Garbage in, garbage out

Most days I am up at 5:45am and at the fitness center in the high school by 6am.  I bring with me my water and MP3 player (which is loaded with Christian praise and worship music).  I bring my music so I can listen to some awesome praise and worship music music, to help pass the time and to counter the music the high school kids turn on when they arrive.  The students start arriving around 6:15 to 6:30am and head straight to the stereo.  And it goes without saying that their music is not my music.  At least they are respectful and don’t crank the music up so loud that I can hear it through my headphones.

This morning was no different.  The kids came in and turned on their music, but I kept on doing my workout…enjoying my own little world away from them.  When I finished I went to get ready to leave.  I turned off my music and the chorus I heard on the stereo was this, “Highway to hell…”  I wanted to turn my MP3 player back on…but the lyrics were already stuck in my head.

My father-in-law is known for saying to his students “garbage in, garbage out“…referring to music.  I know there are people that would refute this claim, but I believe music has a profound impact on people.  And when I happen to hear the lyrics of some of the music out there I am very worried.  I know how Christian music makes me feel and it makes me wonder how lyrics like “Highway to hell” is affecting our youth (and there are far worse lyrics out there).  Maybe I should get to the fitness center early some morning and have my Christian music CDs playing.  I’m not sure how the kids would react but I am curious.

As a church I believe we need to expose our kids to music that have positive lyrics (specifically…Christian music).  Have Christian music playing as they arrive to confirmation or Bible study.  Talk about music with them.  Examine lyrics and have a discussion about them (sometimes they don’t even consciously know what they are hearing).  One thing I do is bring kids to Christian music festivals.  And that has been a hit.

What goes in has an impact on what comes out.

After hearing those lyrics in the fitness center this morning I turned on my car radio (obviously to the Christian music station) and the first lyrics I heard were “I give glory to your name…”  Ah…that was more like it.  Now…those “other” lyrics from this morning are a distant memory.

In Christ alone I will glory…

…from on my computer right now…you just can’t go wrong with that.

Praise be God!


16 thoughts on “Garbage in, garbage out

  1. As a (amateur) musician, I have to agree with you — music can have a profound impact on our thoughts. “Highway to Hell” at the very least does not honor God and praises a mindset of living for ourselves (and I grew up listening to AC/DC). Unfortunately, that song is far from the worst that’s out there. As a teen, I didn’t pay much attention to lyrics, and I didn’t care very much about whether or not the music I listened to honored God. Now, as an adult, I am much more careful about what I listen to because I want to follow Philipians 4:8 — “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

    As an interesting side-note, however…several years ago, a friend of mine told me how the song “Highway to Hell” actually led a friend of his to salvation. He was driving down the highway with that song playing on the radio when suddenly it hit him. He actually was on the highway to Hell. He immediately stopped the car, pulled off on the side of the road and gave his heart to Jesus. Even though the song itself is not of God, God was still able to take something that was essentially a celebration of sin and use it for good, which I find simply amazing.

    • Thank you for sharing Phil. 4:8…that is a excellent example of how to live a life pleasing to God.

      Also…thank you sharing that story about your friend. I was reminded of when Joseph’s brothers approached Joseph in Genesis 50; fearful that he would take revenge on them. Joseph ends up telling them that what they intended for evil God intended for good. The story about your friend is a great example of God being able to work in any situation for His purposes

  2. Music always affects me emotionally, so I agree with your comments. Yet, sometimes we need to have a less than flowery emotions, so there is music for that as well. Jazz makes me feel jittery, so I usually stay away from it, although I know it is highly regarded in some circles. My kids, when teens, used to put some music stations on the TV. The singers seemed to be “dissing” the listeners/viewers, with their words, gestures, facial expressions. I couldn’t understand the appeal of that. Who wants to be put down? I didn’t allow it if I was there, but, of course, I wasn’t always there. I also couldn’t control what went into their heads through head phones. But if I heard disturbing music, I said it wasn’t allowed in my airspace.

