Jesus Christ and the Headbanger: Understanding A Heavy Metal Christian Worship


Written by: Dane Train
Published: 07.07.2009


A friend once told me that when you are a Christian and a fan of Heavy Metal music you live in two worlds and both despise you. While that statement is not entirely accurate there is a great deal of truth to it. Ever since the birth of Heavy Metal music in the mid 1960's the Christian Church by in large has been opposed to the music and culture which in turn only helped to fuel anti-Christian mentality throughout the scene. The relationship between Metal and Christianity seems to be on a constant downward spiral.

As a lifelong Heavy Metal enthusiast (known as a Metalhead) and a follower of Jesus Christ I felt very upset with the way Christians have reacted to Metal. For too long I would hear pastors and missionaries talk about all the work they were doing around the world in the name of Christ, which is definitely a great thing, but not once did I ever hear someone in church say anything about ministering to the guy in the Iron Maiden shirt down the street. Here is a culture that is almost entirely comprised of social outcasts and broken people and lay emphasis upon that notion and Christians were ignoring them. What was worst than just ignoring the problems faced was the way Christians treated the Metalheads with protests, album burnings and even banning bands from playing in certain cities (or even nations!) all the time preaching a message of "love and peace."

It was exactly those sorts of folks that Jesus got pissed off at. The self righteous, religious and egocentric folks that we have today are really no different than those who executed Jesus 2,000 years ago. I can totally sympathies with my non-Christian brethren in the Metal scene; televangelists, street preachers and the ilk drive me mad!

On another note, as a Christian I became very disillusioned with worship. Tradition hymns were not moving my spirit and contemporary praise music turned me off. I honestly felt like there was something wrong with me when I would see others around me in a worshipful mood and I felt nothing. Then one night when I was at a Metal concert I had a huge spiritual awakening which showed me that just as some people can worship with choirs and organs I could praise God with distorted guitars, thundering drums and powerhouse vocals. If I felt connected to God this way surely others out there could too.

So I did something about it: I started a new ministry.

The Flame Within is a Christian ministry designed with the purpose of providing an alternative way of worshiping God: with Metal! For those who do not enjoy typical worship music and realize that there are other sources for praising God, The Flame Within feature Christian Metal bands that have a positive message that can be applied to the Christian walk. Services also feature inspiring and thoughtful sermons and discussions as well as prayer and counseling.
Some of you may have questions. Questions like: WHAT? Why would you do something this, frankly, weird?
Let me start by telling you why we are not here. We are not here because we feel sorry for you. We are not here to look down on people and say things like: "Those poor Metalheads, I bet if we talk to them real nice, they'll straighten right up and become good little clones."

We are not here because we think you are an under-marketed-to demographic that has been neglected and who needs to hear our advertisement for our new product: Christianity, NOW WITH METAL!
We are here because at different points in our lives and for different reasons this culture has influenced who we are and how we think, and informed our Christian faith. Let me give you an example.

People in the Metal culture have a real advantage in confronting the Christian message. I believe most people in the Metal culture are here because we live in a terribly shallow, silly, weak willed culture and Metal says there is something terribly, terribly, wrong with this culture. Metal people understand that the world is not a warm fuzzy happy place full of sweetness and light where we can hold hands and sing 'kum by ya' and…you get the idea.

People in the Metal scene know there is something deeply wrong with the world. And Metal often expresses our outrage. Instead of pretending everything is OK or anesthetizing ourselves with consumerism, self pity, or poison, Metalheads tend to confront things head on. This is unbelievably important because it is the hardest part of the Christian message for most people to grasp and Metalheads understand it from the get-go. Metalheads know something is really, really wrong.

The thing that is wrong with the world is called sin.

I'd bet most of you have been in a church or somewhere and had someone tell you about Jesus sometime or other. For most people in American churches the story went like this: There is this magic hippie in the sky and if you have a really good nervous breakdown at the front of the church you'll be saved (but we don't have time to explain what that means) then you can join the youth group and something about some great new friends and a t-shirt…..sound familiar? I was afraid of that.

