Monday, March 03, 2008

even christian muzak is sakred...sometimes

It is dangerous to label things "Christian". The word Christian first appears in the Bible as a noun. The first followers of Jesus were called Christians because they had devoted themselves to living the way of the Messiah, who they believed was Jesus. Noun. A person. A person who follows Jesus. A person living in tune with ultimate reality, God. A way of life centered around a person who lives. The problem with turning the noun into an adjective and then tacking it onto words is that it can create categories that limit the truth.... It is possible for music to be labelled Christian and be terrible music. It could lack creativity and inspiration. The lyrics could be recycled cliches. That "Christian" band could actually be giving Jesus a bad name because they aren't a great band. -Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis

God recently convicted me of not lisetening to enough "secular" music...


... even of not playing enough of it in church gatherings.


So I was blessed when some youth from church turned me onto a local "secular" station.


Almost everytime I turn to it I hear holy heartcries and Godhaunted psalms.

And some annoying and depressing fluff and cheap sex.

I was surprised that the cheesy and cheap music annoyed me even more than the same from "Christian music." I guess I expected more from the primary genre God seems to be speaking through nowadays ("secular" music).

In addition to hearing some "obvious" God-breathed anthems from tribesters like Linkin Park, U2, Creed, The Fray, Evanesence...I have encountered some intriguing songs..including one to "Delilah" that I

found refreshingly honest in its halftruth.

One of the intriguing differences I found is that some of the current pop lyrics and music sound hopeless. At least with Pink Floyd, let alone the psalms, lament carries a seed of hope.

St. Mike (the filmmaker who is Christian (Note: I didn't say "Christian filmmaker"... Rob Bell would approve!) wisely commented about a God-haunted/hunted band, the Smashing Pumpkins

I used to find it difficult to listen to their music because of the negativity. By the time Billy Corgan founded Zwan, he had decided that God wasn't to blame for his problems and he seemed to have begun an honest spiritual journey, even writing something akin to praise songs. Now I can listen to all of his music in both Zwan and Smashing Pumpkins because knowing that the darkness was merely a time before the dawn... it creates a beauty to the entire spectrum of his artistic expression. Now that I know his lamentations were leading up to a redemption.

Wow, if only the church could "do" lament...would it ever lead to redemption, renewal and revival. Also note: Jeff Schroeder, formerly with The Violet Burning, The Lassie Foundation and Michael Knott's now a member of the Smashing Pumpkins.

Yes, Jeff is Christian.

Don't even ask if his new band is.

All that to say, I am trying to stay tuned into Jesus, and hunger for the Kingdom.

The whole genre thing is crazy anyway. Jon Foreman of Switchfoot famously quipped, "We are Christian by faith, not genre." I have made the case elsewhere that there is no such thing as Christian music.

Either that or it all is.

Rob Bell again:

I was playing in a punk band a few years ago, an we were playing clubs and bars and festivals and parties. People would regularly ask us if we were a Christan band when they found out I was a pastor. I always found the question a bit odd. When you meet a plumber, do you ask him if he is a Christian plumber? I realize why now I chafed against the question... "Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus." He is teaching people to live as Christians, and then whatever they do will be sacred, holy work. Music already is worship. Music is praise. Music is sacred. Music is good. Creation doesn't need a label to make it sacred or acceptable or blessed. When God made the world, God called it "good". Now obviously anything can be corrupted and desecrated and used for purposes other than those which God intends, but making music is sacred enough. Paul put it like this, "For everything God created is good."...This is why it is impossible for a Christian to have a secular job. If you follow Jesus and you are doing what you do in His name, then it is no lo
nger secular work; it's sacred. You are there; God is there. The difference is our awareness.
-Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis

You may enjoy the dialogue embedded in a conversation on our forum here. It is very telling of the times and the great divide. In the discussion I commented "Thank God that Ken reads 'Rolling Stone.'

Ken is one of the elder elders of our church. In the post he had done some great homework about Jimi Hendrix's "Jesus lyrics."

"I do not thank God that Ken reads Rolling Stone," shot back a well-meaning former member of our church.

Yet I would not/could not have an elder elder in our church who did not at least occasionally read Rolling Stone; so as to be in touch with the Godlongings and psalms out there is the "secular"..uh, "sacred,"...uh, real world.

Even when some of the songs suck even more than bad "Christian" songs.

Forgive me.

There is no spoon.

Mark Driscoll is right :

"Church buildings are sacred... everything else."

Ahem, now about that other church member of ours who apparently has been reading Penthouse magazine (evidence)..
..and the other who commented on the Sports Illustrated softporn swimsuit issue..

I hope it's just for the articles...


  1. Ahh, the Floyd. Some of the most depressing lyrics. But the guitar work of Gilmore fills my heart with joy. An odd conumdrum I find myself in when listening ...

  2. exactly! must do in moderation


Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!