It is not very often that the lyrics of a secular musical are repeated and dissected on a site such as this, but that is because it seems like many Christians are scared to delve into the messages of secular artists. There are multiple reasons to, at the very least, diagnose the messages in non-Christian arenas. This can allow you be aware of the crap (undesirable messages) that frequently show up in popular music, and inform your kids, siblings, friends, or acquaintances of the kinds of harmful messages they may be overlooking.
Additionally, listening to a “non-Christian” artist could allow you to occasionally find a gem or positive message from a source you may not be used to. Because though there may not be a ton of mainstream artists who profess Christ, there are still lots of talented artists with intriguing things to say.
On my mind today was the song The Believer by Common (ft. John Legend). This final track off of Common’s The Dreamer, The Believer album is a uplifting anthem about pursuing ones dreams and dealing with the pain of everyday life. The first 8 bars of the first verse go:
These are the words of a believer
Achiever, leader of the globe
Feeding souls of those in need
I bleed the blood of the struggle
Walking over troubled puddles
Hustles in my chest, no hustle no progress
Extremities of life and it’s process
Birth of a son, death of another
With love I caress both mothers
And told ‘em, who’s in control is the one that’s above us
From the jump, the focus of the message is belief and care for those in need. But also a recognition that we have all faced and learned things that we can pass on to those who are going through it now (“I bleed the blood of the struggle”).
These bars also stress that life is a rollercoaster that is filled with beautiful moments (“Birth of a son”), as well as instances of pain and anguish (“death of another”). Love is the thing that gives meaning to the triumph and helps repair the hurt (“With love I caress both mothers”). And most importantly, you need to recognize and take comfort in the fact that God is in control of every situation (“who’s in control is the one that’s above us”).
It really is an excellent song and I would urge anyone to take a listen to it (that was only 8 of 64 bars). And I also urge all of you to continually become a more informed member of different cultures and mediums. As that old Christian cliche goes, you should be in the world and not of it. That means you do have to make an attempt to be in it and understand it.