10 November 2004

Here is another digression...

I've been interested in how exactly to jump back into the music world, so to speak...and I've been considering opportunities and talking with a few people on the matter. One thing I was thinking about is some Christian musicians' mindset that secular music is *inherently* bad, as is playing such music. While I applaud the sentiment of wanting to dedicate one's talents to ministry, and share the sentiment myself, I find a kind of hypocrisy there. Should Christians who have skill as painters only paint nativity scenes? Should Christians who have skill as writers only write about theology? Should Christians who have skill as plumbers only service toilets in Christian homes? I'm a fan of jazz music, and I've played in a couple jazz groups. The music we played was improvisational and instrumental. No lyrics, no message, nothing. It was just music, perhaps not edifying in any way more than being pleasing to the ears of jazzers in the audience, but it was a great experience. Like I said, if a man wants to paint for a living, he'll have a hard time finding enough work if he obstinately adheres to a dogma where he will only paint religious subjects. While I'm not advocating at all an embrace of "sex drugs and rocknroll", I'm just saying we as Christians should examine this stuff objectively and honestly. Some Christian musicians get so caught up in using their music as a tool to deliver the Gospel in an easy to swallow package. They concentrate so much on the practical effect, on the message to get across through lyrics, that they lose sight of why someone would want to listen to music in the first place. (Caveat, I'm not one of those people who has ever gotten much from lyrics, I'm definately more a music guy.) If you concentrate on aping popular styles of music and injecting a Christian message into it, it seems more like marketing than music. Keep in mind the composers centuries ago who would dedicate wordless symphonies to God. Their works were designed to reflect the beauty and awe of God and His creation. All without words. As far as I know none of them ever rhymed "strife" with "life". Yes, I know some of you Christian songwriters know exactly what I am talking about. But that is what motivates me. I detest marketing and never want to use music that way. I want it first and foremost to be excellent. I, again, detest the notion that we as Christians should accept wimpy, watered down, lame caricatures of what secular musicians are doing, Christian remixes if you will. It's like low-fat ice cream. It tastes bad but its good for you. Why eat it then? What is the point of ice cream if it tastes bad? What is the point of music if it sounds bad? If you just want to deliver a message, write it down into a book and have it published, don't layer on a cheesy pop soundtrack over it and call it contemporary Christian music. I'm all riled up, I admit, as I find it agregiously irritating for a lot of the mindless tripe that is recorded out there to be labelled "Christian". Remember what and who we represent!!! Strive for excellence, Brothers, and above all do not allow yourself to settle for tepid, mediocre mock-music if you dare do it in His name!

That said, I suppose there are a lot of people out there who are very genuinely aspiring to glorify Him, not just in a strategic marketing sort of way, and maybe they just haven't developed as songwriters. What can I say, I'm a picky elitist, that is a flaw of mine. However, He isn't, and that sort of joyful noise isn't impeded by what I might consider to be pathetic writing.

Rant over. Have a wonderful day.

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