In the last few years, more and more Christian artists have been upholding the virtue of honesty in their craft. While this in itself can hardly be labelled as a fault, I fear we may have lost the reason for embracing the virtue in the first place.
In part one of my look at Christian rock, I examined four common arguments opposed to it and found there to be a lack of any serious prohibition. In this article, I’ll take a look at a position that seems to turn the above findings on its head. If the Bible is silent on music does that mean it prohibits it?
Is Christian rock Biblical? The objections have been around since Christians started playing rock music, but how do they hold up? In this article, I’ll look at some of the most common objections to CCM.
It’s a question a lot of us have attempted to answer, but are we looking at it the right way?
If there was one band that defined my childhood, it was the Newsboys.
Music is one of the most powerful tools of memory one can treasure. It can bring you back to a favored time in your life with one note of the verse or chorus. So I thought I’d share some of the songs and albums that, not only have had a huge impact on my life, but also hold precious memories. So here’s my first list (it’s probably going to be the most random you’ll ever read).
Have you ever thought that you were above another’s service?
The next song I’m going to look at in my single song category is U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. I think it’s pretty safe to say that this song has confused many Christians, even I got tripped up on it, thinking maybe Bono didn’t have the Holy Spirit and wasn’t satisfied with Christ. But after digging through their incredible album, The Joshua Tree, again, I began to see this song in a different light.
There’s a bit of a debate as to what makes Christian music, Christian, and it’s something I thought I’d voice an opinion on. Though I don’t have all the answers to define what’s Christian and what isn’t, I can give you what I think on the subject.
The year is coming to an end, and soon I’ll be making my top ten albums of the year list, but first I’d thought I’d write a list of seven of my very favourite Christian artists. I’ll give a brief description of each and a few sample songs.
Switchfoot are just one of those bands that continually make great records . Blending a mix of rock and pop with a surf/beach atmosphere makes Swtichfoot easily one of my very favourite bands in the Christian scene. My favourite album by them will always be the Beautiful Letdown, but others such as Vice Verses, Fading West, and Nothing is Sound are equally amazing in sound and lyrics that reflect and connect with the Christian’s life.
Has anyone ever hurt or rejected you? More than likely, unfortunately, you’ll answer yes. Has anyone ever condemned you for not living the way you should? Yep, unfortunately that too happens a fair bit in churches. It’s felt by anyone who tells you to live under the law. But the real question I want to ask these people, and you if you have ever hurt anyone, is this: Who are you?
I’m going to break the norm today, and instead of doing an album review like I’d usually do around this time, I’m going to write a post around a classic, and one of my favourite songs, How to Save a Life, by the band, the Fray.
Hi readers, today I want to talk about worship, the way we worship, and how we worship. Worship is more than just lifting your hands on a Sunday morning, worship is everything we do and say. Worship is not a genre of music, it’s a lifestyle, it’s every breath we take.
How we worship differs from person to person, but one thing should be evident in everyone’s form of worship: Jesus is glorified above all else. If your worship isn’t actually worshiping, it’s not worship, it’s as simple and obvious as that. Yes, you may roll your eyes at how obvious that is, but the truth is, a lot of people only sing worship for their own glorification. In the Christian music world, worship is the most listened to, and it’s what the radio stations want played, so the money is pretty big.
Another thing all worship should have in common is that it should come from the heart. If you’re lifting Jesus with all of your heart, you’re already there. Worship isn’t something that people should be forced to do, it should be something that they want to do. It should come from the heart, and the way to do so is to look at the cross. When I see the cross, I want to fall on my knees and thank the Lord.
And now another thing that’s important in worship: the music. Before I go on I want to say that music isn’t something that is absolutely needed in worship, but it truly helps to usher in the Spirit and bring the listener to a place of worship. There are many forms of music used to worship God, and none is more “effective” than the other, though some prefer their own style of music over others. For example, some find they can worship easier with hymns or ballads, others find they can worship easier with rock or metal. And as great as these differences are, they can cause division. How? Lets see.
Worship should be something that brings everyone closer to God and each other, but when it tears us apart, I believe God’s not in it. All our differences should bring us together, not cause division between one another. For example, the people who worship to the softer music may say that it’s impossible to worship to metal, and the metalheads might say they can’t worship to the softer music. I’ve actually read and heard accounts of both, so I’m not making this up 🙂 What these people get wrong is that they believe their preferred way of worship is the only way to worship. Worship isn’t a style of music, and in saying that, that’s what they’re making it out to be. Worship is lifting Jesus Christ.It makes no difference if we sing or scream, the Lord loves both.
If you’re still doubting whether another’s style of worship is wrong, let me tell you that I’ve done both. I’ve screamed along and worshiped to heavy metal, and I’ve sang along and worshiped to hymns and ballads. As I sing to the Lord in worship, I feel His presence fall, with both the soft music, and the metal.
So instead of judging others in their differences, rejoice that God made us all unique. I have a saying of mine I want to share, “If the music sings praise, then I’m raised!”
God Bless, and if you have any further questions, I’m more than happy to answer. And please feel free to share the way you like to worship 🙂 I’d love to hear it!
I thought I’d continue on the subject of talent in the creative industry, but this time I’m going to look at music, particularly Christian music.
Every Christian knows CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) and every Christian knows how big it is. Most love it, and that’s a great thing 🙂 Some hate it, is that a bad thing? Sadly, I’m one of those people who don’t particularly like the CCM Industry. That’s not to say I hate it, I absolutely love some of the stuff CCM puts out, but the majority of it is, what I call, tasteless.