    • Christian music usually does affect me in the way of “flowery emotions”, but I agree there is music that can do that.

      The only kind of music that my wife and I listen is Christian music (as I mentioned before) and 80’s music. I know some of that music can be ify but the joy of the 80s is those lyrics weren’t quite that bad yet.

      • Hey Eric,
        Long time no talk. I hope that God is moving in Jackson and that things are going well! A comment in regards to the listening of music. When a person compares 80’s music to the music today, it makes the 80’s music not seem so bad. However, if one looks at the course of music throughout history, you will find that there is always music at the time that is extremely controversial. If you were to ask the parents of the 80’s I think that you would find they have the same sentiment that is held against the music today. The changing factor may be that we are trying to compare against God’s standards. But, if there is a song from the 80’s that is considered today to be not so bad, but made parents feel dishonored by their youth back in the 80’s, I would have to question its moral content in relation to the time that it was released and the context that it was released.

        If there is a song that speaks of justice and speaking out against the oppressed, I think that the song exemplifies attributes of Jesus. Whether or not the song is labeled Christian or not is not necessarily the defining aspect. I know of artists such as Sufjan Stevens who does not consider himself a Christian artist, but write music that is incredible and the lyrics are wholesome and have depth to them. I would challenge people to find wholesome music that others can relate to, and not to fight the usic battle, but to attempt to find a commonality with them.
        But that’s just my opinion!! 🙂
        God’s Peace,
        Dave Peet

        • You make a great point, David. Times, indeed, have changed. What wasn’t acceptable then is completely acceptable now.

          It’s good to hear from you too. I hope all is going well.

          Take care and God bless.

  3. I am not a big fan of SOME of the praise music out there (but there’s some I REALLY like), but generally I agree with you. I like some kinds of jazz, not others. I love classical and old standards, and some of the classic rock. I love a group called Wailin’ Jennys, too.

    I worry as well about some of the music young people listen to. I also worry about some of the video games, and some of the hateful talk radio (both conservative and liberal, by the way) PEOPLE listen to. There was one guy of my ilk on talk radio I listened to, but when I heard the whole station, I was just so turned off by the hate. And the same when I caught wind of what I heard on the stations of the other ilk. As you say, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Goes for so many things. Not that disagreeing with one another is bad.

    • Good point…thanks for mentioning video games and other media outlets. Next to music I am especially worried about video games. Yesterday we brought some middle schoolers to Fairmont to go bowling. It was a great time by all. On the way out of the bowling alley I saw a video game by the door that was titled “The House of Death III” (apparently it is popular enough to make three of these). And the games get worse. When I was a teenager “violent” video games consisted of Pac Man and Space Invaders.

  4. Garbage in Garbage out – Yes, event the tech geeks have the term GIGO (Garbage in Garbage out).

    Great song from Tal and Acacia ( garbage in, garbage out – (

    Like-wise creed’s song “What If” – Cause what consumes your thoughts controls your life – (
    Youtube video –

    Live long and prosper in the next life

  5. Hi- I need the name of the Christian group that sings the song “Garbage in, Garbage out”
    My daughter has taken an interest in Christian music groups recently and I want to get the CD.
    L Corey

  6. I know this is a late submission to your thread, but as a computer instructor and homeschool mom I cannot agree more about GIGO in life. We really enjoy Christian music and turn it up loud. However, with so many age groups in my home, I can’t be closed-minded. We crank ALOT of Toby Mac, Cutless, Stellar Kart, etc. Hit the Christian music store. Our Family Christian used to have an ‘If you like….’ section. If you like AC/DC, you might like DC Talk and so on. Put that music on your iPod, plug it into the HS gym stereo and jam LOUD. They may just listen for 5 minutes before they turn it off. They may not even realize they’re listening to Christian music for awhile. There is more than one way to lead a kid to Christ. Meanwhile, enjoy the workouts.

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