Some Music is Torture

A coalition of musicians including Pearl Jam and R. E. M. backed a formal demand yesterday to be told if their songs had been used to torture detainees in Guantánamo Bay and Iraq. There have been many allegations by former prisoners that they were blasted with excruciatingly loud music for months on end — a tactic that is banned under the UN Convention Against Torture but not yet from the US Army Field Manual. (London Times Online)

I am not advocating torture (see, I’m not such a bad Christian) but I have to admit that it is pretty funny that one of the songs they allegedly used was a Barney the Purple Dinosaur song.

“I Love, you love me, we’re a great big family…”

Aghhhhhhhh! Stop. I’ll talk!

If I were ever captured a  more effective way to get me to break would be to cue up a couple of TV preachers on a continuous loop. I wouldn’t last a day. It brought to mind an article I wrote earlier about earworms. An earworm is a term for a portion of a song that becomes “stuck” in your head and you cannot get it out of your mind. Soon you are literally out of your mind. A survey of several hundred students came up with a list of the most insidious earworms.

Chili’s “Baby Back Ribs” jingle (“I want my baby back, baby back, baby back…”)

Who Let the Dogs Out (“Who let the dogs out…woof, woof, woof, woof…Who let the dogs out…woof, woof, woof, woof…”)

Kit-Kat candy-bar jingle (“Gimme a Break, Gimme a Break …”)

The Lion Sleeps Tonight (“We-de-de-de, de-de-de-de-de de, we-um-um-a-way – drum fill – We-de-de-de, de-de-de-de-de de, we-um-um-a-way…A wimoweh, a-wimoweh a-wimoweh, a wimoweh”) Note: That also makes your spell checker go crazy.

“It’s a Small World After All” (“It’s a small world after all…it’s a small world after all…it’s a small, small world…”)

From the Disney earworm file I would add the Pirates of the Caribbean (“Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me…”)

I have to confess to an occasional really bad Christian moment. I have been known to quietly hum The Chicken Dance (na-na-na-na-na-na-na) in a crowded office space and then listen for the earworm to take root. Someone will start humming the song and catch themselves and begin agitated grumbling.

I know. I am a sinner. But it is pretty funny to watch.

There are lots of other songs that you absolutely hate to hear because you know the “earworm” will bury deep in your brain for the rest of the day. But musical earworms are generally annoying and not really dangerous. There are other earworms that damage our relationships and even our walk with Jesus. These are the portions of our life history that get stuck in our heads. You know what I mean. Those old lyrics get played and the spiritual battle earworm takes hold.

“You will never change.”

“Why even try? You will just fail again.”

“You are not enough.”

“You are faking and everyone knows.”

“Everyone is doing fine except you.”

“You are not smart enough…pretty enough…tough enough…whatever enough”

“God is tired of your failures and He is tired of you.”

Satan is even meaner than me humming the Chicken Dance. He will plant those damaging earworms in your heart and mind. And if we don’t have a defense plan they will rob us of our peace, joy and relationships. I will defer again to my friends at TrueFaced. Their book and principles have helped me to recognize and repel Satan’s earworms. When I hear those old tapes start playing I simply think or say out loud this simple statement of fact.

“That is not who I am anymore.”

Because of Christ I am a new person. I have been changed. And my mission is to allow God to love me and mature me into what is already true about me. I am a saint who sometimes sins, not a sinner trying to become a saint. So when the earworms of deceit and destruction start in your mind you can shut them down by simply stating the truth.

That is not who I am anymore.

Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. (I Corinthians 5, NLT)

By the way…it is okay to let that passage get stuck in your head. In fact, I recommend it. And finally let me leave you with this…

Na na na na na na na na na na na na,
Na na na na na na na na na na na na,
Na na na na na na na na na na na na
Bom, bom, bom, bom…