Monday, February 27, 2006

some thoughts on christian music...

I've been listening to Derek Webb's new CD Mockingbird over the past month. It is an incredible project. While I may not agree with him on some of the songs, the lyrics of the songs are crafted very well. Ranging from love songs to social ministries to Lordship to political commentary, it could pretty much offend most people on a variety of levels. Rich Young Ruler, the fifth track, is probably my favorite. I think musically and lyrically it is the most poignant and thought provoking song no the album.

Working in a Christian bookstore, though, has proven interesting because of Webb's CD. I displayed in prominently on an endcap and one of the managers took it down and refused to even put it on the shelf. His reasoning: it's not Christian. "There's nothing worshipful or Christian in this whole CD" he said in his Eastern Tennessee accent. This led to a discussion on what makes something Christian, especially in regards to music and books. He would lean closer to the view that something must be explicitly and visibly gospel-centered.

My thinking, conversely, is that if the music is not blasphemous in its message or the content of the book is not blasphemous, then it could be considered Christian. A Christian who writes long songs should be carried in a Christian bookstore; after all, does the love relationship between a man and women not reflect the love relationship between Christ and His Bride? Songs about depression, hardship, politics or many other things can be Christian (heck, read the Psalms!). We are so careful to narrow what could be called Christian, it must have an explicit reference to God, Christ, etc. It seems, to a point, that we'll listen to anything Christian, regardless of quality or substance, as long as it has "christian" lyrics. This has led to many badly written songs and books with people who seem to have little or no talent and, at times, are not even attempting to glorify God in any way, shape or form.

Wow...I really didn't mean to rant and rave this long. Pent up frustration, I guess. On a bright side Plumb's new album just released and it is actually pretty good. The vocals are incredible and the songwriting is much deeper than ever. If I were you, and I know I'm not, I'd check it out.

I'll leave you with the lyrics from my favorite track on Webb's new album. Enjoy.

until Christ is formed in us...

Rich Young Ruler

Derek Webb

poverty is so hard to see
when it’s only on your tv and twenty miles across town
where we’re all living so good
that we moved out of Jesus’ neighborhood
where he’s hungry and not feeling so good
from going through our trash
he says, more than just your cash and coin
i want your time, i want your voice
i want the things you just can’t give me

so what must we do
here in the west we want to follow you
we speak the language and we keep all the rules
even a few we made up
come on and follow me
but sell your house, sell your suv
sell your stocks, sell your security
and give it to the poor
what is this, hey what’s the deal
i don’t sleep around and i don’t steal
i want the things you just can’t give me

because what you do to the least of these
my brother’s, you have done it to me
because i want the things you just can’t give me

1 comment:

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