Whoa-oh oh… Listen to the Music (and Podcasts)

On a lighter note for this series on the foundations for my God Buddy concept, I continue with my love of music. Read on though to understand its importance to your GB friendship.  

First, a shout-out to the Doobie Brothers and an apology for my misuse of their lyrics throughout this post.

My Love of Music

I began to love music as a young kid. I still really like to Listen to the Music and “feel it growing, day by day” even as an adult. Music “is a way to make {me} smile” and helps most people “dance our blues away”. I just like to “listen to the music, all the time”! 

As a teenager in the 1970s, I always had the stereo playing in my bedroom or an 8-track tape going in my car. My favorite music was from the classic rock bands of the 70s and 80s like Journey, Boston, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Bruce Springsteen, and Eric Clapton.  

Blown-away Man – 1978 photograph by Steven Steigman

My high school sweetheart (who is now my wife) and I also went to many outdoor concerts when we were dating. These days, we still enjoy the outdoor festivals and concerts in the parks in our town, especially the tribute bands for the music of our era.

I admitted to occasionally switching back to my classic rock station in the car or via Pandora at home. But now, I also listen to contemporary country music from Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, although I have no real favorites. 

Sadly, I also don’t know how to read music and can’t play a musical instrument, except for the air guitar and drums on the church pew during worship. I still don’t sing very well, although my wife says I’m getting better (thanks for your grace, honey!).

Despite these handicaps, I love to listen to music while cutting the grass or for motivation when cleaning around the house.

One thing remains: music still energizes me even though I change my listening habits to fill my mind with positive thoughts. 

Let me explain.

Needing to Renew my Mind

Many years ago, an associate pastor at our church asked me to help with a jr./sr. high school youth group study about the impact of music on our minds. I don’t recall the actual curriculum but it highlighted how what we put into our mind stays around for a long time.

As part of the study, I proved that I could still sing along with the classic song, “Cocaine” by Eric Clapton. Yes, it’s more than 40 years since the album’s release but I can still recall most of the lyrics… which were probably not the best to influence a young mind! 

Here is a link to the song in case you are not familiar with it.

Discovering a New Kind of Music

Several years ago, I stumbled across a new radio station. As I wrote about my struggle with work-life balance, I needed to get my mind off work to help my sleep problems. I began some Bible study with other guys and found this new music station to fill my mind with better things to change the way I think.

K-LOVE is a nationally syndicated station that plays positive, encouraging contemporary Christian music from artists like Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns, Lauren Daigle, Matthew West and any more. (Ironically, this past year, KLOVE took over the frequency of my favorite local station of the 70s and 80s: The Loop, WLUP 97.9 FM).

I now get my day started “on a good note” with Christian music during my morning commute to work. It’s also become my station of choice 80% of the time in the car. So much so that I can even sing its jingle, “Positive, encouraging… KLOVE!” (remember my earlier comment though about poor signing ability?!)

How Music Affects your Brain

An article titled How Does Music Affect Your Brain? from Ashford University includes a great Infographic and plenty of research on the effects of music on your brain and your well-being.

Image by Gordon Johnson
from Pixabay

It states music can: 

  • Boost pro immunity antibodies
  • Stimulate endorphins like oxytocin that energize and help your mood
  • Assist in treatments of depression and Parkinson’s disease
  • Promotes overall wellness and helps stress management

Brain “guru”, Dr. Arlene R. Taylor writes in her article, the Potential Negative Impact of Music that the philosopher Plato felt the kind of music to which humans are exposed during their early years determines the balance of their souls. Taylor also quotes Aristotle who evidently agreed, saying “If one listens to the wrong kind of music he will become the wrong kind of person; but conversely, if he listens to the right kind of music he will tend to become the right kind of person.”

Of course, while there are many positive aspects of music, there are negatives as well. An article on MedicalNewsToday even states that men especially react negatively to aggressive and sad music.

The University of Chicago Professor, Allan Bloom made some interesting observations in his book, Closing of the American Mind which was based on 30 years of working with students. He says classical music is essentially harmonic, which appeals more to the mind and makes its listeners more contemplative. Conversely, he says rock music is rhythmic and appeals more to the emotions, which makes its listeners more passionate. 

Bloom concludes the effect on the brain of prolonged exposure to electrical amplification of rhythmic music (e.g. rock) is similar to the effect of drugs (hopefully, he doesn’t also mean exposure to lyrics about drugs, like Clapton’s Cocaine???!!)

So while music is not all bad, some music does have a negative impact on our minds. 

Discovering Podcasts

A few years ago, I also began to listen to podcasts, which are broadcasts and interviews after the advent of broadband Internet and portable digital audio playback devices such as the iPod.

According to Wikipedia, there are more than 115,000 English-language podcasts and there are thousands of new ones launched every day. Over 42 million Americans above the age of twelve listen to podcasts at least on a weekly basis.  

Since I’m an “information junky”, my playlist for my morning walks with our dog, Jack has several podcasts such as The Art of Manliness, Order of Man, Dad Tired, Freakonomics, The Pete The Planner Show, Wonder of Parenting, Hidden Brain, Family Life Today, and Focus on the Family.

In addition to positive music, I found good-natured podcasts also help fill my mind with positive and useful information.

The God Buddy Principle

The key to becoming a more godly man starts by filling your mind with good thoughts rather than the useless and negative tone of media that’s so prevalent today.

The apostle Paul writes about this in his letter to new Christians at the church in Rome:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” 

Romans 12:2

Much like pouring fresh, clean water into a glass of muddy water, filling your mind with positivity and heavenly thoughts will push out the dirty, negative, and ungodly thoughts.

Image Credits: YouTube.com

You may have also heard the phrase, “You can’t fly like an eagle when you run with a bunch of turkeys!”.

This means you should surround yourself with people who are positive influences. As the song by the pop-country band, Old Dominion alludes, you “don’t wanna be a one-man band, {you} don’t wanna be a rolling stone, alone”.

It’s good to work alongside your God Buddy.

So whether its verses from the Bible, positive and encouraging music, or good podcasts, godly men learn to renew their mind and help their God Buddy do the same.

How do you renew your mind? Are you helping your God Buddy do the same?

Feel free to add your comments.


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