When I was in high school, I was a musician more than anything and I’ve always loved music and (many) musicians. I played in symphonies for around a decade (percussion), but my real love was always rock and metal. I loved music and the whole Christian Rock/Metal scene, and in Northern British Columbia, that was a small scene. In the Prince George area, I knew everyone who was in any sort of Christian band, and I also was a music journalist for TuneTalk, a Christian music publication with single digit subscribers (though it eventually became associated with Syndicate, back when that C.M. mag was around for it’s 5 year run…or so…). I’ve written recently for HM Magazine (though hardly at all) and I’ve done stage work and concert promotion work off and on as well.
I’ve also been around the Christian music scene for around 25 years. My first Christian Rock tape was “Captured in Time in Space” by Petra, and I bought it in 1985. I remember when Stryper first came to Vancouver and I asked my mom if I could go (I was in third or fourth grade…she said no). I remember when H.M. was called Heaven’s Metal, and I remember when you could count all the “Christian Metal” bands on 10 fingers. I remember the “should we preach from the stage or not” controversy in the 90’s, and I remember when Tooth & Nail records started. I remember the day I first heard Stop the Bleeding and I went nuts, flipping through my bible for hours, figuring out what all the scripture references were talking about. I remember when Amy Grant divorced Gary Chapman and married Vince Gill. I remember when Whiteheart had their big scandal and when their roadie auditioned for vocals. I could go on and on, but I won’t. Needless to say, I’ve been around the Christian music scene for a long time, and I’ve been involved as a musician, journalist, roadie, stage hand, concert promoter, band manager, etc. Before I came to Seminary, one of the last things I did was work stage crew at a Def Leppard show! HA!
Either way, as I’ve been following the scene and getting some perspective during my time doing my MDiv at seminary, I’ve gotta wonder where the “Christian” part of “Christian music” went. It seems that the “worship” acts (Jeremy Camp, Deleriou5, David Crowder, etc.) are lyrically where the Christian Metal was back in the 90’s (i.e. Songs about Jesus, salvation, etc. but with way worse theology) and the popular level stuff has been so theologically reductionistic for years (not wanting to come across as preachy) that I’m struggling to think of a single Christian Rock band that has music somehow topically associated with the gospel. It seems that the ones who claim to be somewhat about the gospel are so “artistic” that their message is obscure. In fact, all the metal acts I know of seem so obscure I don’t know what they’re alluding to, all the rock acts are so ‘poseur goth’ that they’re almost nihlistic, and basically the entire scene seems to be theologically swimming in either charismatic experientialism (i.e. trying to make God “show up” so that unbelievers will experience God…however that works…?!?) or some form of “Schleiermacher meets McLaren meets Derrida meets Deepak” spirituality that doesn’t actually contain propositions or any sort of positive understanding and holds out “faith” as a concept detached from God’s promises in scripture.
Maybe it’s because, as far as I can tell, the majority of the Christian music scene is overrun by young, spiritually deceived or otherwise immature kids?
Maybe it’s because, as far as I can tell, the majority of the Christian music scene has fallen for a faulty theological foundation that the gospel is not, in it’s core, a proposition message about mankind, sin, Christ’s death and resurrection, repentance and salvation (hence there’s no preaching from the stage anymore…or anywhere else for that matter…)?
Maybe it’s because, as far as I can tell, the majority of the Christian music scene is basically a bunch of bands that emerge from seeker friendly charismatic or liberal churches?
Maybe it’s because, as far as I can tell, the majority of the Christian music scene contains people who wouldn’t be elder qualified in a church to teach, so they strike out on their own and find their own platform for ‘self expression’.
Some of these frustrations have come from reading various interviews in HM magazine over the past 2 years, and some of these frustrations have come from recently discovering Neal Morse (ex-Spock’s Beard) who is essentially a Jehovah’s Witness (holds that Jesus is the highest created being, at least from what I’ve read him say) and yet he writes some great prog-rock with lyrics that I would applaud coming from a Christian band who had orthodox understandings of God. Either way, there’s my rant.
Right now, I’m doing huge amounts of research on energy medicine and alternative medicine, so maybe I’ll post something about Reiki and applied kinesiology sometime. Either way, time to eat.
Until Next Time,
Lyndon, The Armchair “Annoyed about the sorry state of Christian music” Theologian, Unger