“Christian” infotainment

heavenly_choirFirst a disclaimer.

I am not a fan of CCM (Contemporary Christian Music). I do not read very much Christian fiction. I have read “The Shack” that’s about it.

I am a curmudgeonly baby-boomer.

My tastes are not the final arbiter of what is good or not. Listen to or read whatever you like.

OK.

Newsweek reported last July that Christian entertainment (music, books, tv and movies) has become a billion dollar industry.

CCM alone accounted for $747 million in sales or 7% of the entire American music industry and it’s growing.

Since I don’t listen to this music or buy these books I suppose it’s possible that some good music and writing has crept in. Actually, I don’t listen to music on the radio at all because radio in 2009 radio is horrible with just a few exceptions of roots based music.

So what is my problem?

First, the music is just not very good. I realize that the level of writing and musicianship has improved but it is still generally sub-par. I think that most CCM artists really want to be mainstream bands or singers. This is a broad stroke of the brush but I think that the music and the record speaks for itself.

Second, I detest the “Jesus is my best freind/boyfriend” genre. Jesus is Lord of the Universe, the Great I AM, The Word, the Alpha/Omega. You get the point.

Third, the chanting reminds me of my hippie days when we would hang out with the Krishnas while they chanted the same phrase over and over until they were in some kind of mindless bliss. Is this what we want as believers?

Alright, I know that when Charles Wesley and others were writing that the music was probably viewed as too far out and hip for the day. I get that. but, at least these hymns had some theological weight to them.

Just look to something that you might consider lightweight like “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”.

 

Hark! the herald angels sing, –
“Glory to the newborn King!”
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.”
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’ angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem.”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest heav’n adored:
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of the favored one.
Veil’d in flesh, the Godhead see;
Hail, th’incarnate Deity:
Pleased, as man, with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel!
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail! the heav’n-born Prince of peace!
Hail! the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die:
Born to raise the sone of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

The Incarnation, The Trinity, Salvation. Wow!

The literature I will leave for another day.

If any of you think you can turn me on to somebody who not only has something to say but in a compelling piece of music then by all means please do so.

Chrisitan entertainment has become BIG business. Just like the churches that support it. I’m sure they would have loved it in Laodicea.

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8 Comments on ““Christian” infotainment”

  1. Justin says:

    I’m no defender of the music biz (CCM or otherwise), but I think when it comes to music, if it helps you see God or brings you closer to him, somehow, I say dive in with both feet. An example: Eddie Van Halen is not usually described as “Christian” in any way (such might start a fight if he can get out of his wheelchair). But, when I listen to his work, it’s nothing short of miraculous. I believe God gave him a gift. Just because he won’t acknowledge it doesn’t mean I can’t and can’t be edified in the process.

    My dear grandmother loved the song “Old Rugged Cross”. I prefer Jars of Clay. To each his or her own, I say.

  2. Rob says:

    As I said above, I am not the arbiter of taste and indeed to each his own. It’s just my opinion. That and a dime will get you…..well, not much.

  3. Justin says:

    Speaking of the CCM biz… I remember a “worship minister” at a church I met with formerly. He had come out of the industry–left it cold turkey. He said he had come to love singing about God more that he loved God. When he came to his senses, he left. He went on to say that the “Christian” in CCM is only a label–a marketing tool–that it is no different than secular music industry, artistry and craftsmanship notwithstanding.

    I guess that leaves us free to take music on it’s worth and how we like it. Kind of freeing, yes?

  4. Rob says:

    Justin, I think you are exactly correct.

  5. ScottL says:

    No doubt the CCM industry has gone awry. It has become a business, and for many, a stepping stone to the mainstream. That, in and of itself, is not evil. But people are more interested in being hip and relevant than walking with God. I am not a legalist that says one always has to mention Jesus. But I am one that desires to see the body of Christ headed towards maturity. It’s hard to see it with a lot of the groups/bands.

    Yet, having been involved somewhat with the music scene of Christians, I do believe there are some really good groups and guys out there. Not knowing your tastes, I don’t know who to suggest to you, but I will put a few down and maybe you can download a song or two off iTunes.

    Switchfoot – good modern rock bank with real and thoughtful lyrics
    Jon Foreman – lead singer of Switchfoot, but doing an acoustic solo act
    Leeland – a younger worship leader with a band playing with him; beautiful stuff, especially first CD called Sound of Melodies
    Waterdeep and Don Chaffer – Don is a Bob Dylan-esque writer and musician; absolutely beautiful

  6. Rob says:

    Thaks, I’ll look into these acts.

  7. willohroots says:

    I like Bebo Norman.
    We are starting night church next Sun. I am going to all the old hymns. I miss them so much. When things get rough it is great to hum or sing ” old rugged cross”, who wants to sing “our love is loud” at a time like that!

  8. Rob says:

    I have listened to Waterdeep and Don Chaffer and I like it.
    My objection to CCM is that music itself is generally not very good.
    This is good.


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