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Entertainment => Music => Topic started by: Ruth on April 15, 2006, 04:43:31 PM

Title: Interesting essay on CCM
Post by: Ruth on April 15, 2006, 04:43:31 PM
I found this essay awhile ago...anybody have any thoughts? 


Don't get me wrong. A few years ago I was excited to discover that "Christians could rock just as hard as everyone else." That we could hold our own on the music front. Unfortunately, I've discovered that my initial feelings were misled. Misled by an Industry that ultimately puts restraints on the faith it supposedly promotes.

There are a plethora of reasons a Christian music advocate might state in defense of the Christian Music Industry. Reasons such as the glorification of God, "safe" and non-offensive listening, and styles of music that parallel the mainstream usually come to mind. However, there are just as many points against this billion dollar industry and it's said music, and these grievances far outweigh the positive side.

My top complaint is the need to label music as "Christian." If a Christian is composing it, shouldn't it reflect that naturally? At least in some aspects. And if not all the time, then fine. And if all the time, then fine. By categorizing and labeling themselves as "Christian" or "worship" music, they isolate themselves. They hold up a blaring neon sign that proclaims "Unbelievers, STAY OUT!" It's like a club. It's not an outward ministry as they'd like to think. They minister only to themselves and others like them.

Another reason people generally like the Christian music scene is because any artist you pick from the batch will be safe to listen to. I think folk-recording artist Shannon Stephens sums it up best:

" Honestly, I feel that the Christian music market was created out of a need for safety by separation. People wanted to know that the music they were listening to would not contaminate their souls or the souls of their children. The truth is that we are not contaminated by our culture, but by our own hearts. I do think it's important to feed the fire as little as possible, but shutting out the world and creating a safe subculture is not what Christ commanded us to do. Rather than making absolute judgments about Christian bands or labels, I try to take them on an individual basis. Sometimes people ask me if I play "Christian music" I don't even know what to say. I'm a Christian, and I play music, but is it all praise and worship? No. I feel more comfortable outside of the box, where things are more dangerous and often times more real. This is where God utilizes my honesty to be a light in the darkness."

Point taken.

I don't think it's neccessary to have an alternative act for every sort of music out there. Like when people call Relient K the "Christian Blink-182." How do you think the band members feel about that? A few years ago at my school we sat through a presentation called "True Lies." After the presentation we were given a card that listed all sorts of music and bands in the mainstream and next to each category was a list of Christian counter-parts.

This leads me into my next point. What happened to creativity and originality in Christian music? Christians were some of the forerunners in this kind of music. That's pretty much out the window. Every worship band sounds the same, every Christian singer has similar hooks. There are a few signs of life out there, but they are few and far between. Bands like Starflyer 59, The Innocence Mission, and the Danielson Famile still hold on to their shreds of dignity. And that's an impressive feat, considering the stereotype they face as Christians. To be brutally honest, most bands and artists that categorize themselves as "Christian" and "worship" these days are nothing new, nothing exciting, and not that good. And the artists that are good and do label themselves this way are being monopolized by the Industry.

And that brings me to the Industry, itself. How have we let the Church get to this point? We have artists expressing themselves and praising God. Ok. Fine. And then these same artists sell thousands of albums, charge fans money to come "worship" with them, charge money for fans to get into their fanclub and meet them, sell merchandise in the back of churches, and now possess a heck of a lot more money than they need. Sounds very Christian to me. Didn't Jesus cast the moneychangers OUT of the temple? Oh, but we sure did find a way to bring them back in. And it all seems legal, doesn't it? With any industry comes corporate greed. We've commercialized Christianity. Congrats, everyone. Now go buy cds and self-help books at the local Christian bookstore.

What is Christianity? That's for you to figure out. Think good and hard about it. And then think about this Christian Music Industry. Is it fulfilling the requirements? Is it reaching out to those who don't know Christ? No. Because these acts label themselves as "Christian", nobody but Christians come in to listen to them. They can't reach out, not when they're isolating themselves like this. So when these Christians artists form bands and make good music and DON'T label it as Christian, it's a good thing. They're not betraying their faith, they're not disrespecting the Church, they're taking the Gospel where it might not have gone otherwise.

I admit, I used to shop solely at the Christian bookstore for records. I used to be a fan of Pop-Christianity. Now I know better. I know you have to dig for the good, worthwhile music, even if it is put out independently or on tiny labels. I know the local Christian radio station is biased beyond belief. I know a lot of Christians have talent, but they're looked down upon by their brethren because they won't classify themselves and put themselves into neat little boxes. I know these things. You can know them, too.