I like a wide variety of music and listen to a wide variety on different occasions. Sometimes when I am doing some coding (I am a web developer by trade) I like to have something a bit loud to help me drown out the noise of the family and concentrate on what I am doing. But if I am reading something spiritual I prefer something quieter, or silence.
In terms of the monastic spirituality, I am increasingly thinking that we should see ourselves as secular or lay monastics, and that, as far as is appropriate with regard to our vocations, especially as married and family members, we should be seeking to present a radical Christianity to the worl around us. Both for the sake of the safety of our souls and for the salvation of the world.
Yet we must surely be radical without being pietistic or easily shocked by the world around us. We should be comfortable meeting and talking with someone in a pub, even if we choose not to drink alcohol ourselves. We should be aware of modern culture without allowing ourselves to submit to it. We must not live in a ghetto, but I think that the Western world needs us to be hard-core Orthodox with open and generous hearts. There are scary, rather intimidating Orthodox extremists, I am not suggesting we become like them, but we should be and must be entirely committed to our faith and to living our faith, even while we live in the world. The world needs a more monastic spirituality, and we need a more monastic spirituality if we are to be preserved in the Western world of the 21st century.
What if we lived and ate and dressed more simply? What if we prayed more and according to a rule? If we fasted more rigourously? If we participated more fully in the services of the Church without becoming liturgo-geeks but with the aim of becoming more completely transformed by grace. This is not a time for being half-hearted. I am sure that there is nothing wrong with listening to secular music, and much of the modern contemporary US christian music is just too awful to listen to in any case. But what would a radical Orthodoxy lead us to? What does it mean to be aware of modern culture, and not afraid of it, but just not closely engaged with it because it is so very often describing a false world view? I wanted to see a favourite band this year. They were only playing one gig in the UK this year, but it was during Holy Week so I didn't even think of going. But I like live music. I guess we need to find the balance at all times. Very often it must be tilted towards Christian and spiritual things, not because the secular is evil but because we only get one life, and we must live it like it matters, for our sake and for the salvation of the world.