It turns out the Metalheads were right. The world is broken. We know this because our Master told us. Christians have a technical term for this broken-ness. It's called original sin: the tendency in the human heart towards evil. It is this we need to be saved from, this is the cycle we break by confronting our own nature. Facing it and walking through it and away from it. Christians look at the horror, pain and suffering of this world and our own part in it and our own desire for it and say: "No."

The real message of Christ is not the moral teachings, which are beautiful, or the miracles which show his ability to care for people. The REAL story is that they killed Him stone dead and He walked out of the grave. The ancient creed says "He descended into Hell." Then He walked out the other side. This is why we call Him Lord. Look up the word: A Lord is someone you owe allegiance to because of his power. His power is such that we call Him Lord, God of God, Light of Light, and true God of true God. It is by believing in this resurrection and in its power that we become saved from the death and decay He conquered.

I've gotta tell you: I hate those silly self righteous alter calls you see in most churches. I don't care how much sweating and cryin' you do tonight. I care very much that you understand we are here because the person and the power of a man who was God has fundamentally altered who and what we are. It turned our heads around so much there is nothing we can do but tell people about it. So I'm not going to do one of those alter call deals. I'm just gong to ask you: Have you had enough? Are you tired? Are you ready to find in Christ the only antidote to the truly awesome disaster that is this life?

The horror of this world has no power over Him. It has no power over His people. A lot of Christians try to make the case that when you accept Christ you have this fun, happy, exciting and carefree life with no worries, kind of like the end of the Wizard of OZ. Jesus never said those things. He promised that our lives would be transformed, that we would not be creatures of this earth anymore. The evil of this world has no authority over us anymore. We are still here, but we are not afraid. We are not afraid.

Blessings,

Pastor D. Train



 


Guest article disclaimer:
This is a guest article, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 46   Visited by: 337 users
15.08.2010 - 05:52
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
This was a truly enlightining post. Keep it real dude, and good for you for doing something instead of just talking about it. I really respect that
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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15.08.2010 - 17:24
Zombie
Thrash'tillDeath
I seriously doubt that all of the "troubles and crap in the world today" is because of the "original sin" .. its like what scientologists believe, that all of the fear and negative emotions today re actually confused spirits that dwelled in the bodies of the first humans.

so, sorry .. original sin has nothing to do with today's world ... are you trying to convince me that coz eve took a bite of an apple that we're ALL going to burn in hell coz of that ? ... do you know what hell is ? .. no really. have you ever been burnt by fire even a little bit.. do you know how goddamn painful this is? .. now imagine HELL .. do you believe this 'good' god would fry your ass like BBQ just coz your great grandma took a bite of an apple ? .. no way in hell dude !! .. if that is the case.. then this god more sadistic than Marquis De Sade himself ... (which, contradicts the popular belief that god is good and merciful and he loves all his children) .. so, somethign simply isn't true here.. either the original sin thing is a hoax.. or .. it is true but then god isn't that 'good and awesome' as we think. you can't mix both.. a 'good' god doesnt burn his children coz of their parents sin !
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None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free
Johann Wolfgang van Goethe 1749-1832
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15.08.2010 - 20:23
Dane Train
Beers & Kilts
Written by Zombie on 15.08.2010 at 17:24

I seriously doubt that all of the "troubles and crap in the world today" is because of the "original sin" .. its like what scientologists believe, that all of the fear and negative emotions today re actually confused spirits that dwelled in the bodies of the first humans.

so, sorry .. original sin has nothing to do with today's world ... are you trying to convince me that coz eve took a bite of an apple that we're ALL going to burn in hell coz of that ? ... do you know what hell is ? .. no really. have you ever been burnt by fire even a little bit.. do you know how goddamn painful this is? .. now imagine HELL .. do you believe this 'good' god would fry your ass like BBQ just coz your great grandma took a bite of an apple ? .. no way in hell dude !! .. if that is the case.. then this god more sadistic than Marquis De Sade himself ... (which, contradicts the popular belief that god is good and merciful and he loves all his children) .. so, somethign simply isn't true here.. either the original sin thing is a hoax.. or .. it is true but then god isn't that 'good and awesome' as we think. you can't mix both.. a 'good' god doesnt burn his children coz of their parents sin !



