Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Christian Music

Please, nobody get me wrong by what I'm about to say. I'm a Christian, no question. Have been my whole life (including a few bouts of doubt and thinking, "What if all this is just a bunch of crap?").

When I was a teenager, all I listened to was Christian music. They've got pop and alternative and so many cool bands. Even now when I go back and listen to it, I enjoy it (although the "True Love Waits" type lyrics seem a little outdated for me, being a married woman. Singing, "I don't want sex" is a blatant lie.)

Recently, I listened to some new music by some CCM artists I used to enjoy. I thought maybe they'd kept up with the times and they might be even better than I remembered. NO! They in fact suck. Did you know that with three guitar chords and the following list of words, you can write a Christian "pop" song?

  • Lord
  • Savior
  • Generation
  • Majesty
  • King
  • Tremble
  • Reign
  • Kingdom
  • Love (as a proper noun)
  • Glory
  • Jesus
  • Power
  • Perfect
  • Praise
  • Magnify
  • Adore
  • Lift (as in "We lift our voices and praise Your perfect sacrifice")
  • Bow
  • God
  • Glorify
  • Faith
  • Prayer
  • Sacrifice
  • Save
  • High (as in "Lord, we magnify and adore You and lift Your holy name on high")
  • Name
  • Holy
  • You, Yours, Him, His, etc (capitalized pronoun, referring to God... always makes me think I have to read it in italic, with extra special emphasis.)
Seriously, don't get me wrong. I love a well-written Christian song with lyrics that make me think. But I hate songs that make me sigh in frustration at hearing the same words over and over -- they don't mean anything. Just a string of cliches (and my writer friends know you need to stay away from cliches!).

For an example of something good, I enjoy Keith Green. He would reach right down into something very personal and then write a song. This is my favorite:

"Lord, I remember that special way I vowed to serve you when it was brand new. But like Peter, I can't even watch and pray one hour with you. And I'll bet I could deny you, too."
Wow, that's a difficult thing to confess, but it's right there inside us all. That's the kind of thing that stays with you, that you think about all day. Interchanging words from the above list might be alright -- and if I'm in a worship service and the leader pulls out one of these bad boys, it's all well and good (though I do prefer the older hymns). We're singing to God, not to entertain ourselves ... but when I put on a CD (or dial it up on my iPod, rather), I am listening to it for me, and I'd like to get more out of it than 3 chords and half a dozen words (repeated for 7 minutes).

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