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Posts Tagged ‘Christian music’

My first music review

OK. So I wrote a review of Chris Rice’s “Peace Like a River: The Hymns Project” twice and somehow it got erased twice. I don’t have the patience to write it a third time, especially because I can’t type, so here it goes again.

It is good. I totally liked it. You should buy it.

There.

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Why I listen to sports-talk radio.

For those of you who have read my takes on Christian music (namely that I don’t care for it), here’s a video that captures my similar thoughts about Christian radio. It hits sadly close to the mark.

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Some more thoughts on music

Some good questions and responses to the last post have prompted me to expand my thoughts on the subjects of Christians, music, and Christian music. Questions like “Is it sinful to listen to secular music?” and “What about different forms of music?” encourage me because they show that you people are paying attention. Don’t think you’re lost when you come to a fork in the road. In most cases it means that you’ve followed the map well, there just isn’t a simple road to follow. Think things through Biblically and you’ll get to the right place.

That said, most Christians struggle with the pursuit of “secular” things after they become Christians. They associate the things they did as unbelievers with unbelief, even if those things are theirs to pursue as Christian liberty. Pre-Christ baggage taints our ability to enjoy things that God has freely given to us. the book of Colossians, on the subject of true spiritual growth teaches us that it isn’t the thing, but the heart that is the source of sin. False teachers promoting a phoney “higher spirituality” told the Colossians that they could grow as Christians by abstaining from certain material things, saying “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle.” But the thing, be it a certain food or drink or a song, does not cause sin. Hearing a song does not make us sin.

However, our hearts can respond sinfully to things, in this case secular music. For this reason I direct our attention to Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

This text should guide the way we think about music. As Christians we pursue personal holiness to the glory of God. If the music we hear interferes with that, we turn away from it. Here are a couple of questions for personal consideration:

1.) What is the song about? Understanding lyrical content is important. Don’t try to walk the line by making the song be about something else. Artist’s intent is the rule. We don’t like it when people interpret the Bible any way they want because what God meant is what it means. Do the same with the music you listen to.

2.) What does the artist want you to think about the subject? Are you invited to glamorize sin or consider sin exciting. One of the best films I’ve seen in Schindler’s List. It depicts terrible, dehumanizing atrocities in graphic detail. But it deplores those acts, and serves to help the viewer realize the extent of the evil. On the other hand, much music invites the listener to consider sex trivial, to consider acting out in anger like “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” by Drowning Pool, or to see drug use as funny like “Because I Got High” by Afroman.

3.) What must it look like when you sing along? Lyrics that don’t mesh with Christian life are like a needle running off of a record. Is that what you think? Then why are the words coming out of your mouth?

4.)What is your emotional response? If the music makes you feel angry, cocky, tough whatever…pitch it.

Hope that’s not to much to think through. remember it’s the heart that uses things such as music for sin, so first and foremost be dealing with your heart. If you seek out music to gratify your desire to sin, or if you relish toying with sin in the way you enjoy music, cut it out. Ask God in all things to reveal the inclinations of our hearts which are often hidden to us (Jer 17:9).

Music is largely open for our enjoyment. Most of it is composed by unbelievers, yes, but much of it is still free for us to enjoy. Just be discerning. And remember: enjoy!

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Face the music

I love music. There is something that is transcendent about it. I is a universal language in that it takes so little to communicate across cultures and establish empathy with composers and artists through time. The amount of money spent in a year on music confirms its popularity, as does the intensity with which we discuss our favorite music and seek to share it with others.

Recently noticed about my radio pre-sets: I barely ever listen to Christian radio anymore. Same goes for my music library. A little while back I bought a few DC Talk songs through iTunes for my iPod, but most of those songs are several years old. What gives?

Reason number one is that I am a music snob. Not many people successfully tell me about new music that I like. It’s not that I don’t like new music, because i do. I’m just pretty picky. Music has an real emotional effect on my. I really respond to music that I like, even to the point of being choked up. For some reason, choral music particularly does this to me. I like a wide range of music, from classical to oldies to electronic to rock, even modern rock music. It just has to be good.

Reason number two is that most Christian music is not that good. The industry, I think, produces a very homogenized, similar product all over. Basically most of it sounds the same. If it isn’t a breathy female vocalist its some sensitive-sounding male vocalist. Precious few, like Mac Powell from Third Day have any kind of unique sound. The songwriting is mostly bland, if they even write a new song at all. I mean, how many versions of “Shout to the Lord” do we need? Top to bottom, Christian music just seems stale to me.

What’s worse, reason number three, is the fact that half of the time you can’t understand what they’re saying. Now I have more than my share of favorite songs with unintelligible vocals, but in my opinion the key distinctive that makes music Christian is the lyrical content. Lyrics based on truth Biblically edifies, above and beyond God’s gift of music. Now music is a gift from God, as evidenced by the fact that we offer it to God for all eternity as part of our worship, but ultimately sound compliments word, and too often the words are out of reach.

Even worse, and fourthly, when you can understand the words, they are so bland that they can be claimed by any somewhat-Christian denomination. This is likely a function of the industry’s desire to make records appeal to as broad a market as possible. The results are lyrics that essentially say nothing distinctively Christian. That’s a shame.
For now I’ll be content to listen to Third Day, a smattering of DC talk, and some assorted greatest hits. I know that many of you like plenty of what Christian music has to offer, and that’s fine. Taste in music is intensely personal, so I’ll leave you room for your own preferences. Just be discerning with what you call Christian music, and be careful about where you look for edification.

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