Dan over at Cerulean Sanctum makes a point that I fully agree with – just because something is a possibility doesn’t mean that is should be done. Dan says:
“One of the most worldly concepts you’ll find in our culture is this idea that ‘because we can, we should.’ Name a moral failing or a political ambition and I’ll bet ‘because we can, we should’ empowers it . . . Christians are not immune to this mistake. In fact, we rationalize a lot of ‘because we can, we should’ under the guise of redeeming things. Kids love Saturday morning cartoons? Well, let’s make Christian cartoons! Your son wants an action figure? Why not give him a brand-spanking new Jesus action figure complete with a whip to drive out moneychangers and a glow-in-the-dark sword that springs out of his mouth to slay the wicked?”
This pretty much sums up my opinion of popular Christian music. I’m not really talking about praise and worship music (that is another post altogether). I’m talking about all the rock/rap/country/indie/pop groups out there. Go into any book or music store, peruse the Christian music section, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
I am all about expressing yourself through music, and I think that people who incorporate their faith into their careers are a lot braver than most. But do we really need another “God is good, He loves me, and I’m so thankful!” song? It’s not that the lyrics aren’t true – far from it. God is good, He does love me, and I am incredibly thankful. But do I really need to hear those same lyrics in every Christian music song that comes out? To me that’s like saying the Lord’s Prayer every week in church because you’re supposed to, but never stopping to think about what you’re actually saying, and trying to actually live the words of that prayer.
Is there no sense of poetry, symbolism, storytelling? Where is the artistic integrity? Where are the innovative musical styles and interpretation of groups like the Beatles, or Bob Dylan? You may not agree with what they say, but you have to admit that their experimentation has revolutionized what music has been created from their day on as a result of what they did!
The Christian pop culture industry has a habit of validating anyone and everyone with a noble purpose. Because of this, the Christian music industry has a reputation as being repetitive and monotonous. And honestly, I agree with the critics. Aside from the hairstyle and wardrobe du jour, there hasn’t been anything new and innovative in the Christian music industry for YEARS. Nonbelievers mock us, but aren’t we setting ourselves up for it?
I don’t listen to much Christian music anymore. I stick to my old school dcTalk and Burlap to Cashmere – you’ll notice that they haven’t come out with an album (as a group) in YEARS. As the Christian music industry has become popular and has become accepting of groups who aren’t just the typical praise and worship, it has become habitual to accept all, regardless of talent.
I’m not a “bad Christian” because I listen to non-Christian music. If I can listen to non-Christian music and not allow it to influence me, then that’s a plain and simple case of in the world, not of it. And I think that God gives people musical and lyrical talent so that they might be enjoyed and used to His glory. Just because that saxophone solo isn’t part of a Christian music song doesn’t mean that it doesn’t move me to praise God. And in all honesty, listening to music is one of the ways that I feel closest to God. It’s a shame that the underachieving Christian music industry is so close-minded that it loses consumers like me regularly . . . and only creates a mocking and bitter attitude in the hearts of unbelievers.
I am quite willing to be proven wrong. Do you have a group that I simply must listen to? Please, share with me!