When I left my former ministry, one of the gracious gifts from those folks was a 30 GB iPod. It's black, engraved with an inscription commemorating the occasion, and highly cool. Now those of you who know me well know that I am not the "tech savvy" person in our house. If it's electronic, it's highly likely that I do not know how it works, but my wife does. (Incidentally, the same principle applies with sports). At any rate, over the past week or so we have been moving our mountain of CDs over to our iPods (Yes, we have two now. Karen wanted a stereo cabinet to hide the stereo and all the CDs in and another iPod with a docking stereo was cheaper, so there you go).
In the process of that occurring, I have been teaching through 1 Peter, which has quite a bit to say about personal holiness. One of the things I made a point of this week (accurate to the text, I believe) is that achieving holiness requires vigilance about what we put into our minds. Which leads me back to my iPod. I have some CDs which don't exactly uphold the finest aspects of a Christian worldview, but which nevertheless contain music that I enjoy. So I am in a quadary right now.
I am not under the Law, and grace allows me the freedom to listen to whatever I wish. But what if The Police or Alan Jackson are leading me further away from, rather than closer to, walking with God? And how do I know which is occurring? And to what degree is it important to maintain some familiarity with the wider culture? And if it is important to be culturally aware (even to the point of knowing pagan poetry well enough to quote it, as Paul did and I can), then how can one maintain cultural awareness without internalizing the culture's values?