After reading your post, it is rather clear that you lack a full understanding of both the doctrine of Original Sin and the concept of Hell. But in all honesty, that is not what this article is even about, so in the future, please make posts that are relevant to the article.
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(space for rent)
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12.10.2010 - 23:50
!!!nini!!!
Thats so true about christians.
they say dont judge but its ok when a pastor does it.
my parent tell me all the time that just being ignorant and dont care about jesus but its completley false.i had the same problem you did with praising to slow music. i think wat ur doing in ur ministry is veruy impowering and diffferent.
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20.04.2011 - 17:10
Milena
Learning To "X"
Good article, it gave me a lot to think about you pointed out one of my fave things about metal-we don't say the world is all right and that you have to live in your microscopic world with your tiny office job and clone wife and kids. No, you have to think about the past-the glorius and yet so bloody, you have to think of the future-even in form of fantasy, you have to think of all evil and good inside you and how you connect with other people. Folks who don't do that get the rest of us in trouble.
I haven't found a religion yet. The problem with Christianity is that it feels just as real to me as the, let's say, stories about pagan gods or any other religious sources-they're just STORIES. There's a large part of the Bible that just doesn't sit with me. However, you've pointed out that every one of us has to accept the real life, that you don't have to be afraid, that there is a power and a unity around us that we must build our lives upon. Except you call it Jesus, and I don't really have a name for it
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"There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors."
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02.08.2011 - 19:06
Mindheist
No Longer Human
First, I'd like to apologize for not commenting on this riveting and very interesting article before. Had I known it was on, I wouldn't have missed the chance to take my hat off for you for having enough courage up to deal with such sensitive and thought-provoking matter. So I thank you for that .


Now let's begin. As I was saying, I find it quite absorbing but I partially disagree on some of the ideas you've pointed out and the approach that you adopted to write it. I'll explain: First, there's no shadow of doubt that Christianity and metal have locked horns more than once - Actually and to be more specific, the radicals from both sides, who think they own both have (I agree with you on this point) - Nonethless, I, in my humble opinion, think that you should have talked, not only about Christianity but also about the other Abrahamic religions too and possibly as well as East Asian and Indian religions (which means not just the monotheistic faiths), because some of them - as opposed to Christianity whose extremist followers were content to only burn metal shirts with satanic or preaching unorthodox logos - have not only banned metal but music as a whole, with no arguments or recognizable sources whatsoever to support their obviously outrageous way of thinking.


I'll give you an example, I am Muslim and if you read the holy Qur'an from cover to cover you won't find any verse (aya) that forbids or even condemn the act of listening to music and yet there are some extremists who think, with baseless arguments, that we're not allowed to. My point is, there's nothing wrong with neither religions nor metal, they can get along really well, it's just that we have to put an end to this by not even considering what those extremists have to say, unless they have something worth our time. And usually, those who are propagating this hatred, fear and confusion into societies aren't religious at all, they just want to get their way with it by making people believe that the religion in question is lacking tolerance and everything.

Bottom line is, there's nothing wrong with religions, there's nothing wrong with those who happen to be satanists or atheists either, all we have to do is to use our brains instead of doltishly swallowing what the media propel, and understand that we're all the same and everybody is entitled to their own opinions and more importantly, that nobody and i mean nobody owns a thing, and by that I mean, that nobody can speak in the name of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism...And also that we should definitely not hate some religion or some ideology just because some of its so-called followers happen to be narrow-minded. Learn its history first , not from questionable sources or by making an instant "googling" and reading the first article that comes first, but by visiting the territories of that culture, embracing its lifestyle and then forge your own opinion.

