Can music be sensual only if the lyrics that are sung are sensual? A video of Marilyn Monroe’s singing Happy Birthday to President John F. Kennedy conclusively answers this question and supports the validity of many of the concerns raised concerning the use of CCM in Christian ministry.
Marilyn Monroe’s Singing Happy Birthday
The introduction of the Wikipedia article on Marilyn Monroe provides the following information:
Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson; June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962) was an American actress, model, and singer, who became a major sex symbol, starring in a number of commercially successful motion pictures during the 1950s and early 1960s.[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marilyn_Monroe; accessed 5/9/13; formatting is in the original; hyperlinks have been removed]
Searching marilyn monroe happy birthday jfk on Youtube brings up several videos of her singing Happy Birthday to President John F. Kennedy. I asked a friend to record the following mp3 audio excerpt from one of those videos: Marilyn Monroe Singing Happy Birthday to JFK.
To assess properly whether her singing was sensual or not, be sure to listen to the full audio recording (1 minute) carefully. (Watching the video before listening to the audio will detract from the value of this audio).
Music Can Be Sensual without Having Sensual Lyrics
Listening to the audio of her singing the song Happy Birthday, which has no sensual lyrics, shows that music can be sensual without the singing of any sensual words. Watching the video fully confirms that what she was singing was sensual, but it is not necessary to watch it to know that her music was sensual.
Relevance for the CCM Debate
This video falsifies the views of those who say that the only way music can be sensual is if it has sensual lyrics. The assertion, therefore, that CCM is not sensual music because the lyrics are acceptable is invalid.
Furthermore, credible secular musicians and music authorities testify that pop and rock music are sensual:
Rock ‘n’ roll by definition and popular music is about sexuality. (Gene Simmons, member of the rock band KISS)
The sex is definitely in the music, and sex is in all aspects in the [rock] music. (Luke Campbell of 2 Live Crew)
Rock ‘n’ roll is 99% sex. (John Oates of Hall and Oates, American rock star)
Rock music has one appeal only, a barbaric appeal, to sexual desire, not love, but sexual desire undeveloped and untutored. (Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind)
CCM weds Christian lyrics with these sensual styles of music. Because believers must not make any provision for the lust of the flesh to fulfill its lusts (Rom. 13:14), they must not partake of such sensual music—regardless of what the message of the lyrics may be.
 I do not recommend watching the video.
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