Monday, March 31, 2008

The Infallibility of Christian Music

Lately, I have been bothered while listening to Christian radio. To me, some songs sound flippant as they reference Jesus or God - not necessarily the lyrics on their own, but the way that they're sung. I have been over and over this in my head, trying to come to conclusions about whether music in itself can be "sinful" or "wrong", and also trying to be careful not to judge the Christian artists who are singing these songs. I don't know their hearts, I don't know whether they are entering into the spirit of worship or not, and I don't want to make that judgement. However, I also think that Christian music, as long as the lyrics aren't heretical, has been given license to become anything under the sun in the name of God-given creativity. Can we, as sinful beings, really be infallible in this area? Is it possible that there is no "wrong" music? Am I imagining this flippancy - and even sometimes what sounds like a provocative/sensual sound imitating current pop trends - or is this one of those areas that is left up to our own personal convictions? I tend to like things cut-and-dried - this is wrong, this is right. But maybe this issue cannot be one or the other. Any opinions?

3 comments:

Sean said...

Dolly Parton sang a song about Jesus on the American Idol results show last night.

Anonymous said...

Many of the hymns we still sing by Luther and would not only be called and imitation of 'pop trends', but they were the actual tunes sung in bars.
I don't know what, if any, songs are sung in bars today. But I can't imagine or advocate singing Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs of worship to the refrains of Metallica.
I think we can and should be creative and that when we analyze music from different eras, i.e. Heavy Metal & Baroque, there are some basic similarities.
I guess the main thing that irritates me with today's 'pop Christian' music is the lack of lyrical substance. After awhile it sounds like frosting and water to me rather than the meat of true orthodox faith expressed through song.
This may not be cut and dried and we may each have to make biblical convictions and live by them. Maybe what it flippant to us isn't to someone else who is on a unique journey to maturity in Christ. Sarah is right in my opinion that since we don't know the heart of a given artist it is probably safest to withold judgment. Quite possibly that is why the whole body of Christ is made up of many parts, so that we would together reach fullness and unity in Christ.
We should aspire to music that reflects the character of an Awesome, Holy, Righteous, Eternal, Omnipotent God (and the list could and should go on and on) and honors him above all else.

Sarah said...

I agree with you on the lyrics. However, I do want to say that there are two different "genres" within the genre of Christian music, to my way of thinking anyway. One would be where the goal of the singer is to proclaim the name of Christ and all He has done, who He is, etc. The other is a more personal worship of the music creator, much like David in many of the psalms. Sometimes they get kind of repetitive too. It's not less worship, I don't think, but just less "meat" as you say, due to the more personal nature of the song. I think that if Jesus was to all of a sudden appear before me, I would be very repetitive in my awe-filled worship. There are definitely Christian artists out there who write lyrics with incredible "meat" to them. I will say that I think worship leaders in the church dismiss many of these on the grounds that it's so wordy or melodically just not a good worship chorus to easily pick up in one Sunday church service. Maybe I'm way off base here, but it seems that maybe worship leaders are caring too much about what the people want, what the people think, how the people desire to worship, rather than teaching the people to worship - Teaching them should be their primary job.
On a different note (so to speak) Creativity is a God-given gift, that, like all other gifts, Satan seeks to corrupt. How can we be wise with this in the area of Christian pop music? I totally agree that while some music resonates with me as being incredibly God-honoring and worshipful, another song that doesn't "do it for me" will have that effect on someone else. It's the wonderful part of being unique individuals in Christ, all on our own unique spiritual journey. It's a difficult area.
Hope you can understand my ramblings:)