Friday, February 8, 2008

Two blogs in one!

#1 I am a subscriber to World Magazine. I receive a link to the online version but I usually wait for the hard copy in the mail. I just like flipping through an actual magazine, especially since I'm on the computer way too much as it is. Well, as I was reading through the magazine today I read an article entitled "Death in the subculture CCM: Demise of Christian music magazine signals hard timese for Christian rock" (Here's the link if you wish to read the entire article Well, the jest of the article is that Christian musicians today do not want to be labeled "Christian musicians". Here's the quote that really perturbed me, "The magazine (talking about CCM) had previously covered only music with explicit religious content, perennial annoyance to Christian artists who believed music should incorporate all aspects of life and creation without forced utterances of Jesus' name or cliched religious imagery". WHAT? They don't want to use Jesus' name in their music? Maybe I'm reading this all wrong, and if I am then please correct me. When I listened to secular music I don't expect to hear a message about Jesus, but when I listen to Christian music, I want Jesus to be the center of the song. Does that make sense? One reason that it took me a long time to enjoy "Christian rock" is b/c it didn't seem sincere to me. Then along came Third Day, Casting Crowns, Jennifer Knapp, and I thought, "Cool! They get it!". If this magazine article is correct, then my initial suspcicions of insincerity are proving to be true. How sad!
#2 On almost a different note, this "evangelical subculture" thing... what's up with that?


Tony M said...

Wow, tough subject. ... "forced uterances" - I think they mean simply saying Jesus' name for the sake of saying it in order to call their music Christian; and, of course, simply "saying Jesus" isn't what it's about anyway.

That being said, there are far too many "Christian" artists who leave their music far too open for interpretation by the listener (e.g., some Switchfoot, Thousand Foot Krutch, Hawk Nelson; those are a few I've heard). Or, in fact, have blatantly questionable material (I've heard supposedly "Christian" artists badmouthing a former girlfriend; how is that "uplifting" talk, even if it's fake?). Now, I realize that not everyone wants to be labeled a Christian artist, for the mere sake of wanting to be able to do "silly" songs (like some of mine). What I do find offensive is someone claiming to be a Contemporary Christian artist but not providing any evidence of that.

On a completely opposite note from some of the above, take a listen to Pillar (I'd have linked to their website, but it appears to be having technical difficulties). While definitely on the heavy side of things, their message is very clear. And, while heavy, most is not of the variety that causes feelings of anger or depression (oftentimes music will induce feelings or moods, regardless of the lyrics; that is one of the major concerns I have over some of the music of today, that it brings about anger or other moods that are not productive in terms of Christian fruit; the lyrics may - sort of - say one thing, but the music puts you in a state that doesn't lend itself to really listening to God anyway).

Sorry, I've been distracted several times during this post, and I think I've lost my way. I guess I'll just quit writing now and perhaps re-read and re-comment more later...

Christy said...

I get what you're saying about using Jesus' name just to call something Christian. I just don't understand why musicians would find it inconvienient to be labeled a Christian artist. I'm not being very articulate in arguing my case, I know. Thanks for your input anyway.

Tony M said...

I think I remembered what I wanted to say... something like, "How can we really separate our 'Christian' from our 'regular' anyway?" I mean, it's not like I'm "part Christian" - either I am or I'm not (and if I think I can be "part Christian" or "sometimes Christian" I think I have missed the whole concept). Now, admittedly, I can choose to act in a "Christian" or non-Christian manner, but that doesn't really affect whether or not I am a Christian.

I fear, though, that what some of these artists want is to not be labeled "Christian" artists simply for the sake of increasing market share. I suppose one could argue that it leads to increased witnessing opportunities - you know, the "bait & switch" approach - offer lots of seemingly "secular" music, get a broader audience, and then throw in a "Christian" song. You could even sort of argue Paul did that, appealing to the people by way of the gods to whom they'd erected statues, including one to the "unknown god." But I don't think Paul watered down his message in order to reach a broader audience.