If we do all that, i can promise you, we'll see priests, imams and rabbanim wearing Gorgoroth, Darkthrone and Shining shirts and dancing with satan while giving him the finger .

I hope I was clear enough with this and also one more time: Nice article Dane, it was a real pleasure reading it .
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04.08.2011 - 03:35
CrucifiX
Heavy Metal is a very misunderstood genre and underestimate cult, for me religion is something personal I don't mix between music and religion though I really appreciate the matters of life and politics metal music discusses, also religion :-) as Iron Maiden's song says "for the greater good of god" ;-)
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Crucifix
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04.08.2011 - 17:09
ErnilEnNaur
Account deleted
The pope told me that metal makes one violent and vengeful.


We'll see about that
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04.08.2011 - 17:10
Yavanna
Written by Guest on 04.08.2011 at 17:09

The pope told me that metal makes one violent and vengeful.


We'll see about that.:gunner:


Yes, we'll see that when I get in Vaticano
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Carry me to the shoreline
Bury me in the sand
Walk me across the water
And maybe you'll understand
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04.08.2011 - 17:12
ErnilEnNaur
Account deleted
Written by Yavanna on 04.08.2011 at 17:10

Written by Guest on 04.08.2011 at 17:09

The pope told me that metal makes one violent and vengeful.


We'll see about that.:gunner:


Yes, we'll see that when I get in Vaticano


More like Vati-gone-o
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11.08.2011 - 00:44
Milena
Learning To "X"
Written by Yavanna on 04.08.2011 at 17:10

Written by Guest on 04.08.2011 at 17:09

The pope told me that metal makes one violent and vengeful.


We'll see about that.:gunner:


Yes, we'll see that when I get in Vaticano

My best friend got into Vatican in a Number of the Beast shirt on a school trip, we were laughing so hard
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"There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors."
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12.08.2011 - 17:28
Shadrahk
...At first I thought this was gonna be some bash on Jesus Metal. But luckily it wasn't.
Anyway, I liked this article. Even though the alter calls aren't all fake.
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Guys, don't be racist. Racism is a crime. And crime is for niggers.
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21.04.2012 - 19:29
bloodface
Written by Derwood on 11.07.2009 at 07:40

It just amazes me how most people think of folk like Pat Robertson and not Mother Theresa.

I don't understand how that can amaze you. The christian right (pat robertson being a major figurehead) controls the direction of america's republican party with their misrepresentation/misuse of religion. ask john mccain.....once he accepted the nomination his choices were guided by them, which made him uncomfortable and lose his identity/individuality. i would vote for the side you probably lean towards in a heartbeat, but never will as long as that influence is their......and sadly that influence has had a more visible and longer sustained impact on americans than mother teresa's.

on a local/state level i vote for the right since they have less of a chance to kill darker skinned people with funny names from funny named places based on their corporate religious interpretation of a bible passage.

great piece.....i wish i had read it earlier. it is a damn shame that the rebellion, individuality and strength of the story of jesus is overshadowed almost completely by the sheepish reserved mentality of the various controlling sects of organized chistianity.

again....thanks for the thought provoking piece.
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19.05.2012 - 23:02
Oaken
Hipster
Written by Mindheist on 02.08.2011 at 19:06

the holy Qur'an from cover to cover you won't find any verse (aya) that forbids or even condemn the act of listening to music and yet there are some extremists who think, with baseless arguments, that we're not allowed to.

Those extremists are really stupid, because there's a lot of fine and clean art in music, especially classical music. Moreover, and honestly, music never fails in diverting my attention from things that are considered to be sinful.
Music purifies the soul.
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In that case, man is only air as well.
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30.03.2013 - 03:51
JÄY
Metal slave
I am also a Christian and love metal....this was a great read!
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07.03.2017 - 18:48
KSEfan939
Agreed Jay.
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