What the Church Can Learn From Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger”

I know what some of you are thinking, the church must be pretty desperate these days to be taking lessons off of radio hits. Yes and no.

Like most people, I go through swings in my music listening. It ranges from “only new music” to “no new music”, to “only my iPod” to “only lectures and audiobooks”. These days, I’m all over the place and when I’m commuting, I’ve been listening to the radio lately. I usually hit 1 of 5 songs: Adele, a bunch of dance songs (what I call the “Move This” of the day), and Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger”.

I only like one Maroon 5 song, “Sunday Morning” and while I can admit that their latest single is catchy, I doubt I’m going to care a short while from now, even with the fantastic singing of Christina Aguilera. But for now, who cares, it’s fun and it means it’s 5 more minutes that we don’t have to listen to Adele (yep, I’m even tired of her new song).

Initially I was bothered that they would use Mick Jagger like this. Then I was relieved that they didn’t use Bono. Then I thought the song was the typical objectifying and short-term gratification message of the day. Then during my 30th listen (which if I produced the math, that’s a week’s worth of station surfing while commuting to work), I thought the Church could take a cue from the creation of the song.

First, forget all the lyrics. All of them. In fact, it already seems that some churches and scandalous pastors have already lived out some of these lines – lol (a sad lol). Second, it’s good every to every so often to point back to an important figure in “music tradition”. And just like the Adam Levine and his producers hoped, old people and young people will like it. In the church, we need more of these types of connection points.

I heard someone complain that there is no originality left in pop-culture, everything is being ripped off. Exhibit A were all the movies that are out now that are either from the 1980’s or sequels. And “Moves Like Jagger” was exhibit B. My friend said, “They got to appeal back to a rock icon to get people’s attention again because there aren’t any icons today …” If I understood him right, I’d have to disagree, we are not short of Rock/Pop/HipPop/Country “Icons” but that can be debated another day.

Here’s what I am saying – this song highlights the moment when inter-generational reference points work well. And we should look for more of these opportunities within the Church. When pop culture connects the generations better than the Church, I think most would agree that’s regrettable.

It’s good to look back. It’s good to look ahead. It’s good to mix the two and create.


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