I recently ran across a web-site that has since become one of my favorites to visit. The site http://www.ccmpatrol.com/ and the tag line is "Where christian music is allowed to get bad reviews." I would encourage you to check it out....though beware, it is pretty sarcastic and pokes a lot of fun at Christian music. It also provides for some of the most thought provoking analysis of "christian" art and music.
I find this site especially interesting as it validates a lot of what I think...selfish I know...but we all identify best with people and things that are most like us. I have to say that I pretty much despise all radio, unless it is talk-radio...but Christian radio is quite possibly the worst. I realize that most Christians who are reading this are now thoroughly disappointed in me right now. But if you really think about what music is (an art form) and how current Christian music compares to not only the world's standard of art, but to the standard of excellent art that spans across history, it is a sad sad picture. And please don't get me started on Christian DJs.....yikes!!

I could go on and on but I'll spare you. I would, however, like to say that this analysis of what we call "Christian" music (which, if you read the title of this blog you'll understand why I have a problem with that term....semantics I know...but still an issue) makes me seriously consider what I do on a weekly basis. While I am securely convinced that musical worship is a God-given, God-honoring method by which we communicate our love, adoration, praise, love and devotion to God, I sometimes think we sacrifice content for our comfort. Consider the lyrics to the top 10 praise songs (and I suspect that your mind immediately goes to Chris Tomlin, as does mine) that you know, or that you may even sing at church. Is there any depth to those lyrics? Is there anything innovative about them? Any great truth communicated? Any affirmation about the character of God (other than he is "awesome")? The truth is that most songs are weak in content, repetitive, uninventive, even (dare-I-say) boring. And the bottom line is that it is just much easier to sing these types of songs. And while it is important to sing songs of joy and praise, sometimes we need to exchange those lyrics with words of confession, words of repentance, words about the intense, deep, hard-to-understand-and-impossible-to-communicate character of God. And can somebody please help me exchange my G-C-D progression for something a bit more complex...anybody?!?!?

I guess all I'm trying to say is that I am learning that art is not always an imperative statement, not always an answer to the question, not an end but a means if I can be so bold as to say that. And good art...God-honoring art cannot be lazy, one dimensional, boring, or easy. Think about great artists (I'm guessing that Chris Tomlin isn't the first person to pop in your mind this time right?!?!). Think about the pain-staking process that Michelangelo went through in painting the Sistine Chapel. Think about the method and the madness of Mozart's, Beethoven's, and Handel's composition, as they would lock themselves away for days, months, sometimes years to compose their great works. Each one not only worked tirelessly in their craft, but poured themselves into their work. If we, as Christians, are going to dabble in the arts, then let us not dabble only, but let us throw ourselves headlong into making something of worth to a God who deserves only the very best that we have to offer. Let us pour ourselves into God-honoring worship through the medium of the arts, no longer sacrificing quality for user-friendliness. And lets once again create that which the culture around us can no longer ignore, that which not only effects the world, but changes it.


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