April 1, 2009

It’s all because of Jesus…

Posted in Christian, Christian Music, Christianity, The Church tagged , at 3:11 pm by Bryant

I love Christian music.  It combines my love of Christ and my love of music.  Unfortunately I find myself getting angry at what I hear on Christian Radio and even at some churches.  Ever wonder if Christian music and worship misses the point?  I know I do.  And even if it doesn’t miss the point as much there is a decent chance the music will try to take you into what I call “the Pit of Despair” and leaves you with negative feelings and confusion.

We live in a time where worship is the 30 minutes of standing and singing in church before we sit down.  Our butts in the chairs mean worship is over.  Our eyes reading scripture and our ears listening to a spiritual leader speak of our Lord and Savior mean worship is over. We forget that worship is more than music before church, it is the pursuit of meeting with God.

We then leave the church, get in our cars and turn on music that talks about our accomplishments and glorifies ourselves, or alternatively we turn the radio to secular radio. Who could blame people who choose secular over Christian Radio?  The beats are better, the lyrics are somewhat similar, and if you don’t like a song there are 14 other stations to randomly pick from that might have something that suits you.  Seriously, if you aren’t a Casting Crowns fan or are not that into Third Day, it’s going to be difficult to enjoy a Christian radio station.

One problem is musical variety.  Secular stations stick to the top 40 and music made popular over the last year or so.  Christian radio sticks with the top 20 or 22 and then with songs from the biggest/oldest Christian bands that were big 5+ years ago.  The rest of music falls into the gap.  This explains why you will hear “Slow Fade” and “Who am I” once every hour on the radio, yet rarely hear “Lifesong” which is actually an upbeat song that should be played because let’s face it, a non upbeat Casting Crowns song is a dime a dozen.

I’ve heard from multiple people that their biggest turn off of Christian music is Christian radio.  I feel their frustration.  If you get the opportunity, listen to your local station for a few straight hours and record songs you hear more than once.  It can drive you nuts.  It’s also frustrating that there is a lot of good CCM out there that isn’t getting played that is both pleasing to the ear and glorifies Christ, and instead is getting overlooked so we can hear the 5th Chris Tomlin song that is nearly indistinguishable from the 4 that were released before it.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the positive impact that the music of Casting Crowns and Chris Tomlin is having in people’s lives by the grace of God; however, I’m asking them to bring it lyrically and musically.  I’m tired of songs that lyrically sound as if they have been put through a word generator(insert some quality about God here and rhyme it with another quality here) and don’t push the musical threshold.  Bring it.

This blog is set up to review the Christian music that is out there, either on the radio or waiting to be discovered.  With that in mind I will evaluate songs and albums based on factors of theological accuracy, relevancy, lyrical strength, musical and lyrical consistency, worship, fun, and inspiration.  Again, I’m doing this out of love.  I want there to be good music out there played to the glory of Christ as well as music that is enjoyable.  I don’t think they have to be separated.  Worship music doesn’t have to be a conditioning set of slow beats and violins/piano.  Music, just like Christians, Churches, deeds, and actions should be held accountable.

For an idea of songs I am looking at… take a listen of Francesca Battistelli’s “Free to Be Me” (ranked #1 for the last 3 weeks on the Weekend 22) at http://www.myspace.com/francescabattistelli and then Jars of Clay’s “Two Hands” (ranked #13) at http://www.myspace.com/jarsofclay.  Notice how “Free to Be Me” seems to celebrate the freedom of Christ, but focuses on the “Me” and “I” and shows contentment with how things are, the status quo.  Then notice the depravity of the human condition sang about in “Two Hands” and how the focus is of how we are unable to give Christ the praise that he so richly deserves.  Then take a moment to notice which song is most popular right now and how this might be an indication of the current attitude of many of the church.  “I’m okay, you’re okay” is more popular than “I’m a terrible person who needs to glorify Christ better”.  Let’s press on.  Solus Christus.

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