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Christian Music, Part Deux

07/18/04 | by Sara [mail] | Categories: faith/skepticism

Your response on my last post has been really helpful. Thanks for your suggestions, and for understanding my plight. Here's my next question: Should I feel bad that I would rather listen to music that is not "Christian"? Kyle referred to this issue in his review of Everyday Apocalypse, but I'd like to hear more.



I don’t think there’s a problem with not wanting to listen to much of what the Christian music scene has to offer. I don’t care for much of it myself.

My mother-in-law is a huge fan of the lighter Christian music. I couldn’t name any of the artists she listens to, but you know that CD they’re always playing in the Christian book stores? I’m pretty sure it’s that one.

My solution has been, find artists outside of Christian music that at least have uplifting themes, and have excellent musical statements to make. Paul Simon is one of my favorites for this (for the sake of the “uplifting” argument, please ignore 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover). Here’s a guy (with or without Garfunkel) who writes this stunningly beautiful music, is a poet in the truest sense of the word, and doesn’t require foul language, etc., to make his points. Since I know you’re already a Simon fan, I’ll leave that alone. (Ooh- also look for the crossover groups like Kansas)

My point is, listen to what you love, and supplement it with the Christian music that helps to keep you focused; that evokes the response you want to give to musical expression, and yet also appeals to your Christian sensibilities. For me this lets me both enjoy my music, and not overplay the handful of Christian musicians that I really DO like.

Well, you’ve already read what I think (and I can’t recommend Everyday Apocalypse enough). I would add, though, that nobody should feel obligated to listen to bad music just because it’s “Christian.” The Christian entertainment industry has made a fortune on just such a mentality. You have to remember, a lot of the companies that market to Christians are no more religious than secular companies.

Kyle [Visitor]http://kyle.brendoman.com07/19/04 @ 16:00

Well, I just read the comment I wrote earlier today, and it seems overly negative now. I must clarify that I have nothing against Christian recording artists who want to use their music to send a message of their faith. Personally, I am biased toward music that is original and completely unique, and I am turned off by Christian musicians who aspire to nothing more than imitating the sound of popular bands. I feel like these are the groups that are most heavily marketed by Christian music labels, exactly because there is a large population of Christians who want to support Christian music over secular music. That attitude is fine as a personal conviction, but it seems that Christian music labels are quick to capitalize on it, and I feel like the Christians who are setting out to make original, quality, honest music are lost in the mix.

I don’t agree with the mentality that Christians are duty-bound to support Christian entertainment. When The Passion came out recently, some friends of mine said, “We need to get as many people as we can to go to the movie and support it,” as if Mel Gibson’s Icon studio company was suddenly transformed into a Christian organization by making one movie about Christ. I thought people should see the movie if they wanted to, but not out of a sense of obligation. I feel the same way about Christian music.

Kyle [Visitor]http://kyle.brendoman.com07/19/04 @ 21:45

I don’t see anything wrong with listening to secular music if you approach it with the Biblical principle that anything that enters in can have an effect on the heart. I can never give up secular music, but there was a time when I had to sell some CDs because they were having such a negative effect on my life.
I’ve come to the conclusion (and this is just my conclusion) that I can listen to secular music, but I have to be careful about what I endorse, especially to non-Christians. I lvoe Fugazi and will until the day I die, but I think that I would be compromising my image as a faithful disciple if I wore a Fugazi shirt (there are none, actually) and advertised them to everyone I know.

jaeroplane [Visitor]07/19/04 @ 21:57

Or, say, pledged your undying love to them on the world wide web.

danny [Visitor]http://danny.brendoman.com07/19/04 @ 22:08

I once heard if you don’t listen to El Shaddi each morning first thing and then again after lunch, then you really don’t love Jesus.
Or maybe I didn’t, but I got burned out on that song (and most christian music) after church camp in 5th grade.

Cole [Visitor]07/19/04 @ 22:27

Someone once said that there is no such thing as christian music, only christian lyrics. I personally am waiting for more christian lyrics that aren’t put to music that is less than listenable. It is getting better, as more money is being thrown into the “Genre". However largley it is still mediocre. I wonder if this is because anytime you have a captive audience the thought is “We’ll just make it good enough, and people will buy it, because it’s christian” I am a huge music fan, and i enjoy music for the “music” and occasionally someone writes a lyric that blows me away, but it is still largley about the music for me. i also think that christian artist get pigeon holed into wirting only about God, and can’t write about love and heartache and sing the blues! We’re are not always happygo jumpy!


Trix Daddio [Visitor]07/20/04 @ 01:56

this reminds me of that one southpark episode where cartman starts the christain group “faith +1″

gringo [Visitor]http://www.whoisgringo.com07/20/04 @ 16:22

I saw that episode. Pretty funny.

danny [Visitor]http://danny.brendoman.com07/20/04 @ 17:42

Rob is rather a pursuer of decent Christian music and has a set of mixes that introduce a pretty wide variety of artists. He also has a pretty cool set of Springsteen mixes and some awesome 80’s mixes. He even has a couple blend mixes (like the driving songs mix which has mostly 80’s songs with a few Christian songs related to driving interspersed).

My point is, and it was made before in another post, that to be Christian doesn’t have to mean listening only to what is marketed to a Christian audience, but to listen with a Christian worldview continually laying our preferences on the altar to be sure they are not holding us back from closeness to God. I have had times where I’ve needed to refocus and “fast” from secular music for a time, not because it is evil or wrong to listen to it, but because my heart was drifting toward it in a way that wasn’t healthy. Other times I’ve been challenged and uplifted by the very same music.

A couple artists I like that haven’t been mentioned are Dime Store Prophets and Mark Heard–though sometimes Mark Heard’s music can be a bit cheesy. I’m also a fan of Jeremy Garringer’s songs if he would ever get someone else to sing them so you could understand the words–and then come out with an album.

One thing to keep in mind is that like any artist, you’re probably not going to love or even like every song on an album, but it seems easier to be especially hard on Christian artists for the duds.


skittles [Visitor]07/21/04 @ 08:59

this discussion is refreshingly mature.

i used to work in the “Christian” music industry and at times it can be very depressing and sobering.

alot of times, the high ups at the labels aren’t Christians at all, so many decisions are not spirit led- they are to make a buck like anyone else. not that there is anything wrong with making money, but sometimes, Jesus is simply left out of the equation all together.

someone below posted about Dimestore Prophets- may i shamelessly plug the old lead singer’s latest band?

check out Tremolo-




dizzygirl30 [Visitor]08/18/04 @ 03:21

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