In the May 15, 2013 post entitled, Jesus and Syncretism (part 1), I discussed Jesus Christ, Christianity and paganism and why we should not judge other Christian churches as being “pagan” because of so-called syncretism used by early church evangelists.
What I want to discuss with you in this post is why and how I use syncretism with music in this website’s Ambassador Highway blog.
As I previously posted, syncretism, as defined by Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, is “the combination of different forms of belief or practice and the fusion of two or more original inflectional forms.” The syncretism I use in this blog website are actually, more or less, parodies, plain and simple.
Why do I do this? I mean, why do I mix music – a lot of it secular, pop music – with Christian views and values? I do it for two reasons. Number one, I like doing it. It is fun. For as long as I can remember, there have been several secular songs that came across to me as religious sounding when I first heard them.
The second reason for doing this is because I believe the early Christian missionaries also used the music of the local peoples they were evangelizing which helped the church grow. St. Patrick, for example, in Ireland, may have used local Irish songs of his day changing the lyrics to direct the citizens to God and to the church. More recent examples of this can be found in the website, Apologetix, where possibly Martin Luther and John and Charles Wesley may or may not have used “pagan” bar songs changing them to religious hymns. That website, instead of calling it syncretism, calls it “parody” or “contrafactum”. For the purpose of this post I am calling it, compatible syncretism.
How have I done this? A few times already in previous musical posts (Saturdays’ Music Highway), I have selected several secular songs and suggested to the reader to, in his mind, change or tweak the lyrics of the songs in whatever way he wanted and re-direct them to God or to a Biblical concept. The results of these parodies, compatible syncretisms, were new and meaningful spiritual songs.
Beginning with this Saturday’s Music Highway post and for the next few weekend music posts, God-willing, I plan to post totally secular songs in which I will ask you, the reader, to convert to spiritual songs. I hope you will use parody or compatible syncretism by tweaking the lyrics of these non-religious songs a little and focus them to what God has in mind or to what the Bible says. The melody of each song need not be changed – only the words. There will be songs where hardly any changes will be needed. One or two songs will definitely not have to be changed at all even though they are not religious. There may be a song or two you may want to skip and not even consider. That will be fine with me. You will see what I mean.
Anyway, at this time, I want to ask you the readers of this blog, especially you who are Christians, to pray for me before and as I do this over the internet for the next few weeks. I have these four prayer requests:
1) Pray that the upcoming Music Highway posts be according to God’s will and be for His glory.
2) Pray for the musical posts to bring inspiration, not only for you believers in God, but also for those struggling to believe or have never been taught who God is and what He stands for.
3) For spiritual, personal protection. Pray that the evil spirit forces will not have their way to distract and deter what I am doing. And….
4) For physical protection. That I will not get run over by a runaway freight train or that I not get beaten up by an angry kangaroo that has escaped from a zoo.
Below are Music Highway posts I have previously posted that illustrate parody which I believe is syncretism with music.
This is basically a secular love song which I renamed, Eres Tú, God. I wanted the reader to praise God even though it is in the Spanish language.
This is a secular, love song where I used parody to show that God’s love is seen through all of His creation.
In this blog post, I actually wrote a new set of lyrics below the video pointing out that this planet Earth is really not as wonderful as it seems. There is still war, violence and hatred often showing its ugly features. But they will soon be over when Christ returns.