My motivation for writing this comes from something that happened at work this week and comments made on a couple of my posts this week. (See: KJV Only, Rock Music and Other Rants and What I Believe). I want to begin with that I love music. My dad was a DJ and minister of music. For many years my mom was either the church pianist or organist. I grew up in a house filled with music. My dad enjoyed classical and jazz among other things. My mom’s tastes are more classical or worship music. Currently, my iPod has a selection from GNR to Handel. For more about my musical tastes check out: Some Musicians You Should Check Out, Top 10: Favorite Bands, Top 10: Favorite Artist/Musician, Concerts I’ve Been To, Concerts Part II. I am a Gen-Xer and a part of the MTV generation. I have had my own personal entertainment system (ie radio, tape player, CD, etc) since I was a baby. Music has always played an important part of my life. So this is a sort of random collections about thoughts I have regarding music.
On Music in Church
First, I love hymns. Some of my favorite songs are hymns. I grew up in a Baptist church. Baptists are non-creedal, that means Baptists have had an aversion to creeds. Historically, Baptists have used hymns to transmit theology. The theology found in hymns is often missing in our modern worship music. According, to my dad a true hymn only mentions God and praise to God there is no mention of humans therefore most songs labeled hymns are not hymns.
Second, I love modern worship music. I like that it is usually upbeat and is easy to sing. My favorites are the more simplistic ones that are essentially scripture set to music.
I think using a live praise band is great. Drummers and guitarist should be given the opportunity to use their God given talents in church. For many years, I attended a church with a full orchestra. Many hymns have kicking bass, low brass and timpani lines. I also enjoy hearing a good organ as well.
I am pro-music in worship services. I want a variety of styles and lots of music.
On Christian Rock, Alternative, Punk and Rap
Music is music. It is neither good nor bad; rather it is what humans do with music that makes it bad. John and Charles Wesley used the tunes from drinking songs for hymns. Why? Because that was the music the people were familiar with, could relate to and liked. Even our own National Anthem was set to the tune of a drinking song. Before you slam Christian rock, alternative, punk or rap music take sometime to check out the music. Read the lyrics.
I really like Flame, The Ambassador, Da T.R.U.T.H. and the other guys from Cross Movement. Many of them have theology degrees and their music is much often much deeper than a lot of Adult Contemporary and Southern Gospel. When was the last time your heard a Southern Gospel Song discussing Hermeneutics? One of the first things I do with a new CD is to read the lyrics of the songs. No matter how good it sounds I believe the content of the songs is more important. What is the message the artist’s is sending?
One of the reason’s I really liked Rich Mullins and his music was his lifestyle. He was an average singer but a brilliant song writer. Mullins was about ministry. He had a reputation for being real and humble. If you aren’t familiar Mullins music or even if you are you can check out his music at Calling Out Your Name.
One last thought on Christian, rap, rock, alternative and punk music God has changed my standards but not necessarily my tastes. I still like rock and alternative but I just don’t want the junk any more.
More Thoughts On Music
While you may or may not like or even agree with any of the music I like that is fine. Don’t be so quick to condemn an entire genre of music because it doesn’t “look Christian”. What exactly does a Christian look like? I mean can you actually tell that someone is a Christian by the way the look? Is everyone that looks like a Christian really a Christian? There have been some cases of well—known Christian artists that “looked Christian” but got caught in some very un-Christian behaviors. Rather than judge an artists or group by their outward appearance examine their music, lifestyle and ministry first.