what’s with christian music?

What’s with Christian music?

I’ve tried listening to Christian radio so many times, really I have. I’d love to support Christian radio because I think it’s a great outreach and could be a great encouragement. But the music! I inevitably find myself flicking over to Triple J. Then, when I remember that I’m too old for Triple J (the kids these days love their dubstep), I retreat to Radio National or ABC Classic and join the retirees, where no doubt I’ll stay until I’m a retiree myself.

Moshe Kasher had this to say about Christian music at the Melbourne Comedy Festival last year:

Growing up I was a DC talk lover, I even enjoyed a bit of Hillsong. As a child, our Sunday afternoons were filled with ‘People just like us’ or ‘Revival in Belfast’ (fyi, if you’re ever on a family camping holiday and need to secure a good possie, just crank up the Christian music and all the other families will stay well away. It works every time).

The closest I get to listening to Christian music these days is Mumford and Sons. Is Marcus Mumford waiting for his wife or for Jesus? I choose Jesus. ‘Roll away your stone I’ll roll away mine’ – how much more Christian can you get?

Love it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be
There is a design, an alignment, a cry
Of my heart to see,
The beauty of love as it was made to be.

Beautiful. And complete with archaic use of gendered language. Sounds pretty Christian to me.

I’m perplexed about Christian music. Christians should be the best songwriters. We followers of Jesus, we know the author of life, we are new creation ourselves, we have God’s creating Spirit dwelling in us. How is our music so bland? There are more than four chords! There are more than three emotions (not just ‘happy’, ‘trusting’ and ‘worshipful’)! We’ve become like that bar in Blues Brothers, with ‘both types’ of music. There are more than two types of music! What has happened to us?

Is it a cultural thing? Did we evangelicals establish our orthodoxy so many hundreds of years ago that creativity is a little scary for us? Are we conservative by nature? Or is it the Christian music industry that channels musicians in the same artistic direction? Or are we so busy evangelising and studying that we don’t have time for art?

Or do I just have different taste?

If you have any music suggestions I’ve love to hear them.

There is one Christian piece that I do love. What wondrous love is this. I couldn’t find a version on youtube with the old lyrics which hadn’t turned it into a dirge (just because it’s an old song doesn’t mean it needs to be dour. People in the past had fun too!). These guys have changed the words and sing it with a bit of joy.

These are the 1835 lyrics:

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb Who is the great “I Am”;
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on.

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6 thoughts on “what’s with christian music?

  1. Tim, I reckon we should try to forgive most of the music of the 80s; Christian or not. BTW my Dad has at least 2 Amy Grant albums on vinyl and one on CD.

    • Thanks for extending grace to this wayward concert-goer, Phil. You know what makes it even more egregious though? Her opening act was Michael W. Smith.

  2. Pingback: tgif | Many Things

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