And I think that's where many "modern Christian artists" fail... watering down their message to increase their revenue (note: certainly not all modern Christian musicians do that, and maybe none of them do and I'm being overly critical). Of course, they do have to make a living.

I think I'm confusing myself now... did any of this make sense? Maybe it's just the cartoons I'm watching because I got up way too early on a Saturday with nothing to do... or maybe it's the Benadryl (and other OTC drugs) I'm taking to help me not feel the effects of whatever it is (cold, flu, something) I'm trying not to catch. Either way, I think I'm going to quit writing now...

Christy said...

Your point is the point I was trying to make. I think that a lot of musicians think that being in the Christian music industry is a good way to get their feet wet, make connections and then move on to different genres. That is what bothers me. If you don't want to stay in the Christian music industry, then don't start there. Even Country musicians write/sing Christian sounding songs every once in a while, but their overall music is about drinking and cheating, so that's not going to send an overall positive message for Christ. Either sing about/for Jesus or don't! Maybe I'm being too harsh, too. I don't know.

Tony M said...

Well, I guess that excludes my music from your list, eh? :) I have a song about cowbells, a song about insanity/murder (that one's just supposed to be kind of funny, nothing else!), and a song about God's love... I have some more in mind, but my son and his friends broke my $10 microphone the other day, so my recording's "off" for a while.

Christy said...

Well, I'll make an exception for your music unless you enter the professional Christian music industry in order to make a profit!
I don't know how to make a very good case, do I? I'll just delete ALL my blogs and keep my big mouth shut from now on!

Yeah, right, and monkies might fly. Actually I'm afraid of flying monkies.

Tony M said...

Once, back when the USSR was still the USSR, I wrote some stupid thing about teaching orangutans to fight, then dressing them in titanium armor, then dropping them (by parachute, from a high-flying cargo plane) into the USSR, where they'd overrun everything.

But orangutans aren't really monkeys, are they? They're apes. Not that this is any more relevant to your post or comment than the rest of this comment. Sorry, maybe I should delete all my comments (or you could, of course). But please don't delete all your posts... they're interesting, and thought provoking. After all, where else would I have the opportunity to share my orangutan bombing strategy? :)

Lamarr said...

I agree and disagree... Personally I don't like love songs; I want them to focus only on God & His love; there were times enough when I felt lonely and wanted someone's love, and when I hear a Christian singer, I want to hear about God's love.

However, I also see the point some bands make about being crossover and bringing their message to the masses. I agree the focus should always be on God, but I'm ok with a more subtle message if it's going to replace something just the opposite in the secular world.

Lastly, one of my 'pet peeve' songs is "Safe in My Arms". I heard the artist talk about the fact that she knows we're only truly safe in God's arms, but that's not what she says in the song, and I especially think about Melissa & Josh and how they'd love to promise that to Tori - that they could protect her from pain or anything else, but they know it's not true - only God can...

amateur said...

At Last Days Ministries there is an article on this subject. Melody Green (Keith Green's widow) wrote it; she writes:

In the kingdom, one plants, another waters, but it's God who brings the growth. There is a huge need for godly "seeds" to be creatively planted regarding things like family, purity, fidelity, honesty, faith in God, etc. Every artist who creates a right and moral message helps move hearts toward what is right.

We are gifted with people like preachers, teachers, worship leaders and many, many others who are called to share the Word very directly. Their ministry if vital because without hearing the Word we cannot be saved.

But not everyone is ready to hear the Word. Some need a few seeds planted first.

Before I met the Lord, I had several powerful spiritual experiences triggered by music and movies. The world tapped into a nugget of truth and God used it to speak deeply to my hungry spirit.

Several years later, two movies presented Jesus in a way that made Him culturally relevant to me....[they] bypassed my walls, softened my heart, and made me willing to go to my first Bible study. That's where I heard the Word for the very first time. I gave my life to Jesus one week later.

I had channel-surfed past TV preachers for years, never relating to their three-piece suits or their message. But God used the media to plant spiritual seeds He could grow and later harvest. Today there are millions like I was, lost in darkness and just waiting for the truth to be presented in a "language" they can receive.

And lots more. The whole article is very good.