"What kind of music do you listen to?" I was asked the other day. Sheepishly, I admitted that I loved contemporary Christian music. The person I was talking to spoke about their new favorite musical genre and mentioned individual artists that could only be euphemistically labeled as "edgy."
So I quickly backpedaled and started listing the genres and radio stations that I used to listen to, because they were "edgier" than the music I now like. I spoke about them with a sense of pride. Like, back in the day when I was such a rebel.
Why do we do that? As Mormons and Christians, why do we sometimes pride ourselves on our ability to walk the line without falling over it. Our media consumption becomes "edgy" as we try to put our foot as far as we can into the "great and spacious building" without officially wandering off the "straight and narrow path." We listen to music, watch movies and TV shows that cannot, by nearly anyone's standards, be categorized as edifying, then we feel a weird sense of pride in it. (At least, I did.)
"See," we say to ourselves," I can handle this (music, movie, TV show). I'm still a good Mormon." I used to say, in jest, that I had to have some kind of sin or otherwise I'd be translated. Listening to alternative rock was keeping me on the planet. Plus, it wasn't that big of a deal.
I am reminded of the story of the stage coach drivers. You know, the one where the employer asks potential hires how close they can drive to the edge of a cliff. One by one they brag about how far they can drive over the edge without falling, each trying to out do the other, expect the one guy. He doesn't know how close he can come to the edge because he stays as far from the edge as possible.
We all nod and think how wise that guy is. And of course he's the one who gets hired. What they don't tell you is how the other stage coach drivers roll their eyes, mock, and think the he's lame.
I don't watch TV anymore. Almost never. The last "show" I watched was more than a week ago and it was BYU game. I rarely watch movies and favor family shows and old classics, when I do. And I don't listen to anything other than Christian radio.
I'm not bragging. There's no element of pride in becoming the "insipid" type that I used to mock. These are simply my defenses that help me battle my personal demons. Nothing more or less. I've written about forks in the road before. And how I had one. Sure, I tried for a while to be "normal," watching the same movies, TV shows and listening to alternative rock music. But it made me crazy. Literal run-to-the-doctor-for-meds brand of crazy.
So I don't ride the edge anymore. I can't. And you know what? I don't miss it. I always have been afraid of heights.