Christian Heavy Metal — A Woman’s Perspective!

Julia Pope Guest Writer for Rocking God's HouseIn A Defense of Christian Heavy Metal, Kevin Ott described Christian heavy metal music as “physically powerful.”  He wrote that it makes him want to be a fearless warrior for Christ, free of inhibitions, and risk his life for the sake of the Gospel.

So, do you think something this profound can affect only men?  I’m here to tell you that women are also influenced by Christian heavy metal music.

You know that Donnie & Marie ditty “I’m a little bit country [Marie]; I’m a little bit rock & roll [Donnie]”?  It just so happens to be the complete opposite in my home.  While I do like country music — my favorites Brooks & Dunn, Alabama, George Strait, and Alan Jackson — I’ve discovered I’m more partial to heavy metal (after all).  There’s just something about it that makes me want to be a light to a dark world, to stay faithful and strong and lean on my Rock in tough times, and to consider every life experience as a gift from God.

I got the heavy metal bug when I was about twelve or thirteen years old.  Jon Bon Jovi and Bret Michaels were the two of many hot glam rockers at the time.  All through high school and into college, I liked this music, and only this music.

Well, in early adulthood I mellowed out.  I replaced my Slaughter, Steelheart, and Metallica t-shirts that filled my dresser drawers to overflowing with ones that had more color to it and were not of bands.  I traded in all of my heavy metal tapes for pop, easy listening, and country.  I went to college, got saved, got my master’s degree, and got married.  My headbanger days were behind me…

But in May 2011, a long-term season of my life was about to take place.  And it can be summed up in one word:  change.  The trip odometer of my life was reset.

A few months prior to that, I had gotten laid off from a job where I had worked for two and a half years, I had run my first full marathon, and I had started writing a novel.

Shortly afterwards, I worked at a very unfulfilling full-time job that was in my field of study.  I was constantly frazzled:  I didn’t have enough time to work on my novel, which had gotten a hold of me by this time.  After three months, the job ended; what began was what I call an “involuntary sabbatical.”  (I did get another job, but it was only on an “as needed” basis.)  No matter; this was a time of self-discovery.

But before any of the changes could take effect and make this “sabbatical” worthwhile and fruitful, I had to admit something:  I loved music.  Furthermore, I had to be open to giving heavy metal music another chance, this time listening to Christian heavy metal.  Once I did, my country music-loving husband saw a side of me that he had never seen before!  And he loved it.  In fact, he can honestly say that it has made me a better wife.

My Facebook presence also took an interesting turn.  Many local Christian hard rock bands noticed me; I had a “musical attraction.”  Some of these bands were Decompressed, Eden’s Way, and Affliction Asylum.  Other people associated with them — from the spouses of these band members, to fellow fans, to roadies and crew members — were also on Facebook with me.  To have a woman talking easily about such secular bands as Steelheart and Skid Row, which I hadn’t done in quite some time, blew their minds and made it easier for them to interact with me.

Before too long, I was going out on a regular basis to support these bands.  This gave me some outlet for my extroverted, ambitious, go-getter personality in what would be a longer than expected season of underemployment.  And I found myself banging my head…for the first time in at least twenty years.  I’m now doing music reviews for many of these bands.  In so doing, I have discovered a creative voice I didn’t know I had.  Luke 19:26 (NLT) says: “…but to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given.  But from those who are unfaithful, even what little they have will be taken away.” There are certain talents that God has given me, and I should use them for His glory.  And whatever talent I don’t have, that’s okay.  I have gotten comfortable in my own skin.

I now have two blogs and am currently working on a second novel and training for my third marathon.  In addition to the easy listening, classical, and pop music that is in my and my husband’s music library, I now have a few of these bands’ CDs.  They’re great to listen to while running, writing, or cleaning the house.  I have a new song to sing, according to Psalm 40:3.

I have also been broken free of perfectionism.  It wasn’t until around this time that I read Psalm 119:96 (NLT):  “Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limit.”

Unlike the other types of Christian music, hard rock — as well as the awesome teachings I continually receive at my church — has allowed me to understand the Bible more than I ever have, especially the Old Testament, which I’m currently reading one chapter a day.  I now spend up to an hour every morning reading and meditating on the Word.  Some of these bands’ names are based on Old Testament Scripture, such as Genesis 1:26-28 for Eden’s Way, Job 10:15 for Affliction Asylum, and Isaiah 40:18 for Chaotic Resemblance.  Some of the lines to their songs have caused me to stop and think and meditate on them.  A lot of these songs and corresponding Scripture references are ones about being a stronger warrior for Christ, some of which are “Outlaws” by Disciple, “Rock Solid” by Eden’s Way, and “Draggin’ the Limp” by Affliction Asylum.  Paradoxically, heavy metal songs have made me understand Scripture better.

And I’m praying every morning, too.  Countless times, we are exhorted to pray every day.  But to actually do that is a whole other story, and it only brings more of God’s power into my life and the lives of others.  And I have more to pray about!  I’m praying for those who persecute me or might hold something against me.  I’m overcoming evil with good.  I don’t know if I have ever had an opportunity to apply Romans 12:9-21 to my life.  So, I can say that Christian heavy metal has made me a prayer warrior and it has inspired me to take a stand against persecution.

I also support some secular metal.  As can be expected, very few of these people in this circle are saved.  But this gives me a chance to be a light — according Matthew 5:13-16 — which is the verse that the band The Shine Effect of Jacksboro, Tennessee uses as their inspiration.  And for the first time in my life, I’m praying for those I know who are not saved.  Jesus sent us into the world to be light to others.  As a result, I’m highly regarded and respected in this circle of people, and I am able to apply such verses as Isaiah 60:1-5 and 1 Corinthians 9:19-23.

After a three-year season of less-than-fulfilling employment, I now have a job that has a flexible schedule so that I can make the time to write and support Christian bands.  It’s the job that marks the end of one chapter of my life and the beginning of a better and more exciting one.  Many other changes have manifested themselves in my life, and more are to come. I know if I hadn’t discovered and supported Christian hard rock music and had it as a significant part of my “soundtrack,” I wouldn’t have gotten through this long-term season of change.  In so doing, I’m now a bolder, stronger, more courageous and faithful Christian woman.