When you think of Metallica what do you think of? Do you think of some heavy metal concert you went to with some of your friends or do you think of “the band that is going to hell”? Have you ever heard of the houseplant song? It is an old favorite of mine, written by the christian band Audio Adrenaline which I have been fortunate enough to see a few times. The song they wrote goes a little like this:
Once I read a book
And this is what it said
If your music has a beat
Then you’re gonna wind up dead
It doesn’t really matter if it’s Christian or not
If it’s syncopated rhythm then your soul is gonna rot
And this book was called “Ha! Your Gonna Burn”
And in the second chapter I went on to learn
Take two houseplants
And put them to the test
Set them both in front of speakers
And let the music do the rest
The first one you play Mozart
Or something lovely like that
The second one you play that Petra Or that MegaDeth.
Doesn’t really matter what kind of rock it is.
So I took my two houseplants
And I put them to the test
Set them both in front of speakers
To let the music do the rest
I powered up my Pioneers
To let the music roar
But twenty minutes later
Someone’s knocking at my door
I opened up my door
And there my neighbor stood
He said, “Man I’d like to get some sleep
If you think I could”
I said, “Man, can’t you see here
I’ve got this moral dilemma that I got to get clear.”
He said, ” What kind of moral dilemma
Could you have at this time of night
That could make me so angry
That I just want to fight!?”
So I pointed to the page in that open book
That had a picture of a potted plant
And I said, “Go have a look.”
And he read
First of all he said,
“That’s Wagner that you’re playing
I’ve never heard of Petra
And isn’t MegaDeth all dead.”
And secondly, emphatically, He asked me,
“What’s the sense of hanging out with houseplants
I live right across the fence.”
And I thought to myself
You know, that’s a good point
So I took my two houseplants, and
I put them both back outside
And me and my neighbor
Well, we went out for a drive
We talked about all the things
That really matter most
Like life and love and happiness
And then the Holy Ghost
And now my two houseplants
They sit out in the sun
As for me and my neighbor
Well our friendship has become
A meaningful relationship
That’s headed straight to heaven
But as for now
We like to sit around and listen to Audio Adrenaline
Cranked to eleven!
As amusing as this song is there are many people that believe that if you listen to Metallica or other similar bands “Ha! Your Gonna Burn” and they think that this kind of music is evil, but we must think, what is more important? Is sitting around the house with your houseplants and your grudges about certain music beneficial? Shouldn’t we be more concerned with the spiritual status of our friends around us? Now I have to agree to one point that there is a lot of music out there that has a really bad message and has been a factor for creating gangs and causing crime around the world, but I think there is more to the music than that.
The Day Metallica Came to Church starts off with a very interesting scenario. The Pastor and author of this book, John Van Sloten had decided to preach on the music of the band Metallica. John went to the local newspaper with the story and then the paper soon made its way under the nose of one Lars Ulrich. Lars was very interested in why a pastor would be preaching on their music and so he sent a camera crew to the church as they were away on tour. So, technically they never stepped foot inside John Van Sloten’s church but they did hear what he had to say about their music.
John had decided to preach on Metallica after a teenage boy in his church asked if he would. You see John had preached on several musicians in the past and the boy thought that his music was as important as the rest of it. At first John turned him down but after much prodding by the Spirit, John sat down to write his sermon. He speaks on these subjects because he believes that God, being all powerful, can speak through all things. It is only by seeing these songs, books, movies and even the world around us through a different light that we can be mutually illuminated by the words of God though the bible and through his physical creation.
John includes our own creations in this group as God has created us to also create and explore. Though the words of God may be muted in many situations, even through the bad things we do God speaks to us. Through the bad songs and the Horror movies and the raunchy stories that some people tell, there is always some form of light. God created us in his image and so though our creation we place a little bit of that image within it. It enables God to speak through both the natural world and the world that we humans have built up, if only by the grace of God.
As you read on through the book you are shown many ways to see God in everything, and shown how to discern with wisdom what is from God and what is not. I believe that God does speak through everything, and even if you don’t believe the same that is perfectly OK, but I would advise you not to go sit with your houseplants. You must instead get out and take the world by storm. Though first I would advise you to take a second look at the world around you and consider reading this great book.
When you speak to a man that listens to heavy metal you must understand where he is coming from and not be ignorant of his surroundings but rather you can use the very music he listens to as a tool to speak to him. I believe that God is already using us as we write music or movies or games or whatever to illuminate certain truths about himself to those that may otherwise never have any exposure to the words and the truths of our wonderful God and Creator! Do not underestimate the power of God and say that he cannot speak through Mettallica.
I would like to leave you with one more song:
Curse the day I was born!
The day my mother bore me – a curse on it I say!
And curse the man who delivered the news to my father:
“You’ve got a new baby – a boy baby!”
(How happy it made him.)
Let that birth notice be blacked out,
deleted from the records,
And the man who brought it haunted to his death
with the bad news he brought.
He should have killed me before I was born,
with that womb as my tomb,
My mother pregnant for the rest of her life
with a baby dead in her womb
Why, oh why, did I ever leave that womb?
Life’s been nothing but trouble and tears,
and what’s coming is more of the same.
Heavy metal headbanger: Jeremiah the Prophet
(Jer. 20:14-18, The Message, 600 BC)