowly began rebuilding the collection I had discarded, most of it anyway. Even now, I couldn't tell you how many albums I never bought again out of forgetfulness, how much music was forever lost in that one act.

Severe as it was, and redundant as it appears to me now, that one act was significant enough to me at the time that I do not regret what I did. I did what most people do at that age, I took a premature stand on my beliefs and followed through with action to signify the moment. The Christian music in my collection now is sparse at best, but it's still there, as is my faith, kind of stuck in between other facets of my life that, though seeming to be unaffected, indeed are affected by my beliefs.

Then, like now, I tend to do things as a symbol of going from one stage of my life to another, though seldom with the voracity and intensity as I did when I was younger. Like shaving my head, as I did a few weeks ago. Or getting a tattoo, something I plan to do in the near future. They are all doors that open to a new scene in the ongoing play of my life, and they're all significant.

Phases and stages all have their residue as well. I gave the second copy of my Concrete Blonde CD to a friend of mine on permanent loan, never expecting to get it back. I still can't listen to that song because I can't listen to a song I can't sing along to, that I can't fully enjoy. I would never tell anyone else they couldn't or shouldn't listen to it; that's their right, and I would never deny them that. It's just a song I've chosen to not play. My reasons are clear enough.

I only wish more Christians would learn that as the severity with which they project their beliefs into the world will not always have the highest return, that while we all start out holier than thou or idealistic, we should never let that remain if it divides us from our fellow man. That is not, I believe, what God would have us do, with music or anything else that unites humanity.

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