The last week has seen a progressively deepening crisis in Hollywood on both sides of the Atlantic. Celebrities, stars and Oscar Nominations Committees have disowned Harvey Weinstein with an air of disbelief and disgust. Prosecutions may follow for this most successful producer.
Now, today, on the BBC’s ‘Victoria Derbyshire’ program, new allegations, concerning the UK music industry have emerged. Sarah Bowden, a music manager, has spoken about a scale of endemic sexual harassment, abuse and rape which is “as bad if not worse” as anything Hollywood has to offer.
Perhaps, we might wonder, if guilty complicity of promotion-seeking stars, has led to a backlash – those who are ashamed are now seeking their revenge [though not in the case of Sarah Bowden, who repelled all approaches to her cost]. That still does not excuse the advances of these males. All godly, right-thinking, Christians, if not entirely surprised, should nevertheless be sickened by these criminal events.
These revelation, of course, may only be the first – we may well be about to witness the lifting the lid on a proverbial ‘can of worms!’ Can we really have expected anything else from the industry that was born and lauded by Al Freed and Ian Dury under the rubric of ‘Sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll’? The best we can say is that we all have been naive.
Perhaps what is more shocking is that the professing Christian church has let the cacophony and din of rock gain a foothold in the Church. Christian Unions in UK universities, now reverberate with sound, have spotlights on the stage, while audiences sit in the dark – forgive me for thinking that this more resembles a Stones or Springsteen concert than the ‘House of Prayer for all Nations.’
Equally alarming is the way the disciples of Jesus, in a large part, have become stupefied by rock. Many today are wedded to their headphones, and are generally undiscriminating, as regards the kind and content of music they listen to – not to mention monetary support for the raunchy videos, gyrations, fashions and lyrics that accompany them.
Respecting entertainment few garments are still unsoiled. Few hearts or thoughts today have been preserved without a stain. Billions have been spent by believers in pursuit of this fashionable pleasure as they dance to the drumbeat of world, the flesh and the Devil.
The last thing I want to do is let ‘the devil have all the good music!’ I certainly have no wish ‘to throw the baby out with the bathwater’! Nor do I desire to parade these comments in Pharisaic self-righteousness. Yet if, at last, the lid comes off the rock music industry, maybe it will shock us and rebuke us, into being a little more discerning and ever-increasingly disgusted.
Yes, I do recognize, that the greatest problem with the world, is that the world remains in us, and that external prohibitions are not a lasting cure for internal problems of the affections of the heart. The key remedy we need is the Gospel and its powerful ‘expulsive affection.’ Yet part of the cure is to hear that warning word in 1 John 2.15:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
It is hard to imagine an industry (for the largest part) which savors more of the world and is lust first unbridled, and then paraded in your face. Minds of Christian youth seem to be being progressively drugged and numbed to its deleterious and damaging spiritual effects. Concentration powers on the banks of the church have been eroded by this amazon river of ever-flowing entertainment. There is a growing impatience with the Gospel Word of Life and the need to be crucified to the world.