You might not like what I’m about to say, but a lot of Christian music I hear on the radio isn’t very good. It’s dry and uncreative and leaves a bland taste in my mouth. After a week a new album becomes stale. A lot of Praise and Worship does that to me as well, especially live worship. When I listen to it I can’t help but agree with unbelievers when they say it’s boring.
So, Lucas, you’re saying we should listen to secular music? No, not without discretion. A lot of secular stuff, especially secular rock, is not edifying to the body of Christ. Most of it deals with how bad the world is and how only worldly things, including sin, can satisfy us. But with discretion, you can find some diamonds. I love some of Coldplay’s stuff, the same goes for Matchbox 20 and the Fray, and we can’t forget U2! But secular music is not what I listen to, only look at every now and again.
So, what Christian music do I like?
That’s a tough one, because I like a lot, outside the CCM market. I love everything from folk and worship, to hard rock and metal. Artists like All Sons and Daughters, Andrew Peterson, Flyleaf, Thousand Foot Krutch, The Ember Days, and NEEDTOBREATHE all aren’t considered CCM, and are never played on the radio, which is a devastating thing. It’s a shame most of the truly creative artists are under the radar and never heard of. If I brought to you every artist I love, I guarantee you won’t know any of them. That’s not an insult to your musical knowledge, because I myself only found them through searching.
Something I also want to point at is Christian metal, since a lot of people are against it, and it makes me wonder, why? I’ve never heard anything as powerful as some of the Christian metal songs, and it makes me wonder why so many Christians are against it. Not to mention the amount of creativity I see in it. If you could give me something against Christian metal, please comment, because I haven’t seen any Scripture that backs the rock critic’s claims yet.
Right, back on subject. Where’s the talent? One of my friends knows the issue of making music for money quite well, and I believe that is one of the reasons. Artists are so obsessed with releasing number one singles and getting a huge fan base that they will water down their messages to get them. Yes, CCM is watered down! Where’s the Word? Where’s the power of the Spirit? Most of all, where’s the conviction?
An artist shouldn’t be making music for money, nor to get a big fan base, but to glorify God! And that also goes to the Christian authors as well. Don’t write to become the next New York Times Bestseller, but for the glory of God, and for winning souls for the kingdom.
So, where’s the talent? It’s there, and there’re still artists and authors who have it, but we’re all settling for mediocrity.
So these are my views on the matter of talent in the music industry, and if you disagree that’s perfectly fine, because I know a lot of people who love CCM. The issue of talent is my own opinion, and I’m not asking anyone to change their tastes 🙂
Here’s a few articles on the subject of metal by a fellow blogger if you’re interested in knowing more.
The next genre I want to talk about is mystery and crime. First off, mysteries.
We all know what a mystery is, so I’m not going to go down that path, but I will say that mysteries are probably the most difficult to write, simply because the writer must avoid predictability. If your reader predicts the ending, and I don’t mean guess, the reader probably read spoilers, or your book isn’t very good.
The most difficult thing for any novel writer to do is insert mystery, yet leave clever, but slightly obscured, clues lying around for the reader to figure out. That’s one of the reasons reading is so fun!
Also the mystery can’t fall flat. If you want to impact readers, don’t leave them with a dry twist. You don’t want them to say something like, “Is THAT it?” or, “I read five hundred pages for that?” Make it a shock, give it the WOW factor. What that is, I can’t say, you must find it yourself.
Another thing I want to talk about in mysteries is probably not directly related to the genre, but I’ll say it anyway. Don’t make your story so much of a mystery that the reader can’t see God in it at all. I believe, and love, allegories and metaphors when done right, but if I can’t see God in them, what’s the point? If an unbeliever reads it without the slightest clue of God the whole way through, then he gets to the end to find that you were talking about God all along, he will feel cheated and feel forced to swallow a religion pill, what I like to call it 🙂 So avoid vagueness in your writing, and make sure the mystery is gripping and worthwhile, even past the last page!
Now on to Crime. Crime isn’t a genre I read a lot of since it’s the most violent. Ted Dekker does them the best, but I wouldn’t recommend them to younger readers. I wouldn’t recommend any crime novels to younger readers, and I mostly avoid them myself.
Why crime is the most violent is because it explores the worst things people can possibly do. Crime, by definition, is things people do that are against the law, and since the law is righteous and holy, everything that is against it isn’t.
There are Christian crime writers, and it shouldn’t be written off as unnecessary. We should examine the sinfulness of people’s ways, and show how evil and of a need of a saviour they are. I’ve explored violence in my previous post, How Far Should We Go? So I won’t repeat it. The standards a Christian writer should follow when writing a crime novel are pretty straight forward: don’t make it so violent that your Christian reader is disgusted, because we like to stay away from that stuff 🙂 Don’t spread the message that the person committing the crime is only doing it because he/she got brought up in a bad home and was abused, or his environment encourages him to do those things. It’s not the environment or the way he was raised, it’s his sinful heart, because he can choose to walk away. Don’t make it look, “Not that bad,” as well, because you don’t want to give readers ideas that they can do it if they only abstain from this or that.
So, when writing crime, show the sinfulness of man, and the power of the love of Jesus, because He loves everyone of every race and every kind.
As a side note, there’s a song by a Christian band called Showbread called, A man with a hammer. Yes, strange title, but it is one of the most touching, beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. It goes through four stories of explicit content: a man who decides to kill his family, a woman who commits adultery, an abortion, and a rape. In the end, the singer says “Every woman, every man, all ransomed by your love for them.” And in the chorus, “Oh the thought of what sets a person free, before I could love you back, you gave your love to me. Now I see my sentencing reprieved. You offer me your everything, even though I am still me.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v+JIk1nJKnfO0 Here’s the link. Probably not suitable for little ones 🙂