April 17, 2009

I’ll say the words that rattle your nerves…

Posted in Christian, Christian Music, Christianity tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 12:23 am by Bryant

So I’m going to fight back… slowly… possibly and most likely insignificantly against bad music on the weekend 22 by joining their “Hit” Music Crew.  What they do with this information and the impact of my opinions are totally up to them, but I’m going to try never-the-less.  So what does make a really great song, one that does not make me immediately turn the station (also see/hear the weekend 22’s number one song for the nth week… “Free to Be Me”)?  For me it has to do with the lyrics and music, but I guess that’s pretty obvious, I mean what more is there to a song?  But quality in both is hard to come by.  What is more powerful over the listener, the music or the lyrics?

On the surface, it’s clearly the music because if the song sounds terrible, why would you listen?  But have you ever listened to the lyrics and wondered why you were listening?  There are plenty of good sounding songs with less than stellar songs (also see my post “Let’s Dance…”).  These lyrics effect us, not only the mainstream songs that inspire people to do some pretty sinful, but especially the religiousongs.  I’m willing to bet (which was totally inspired by one of those mainstream songs) that lyrics come to most Christians’ minds in situations before scripture does.  Is that a bad thing?  Maybe and probably, but then again, maybe if Roman 9 had a jamming beat that played behind it while some pop star / white rapper sang the verses, I’d know it much easier by heart.  That’s our culture at work here and something I struggle against.  To this day when something unexpectedly great happens to me, I don’t think of any of the multitude of Psalms that speak of God’s steadfast love for us.  No, I sing the Doxology in my head and/or out loud… and not the “Sunday morning at an older church” Doxology, but the Five Iron Frenzy “A Flowery Song” (the Doxology is the chorus) and yes, that’s ska.  This goes to show you that what you listen to affects you.

This makes it even more crucial that people listen to the right Christian music: music that sings of true, sound Christian doctrine.  Hearing songs like this on the radio is a rarity, one big reason why I write.  And speaking of being a rarity on the radio, you should hear Derek Webb.  No really, you should just stop reading this now and go listen to him. Listen to the first song “Nobody Love Me” of the album “She Must And Shall Go Free”.  Musically inspired by Bob Dylan and lyrically inspired by the Bible, Derek brings the truth in a folk-rock fusion of musical greatness.  In this particular song, Derek sings about telling the truth in culture despite it not being sexy, losing friends, and rattling the nerves of people.  The song starts with him admitting that he is the chief of liars yet having the Spirit convict him to tell the truth no matter what.  He then speaks of how the truth will not make you popular and how speaking of sin and grace will not be the easiest conversation.

The chorus is awesome.  Compared to God’s love, nobody else loves us like Him, so the love of God should be our main concern.  This fits, and in fact Jesus tells us in Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.”  This is not saying that we are supposed to hate our loved ones but that compared to the love of God, all other love should look like hate.  Think of it this way.  Your teeth (love for others) may be white, but compared to a fresh, new white tee shirt (love for God), your teeth probably do not appear as white as you thought (and if they do, great for you and your enamel).

This song sets a great tone for this album.  The next song, “She Must And Shall Go Free” is the Gospel, brilliant.  If you are comfortable with doctrine and can handle the idea of depravity, listen to “Wedding Dress” which is the most honest song I have ever heard.  You will not find the prosperity gospel (the idea that God wants us to be rich) that Joel Olsteen preaches (see here what Mark Driscoll says about Joel and his teaching by showing clips of his teaching), but you will find human nature, you will find greed, and you will find what separates us from God.  This song expresses that even though God gave us Jesus who gave us his all (his life), we still look for more as if he was never enough and as if we can not trust him.  The language is literal, so keep that in mind when you read the lyrics here.  You might find the song offensive, but have you read the Gospel?

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