I was raised on classical music, but I have always loved rock. My favorite bands growing up (and still) are Led Zeppelin and Queen. Another band I always loved was Black Sabbath, whose lead singer is still Ozzy Osborne. Years ago, I was having a discussion about music with a church member, and she was shocked to hear me say this, especially about Black Sabbath (I doubt she had listened to any of their music, which is often the case.) Her face got all twisted (kind of like Dana Carvey’s Church Lady character), and she literally clucked her tongue. “That’s devil music!” she exclaimed. “The name alone is bad enough, but then there’s all that noise!” I admitted that it did sound like metal being crunched at times, but I asked if she had ever listened to them or knew any of the lyrics. She had not.

I went home and got my albums, which I always loved because you could read the lyrics and sing along. I read the lyrics of “War Pigs” (1970) and “Crazy Train” (1980) to her, and she was completely nonplussed. “War Pigs” is about how God will judge politicians and generals for waging useless wars that lead to the death of millions of young people. “Crazy Train” tells us that the world has gone down a terrible road, and that isn’t too late to “learn how to love and forget how to hate.” I then compared them to the much beloved and “wholesome” Jimmy Buffett song, “Why don’t we get drunk (and screw)?” (1973) and asked which one she would let her kids listen to. She said neither, which is too bad. We make assumptions and they make an – well, you know.

It is probably my fault; I actually listen to lyrics and read articles and try to find the truth as much as is humanly possible. And I think a lot. There’s always been too much information for any one person to absorb, and it continues to grow exponentially. Still, too many people go off on clickbait story titles and lurid pictures that draw us in under false pretenses; a kind of bait and switch, if you will. The media knows how to put our knickers in a twist, and we fall for it much too often. A lot of my conservative friends, for example, have refused to watch the January 6 hearings, saying it’s a set-up. They probably don’t know that all the witnesses are Republicans who were loyal to President Trump, and they like to believe the lie being told as to why the panel is made up the way it is. They automatically assume that it is something it is not. The same can be said for Democrats who blindly support Pres. Biden, regardless of what he does. None of this helps us, and as long as we stay siloed, we will remain a broken nation. 

A little more time spent reading and listening might create a lot more understanding. It might allow us to grow beyond ourselves and give us insight into what is really going on in the world. And, of course, admitting we are wrong could also be helpful in healing our nation. Just because we disagree sometimes doesn’t mean we can’t be friends, right? Of course, it would take both of us to make that work. I’m game. You?

Prayer – God, You have given us a great capacity to understand and love, but it seems we don’t always use it. Help us to be better at that. Amen.