How listening to Christian radio could be hurting you spiritually.

I’m a parent of a two year old, so I reserve the right to change my tune on this fact in the coming years, but it bothers me when Christian radio calls itself “safe for the whole family,” because though it may be easier, I don’t think it’s any more safe to listen to Christian radio.

Derek Webb recently said in an interview (to paraphrase) that any time you hear the word “Christian” applied to anything other than a human being, it is nothing more than a marketing term.  Christian books, Christian music, Christian T-shirts, and Christian clubs are all misusing the word “Christian.”  What drives “Christian” marketing is the same thing that drives other marketing.  Dollars.

Webb went on in that same interview to highlight that fact by saying that on the “Christian” radio station, there are entire sections of the Bible that he would not be allowed to read on air.  Don’t believe him?  Check out Ezekiel 16:15-17, or the sweet little tale in Genesis 19:4-8.  The advertisers would have the head of anyone who read such terrible things on the air.  Why?  Because they aren’t “safe for the whole family.”  Nothing like a little gang-rape to spur some after-dinner discussion with your 10-year-old.

We do our kids a disservice when we gloss over the wickedness in the world, and especially the wickedness in our own heart.  And while I’m not mad at Christian radio stations for giving us a place where we won’t have to listen to a running stream of F-bombs, there’s an aspect to Christian radio that could actually be LESS safe for my kids: it promotes a subtle form of works-righteousness. Also, instead of actually having to parent, and shepherd our child’s heart, we are given the option of just ignoring that there are terrible things out there that are hard to explain.

Terrible stories of God-dishonoring things going on in the world provide excellent teaching moments about the terrible God-dishonoring stuff that goes on in my heart (and in my child’s heart).  And if I don’t see any God-dishonoring things in my heart, then I am afforded a chance to repent of my self-glorifying religious arrogance, and thinking I don’t need Jesus.  Instead of giving me a mirror to see my own sin (the way “secular” radio does), Christian broadcasting would have me believe that I am not so bad.  After all, I’m being a good parent by listening to radio that is “safe.”

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t watch what goes in the ears and eyes of our children.  But we most certainly should not assume that because a product was marketed with the word “Christian” in front of it that we are safe to turn off our discernment.

What do you think? Comment below.

6 Replies to “How listening to Christian radio could be hurting you spiritually.”

  1. This is not really what you are addressing in your post…but…I have found two particular shows on Moody radio very helpful. Midday Connection, geared mainly toward women, and Chris Fabry Live, an afternoon talk show. They are very open and honest about the Christian life, and come to think of it, some of the topics are not particularly appropriate for children to listen to.
    Each parent does have to choose what’s right for their family. There are definitely some songs you don’t want your 5-year-old singing at the top of his lungs in the middle of Walmart. 🙂

    1. My parents listened to a lot of John Denver when I was a kid.

      My dad loves to tell the story of me at some young age ( 5 or 6 or something) singing this at the top of my lungs in K-Mart (from John Denver’s Christmas album):

      “Please daddy, don’t get drunk this Christmas // I don’t want to see my momma cry…”

      Good times. Good times.

  2. Agree with all of your points. On the money. Not to mention that most “Christian” labeled music is much like other mainstream music. Overproduced and generally uncreative. The lryics often dumb down our relationship with Christ and never hit to the real issues that people are dealing with.

    1. Thanks so much Zach. I really appreciate Wally being an honest voice in Christian radio. You’ve got a new follower in me. I specifically like the distinction he makes between “family friendly” and “Christian.” And that he makes a point that both are needed.

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