It is so turned around these days.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

OK....What have we learned?

If you like:

Then you will LOVE:

This is "Plus One" by the way. Remember them?

Well, if you have been reading last weeks posts about "Ark" culture, this is where I would love to hear some feedback. I think it comes down to one word. Relevance: Christians, it seems, are putting a lot of effort and energy into being relevant. But when you step back and look at the gospel, it totally opposes the idea of relevance. The basic message of God’s love has never changed but yet we feel the need to dress it up in cool clothes, trendy music. And for what purpose? To make to make the message more appealing. Are you kidding me? The greatest message of our time needs to be dressed up? Made relevant? What really blows my mind is that we (Christians) are the ones who claim to know the Creator. One would then assume that our ability to create would have the upper hand. Christians “should” be the ones pioneering creativity in all aspects of culture ESPECIALLY art!! What I find in Christian art (especially music) is a sense of inhibition not found in the mainstream. No one is taking the risks that make themselves vulnerable like they do in the mainstream. Imitation is safe. In an effort to maintain a sense of cool or relevance we start to follow the trends of the day. Rock bands portraying angst when there is none. Pop acts trying to sell sex when there is none. Ultimately following the secular world’s lead with cheap knock offs. Never has the term “Holy Shit” been more appropriate. Yet, I find Southern Gospel music in all of its campy cheesiness more and more appealing. I like it because it doesn’t hide the fact that it is not cool. I mean let’s face it 90% of what is available as Christian media is shabby at best. The other 10% that is good art is not successful because, at its heart, it is real. It addresses real issues in honest language. For some reason that doesn’t fly as “marketable” in the Christian sub-culture. How messed up is that? What a conundrum Christian parents are in. We want to shelter our kids from the filth from the mainstream but yet the alternative is sanitized crap. I admit, I am jaded from my experience in the CCM world. I don’t listen to “Christian” music. When driving I don’t have the slightest inclination to turn on Christian radio. In fact I rarely listen to some of my close friends whom I consider to be in the 10%. I get more out of hymns lately. How relevant are those?


At 12:15 PM, Anonymous ar hopp said...

These posts have been good – thanks for making them available. My love and I entered into quite a lengthy discussion on this stuff. A lot of this was painful to read. One thing to remember: we’re all influenced. When we create, our creation (whether it’s a book, painting, or song) is the blended sum of what we’ve experienced and who we are, so some nods to other art are inevitable. What I begin to have a problem with is the deliberate mimicry in order to make a buck. A bigger issue than that is that the holy crap is being manufactured, pedaled, and distributed in order to sell Jesus. I’m reminded of the moneychangers in the temple. It’s no longer art. It’s laughable, and I think, an abomination to the LORD. I believe you’ve hit the nail on the head, mister sir, when you say that followers of Christ should lead the way in the arts. I’ve got a lot more to say on this subject but I’m about out of ink. And by the way, if you’ve not already read it, may I recommend “Blue Like Jazz” - hopper

At 1:00 PM, Blogger BJ Aberle said...

I am not saying that we can't wear our influences on our sleeves. We just need to create with out fear. Kirn point's out "if I'm gonna waste my life watching TV and listening to music and entertaining myself, I may as well save my soul while I'm at it." We no longer need to renew our minds, just change the stuff that's going in it. Blue Like Jazz is an amazing book. I love the "Space suite" story....very powerful. May I recommend Total Truth. It has totaly quelled my existence in Christian mediocrity.

At 10:12 AM, Blogger JasonS said...

"I bid you come and die," as Oswald Chambers put it, is kinda tough to put in a jingle, you know?

How shallow and pathetic we make the truth. I think the principle problem is our isolationist mentality. The western church has worked so hard, for so long, to build cultural walls for itself, that it now finds itself needing to become relevant.

And right on about the art. Reminds me of Francis Schaeffer's "How Should We Then Live." Art influences everything about our (and every) culture. We should be leading the charge artistically, not sucking the dust of others.

Thanks for the killer posts.

At 12:06 PM, Blogger Clint Wells said...

I resonate pretty strongly with this post. The problem, I think, with popular christian music is the pressure to be explicit. And then within that mandate there is a pressure for the art to be explicitley uplifting. The gospel isn't so one-sided. There is an offense and a scandal that comes along with the gospel that won't win dove awards and be featured on the cover of CCM Magazine.

I think any music that suffers from being so explicit will ultimately be shit. I think popular Christian music takes the brunt of that disdain because it's easier to see...because most of it is so bad.

What's been blowing my mind in the past few years is how much I connect with artists who are ambiguous about their faith. Patty Griffin, Daniel Lanois, Bob Dylan, etc. How I've learned that creating art for the sake of creating is glorifying to God. And how everyone has an inherant worth by being made in His that any good art is credible. Explicit or not.

I don't have enough to time to talk as much as I want about the hymns. I'm lucky to a part of a church community (Red Mountain Chuch) that is dedicated to preserving the hymns in our worship. They have brought me so much joy.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger C. J. Summers said...

I think I know what you're getting at when you talk about the music being explicit. It's almost like there's a quota for how many times you say "Jesus." But on the other hand, I think you can be explicit and good -- for example, look at Keith Green's music. I've been a fan of his forever. His music didn't sound like anyone else's -- it was creative and explicit, yet authentic. When you hear "My Eyes Are Dry" or "Until That Final Day," you know he wasn't just writing a jingle to pay the bills. He lived every word of it.


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