Anyone can tell you, I’m almost inept when it comes to pop-culture. I’m always behind, always amazed, and generally shocked. A year ago, however, a One Direction cd made its way in into my possession and made a home, unbeknownst to me, in my car.
When the move was made to Philly, I discovered the cd, and it has remained on my shelf collecting dust…that is, until now. I have played it numerous times since the weekend, and, yes, I’m amazed and shocked (boy bands should have died with the 90s). Now, I’m no puritan (though I have an affinity for them), and I’m certainly not a prude. Still, what I encountered on the first track of this cd was horrifying.
The chorus is, “Let’s go crazy, crazy, crazy, ’till we see the sun. I know we’ve only met, but let’s pretend it’s love. And never, never, never stop for anyone. Tonight let’s get some, and live while we’re young.” WHAT? Isn’t this band for like teeny-bopper girls? Don’t pre-teens listen to this mess? This song is explicitly about sex! It’s not even about covenantal-marriage sex (not that I would advise anyone to sing about that either). This song is an in-your-face solicitation for random hookups with an added doctrinal message that says it’s ok to pretend and fake love for the sake of sex. What truly shocked me wasn’t the newness of this message, the fact that this trash is being listened to by every girl under the age of 15, or that the first two tracks of this cd are explicitly about “getting some.” It was this: the lyrics to this song, especially the last sentence, sound eerily familiar. What does this song promote?
If you don’t have sex while you’re young, you will be missing out.
It sounds like this: “But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil,’” (Genesis 3:4-5). You see it? The serpent tells Eve that she’s missing out, that true life is to be found elsewhere than in God! God’s plans are bummers and Debby-downers. He tells her that God has intentionally withheld something from her, something good and nourishing, something life-giving that, unless she acts now, will be hidden and hoarded from her forever. He tells her that God’s plans are ridiculous, and, because the time is ripe, to go ahead and rebel. And she does. And they die. And the whole world is thrown into corruption and decay. And mankind is enslaved to sin. “Missing out” is the first breath of every sin. One Direction has echoed one of mankind’s oldest bought-into lies.
No one is calling One Direction the Antichrist, but I do have serious issues with songs that sound like Genesis 3 (and these are lyrics are being pumped into the brains of those whose brains are still forming!).
We all know what it feels like to perceive that we are missing out. It’s the experience of every one of us when we are faced with the decision to sin or to follow Christ. At the moment, the immediate sin in front of us looks more real, more satisfying, more substantial than our God. If we don’t act now, we will miss out!
There are no easy answers to calming this tension, but perhaps Jesus knows something of our plight. Once, Peter told Christ, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus responds to Peter with wonderful words: “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first,” (Mark 10:28-30).
Christ knows the tension, and He promises that what we now have given up will be gained one-hundredfold in the life to come. What was thought to have been lost will be found when we claim Him. It’s true: most of it looks like “loss” nowadays. For the Christian, most of life is difficult.
But when the Eternal Day breaks, when our eyes are filled with heavenly light, and when we are transformed into bodies whose expertise it is to glory in the Creator, I doubt that the earthly pleasures, sufferings, and sins which we chose to give up will amount to anything. They will be swallowed up in Joy Himself.
One Direction doesn’t teach us anything new. But let’s listen out. The lies of the Enemy may be old, but they are often packaged in beauty, novelty, and maybe even hidden within the lyrics of our culture’s most renowned boy bands.