More on Christian music: Sacred or Secular


After my post & Facebook discussion the other day about Christian music, I found this article from Relevant Magazine. I love what the author says about worship. It speaks to my own experiences of being out on my patio on a summer evening, blasting Mumford & Sons, Dave Matthews or Coldplay while a campfire crackles in the firepit.

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2 thoughts on “More on Christian music: Sacred or Secular

  1. Now this is something I can get behind. I can understand the discomfort with what Liz Riggs called “the bright and shiny emotions we feel about God” because they’re only part of the story. Pain, brokenness, struggle and doubt are part of it as well, and they’re emotions we all deal with at some point or another. Accepting Christ doesn’t mean a life will magically and instantly become better and stay that way forever. It IS better, of course, but we’re human and imperfect and sometimes the darn road just gets bumpy.

    I think the Relevant article you linked here offers better insight than the post written by Matt Papa. He just seemed so condescending and off-putting, even though I can agree that the cookie-cutter state of the music industry (and I’m talking just about all modern mainstream stuff, from CCM to country to pop and even rock. I listen to a lot of country music and if I hear one more song about a back road, sweet tea or Mason jars I just might hurl!).

    I hope this doesn’t make me seem dense, but I’d love for you to elaborate on your thoughts about
    Christian music needing to be more theologically based. I guess I’m wondering about the extent — should all Christian music lyrics be lifted straight from the Bible? Or are we just talking about the “shiny happy” stuff not going deeply enough into the faith and a true relationship with Jesus?

    This is a fun discussion!

    • Thanks for the reply Jennifer…When I talk about theology in music, I’m not necessarily talking about lyrics lifted straight from scripture so much as lyrics that express a true understanding of who Jesus is, of God’s identity, and of our relationship to him. Unfortunately a lot of the typical Christian radio fare doesn’t portray that relationship accurately and so commuicates a “self-help” kind of message that is not really true to the gospel.

      I love the theological implications of the Mumford & Sons clip I posted…That yearning for something beyond the self. If you’ve listened to that whole album, it’s like something straight out of the Psalms or Lamentations. U2’s “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” is one of the most amazing worship albums ever recorded (compare “City of Blinding Lights” to Rev. 21!). On the “Christian” side, Switchfoot’s last two albums — “Hello Hurricane” and “Vice Verses” take on really rich theological metaphors that express a really clear understanding of exile and exodus and redemption. Chris Tomlin’s songs are more directly expressive (i.e., more direct praise & less metaphor), but they are all about worshipping God for who he is, rather than for what he can do for us. I saw a quote from Tim Keller once that went something like, “Don’t obey God to get things; obey God to get God.”

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