Christian music does suck…

September 19, 2008

Christian Music Sucks

So that might be slightly presumptuous to make a blanket statement to say that all Christian music sucks, however for me, as I peruse “Christian and Gospel” section of the iTunes store I am utterly/shockingly disappointed.

Where is the creativity? Where is the originality, the authenticity and the artistic integrity? God can save me from hell, but can he save me from Christian music?

As an artist I am hesitant to discount any creative endeavor as “sucky”. Good music, like a good painting is in the eye of the person viewing said art, or in this case listening the cut.

Moreover though, I would go as far to say that over the years my own musical pallet and overall musical understanding has grown and there-for looking at (or listening to) Christian music as a whole, I can pretty much conclude that it pretty much blows.

Or maybe it’s like this; to the extent you like, or dislike a piece of music is solely dependent on your understanding of what truly great and creative music is.

For instance, if you grew up listening to old Porter Wagner records and, let’s say as a 34 year old rock virgin you heard Britney Spears or maybe David Hasselhoff’s single ‘Hooked on a feeling’ you might think it’s amazing. Your conclusion (what good music is) might in this case be somewhat justified due to your narrow musical field of vision.

When I was fourteen I decided to step into a relationship with Jesus Christ. It was a big deal, I really enjoyed my young faith community and I was eager to acclimate to the culture of the group.

There was a fall night of my freshman year where one of the youth pastors presented this message about music and it’s influences on our relationship with God. He said things like, “There is so much good Christian music out there, and there is no reason to listen to secular music.”

That night we had something they called a sin burn where I proceeded to burn all of my secular music. Strangely enough my older brother who was in college at the time, had me hooked on eighties music. I through disk after disk of such bands as Depeche Mode, The Smith’s, The Cars and I watched them melt before my very eyes.

To me it didn’t matter, to me this was holiness. I was separating myself from the world and listening to music that glorified God. With every wiff of burning plastic, I could sense that God was smiling in approval.

In lieu of Polygon Window and Beck, I started listening to DC Talk, OC Supertones and Audio Adrenaline. At the time I loved these bands, I loved them because my friends loved them. I memorized the lyrics, I learned to play covers on the acoustic – Christian music was my ticket into Christian community.

My dad almost cried when he heard what I was playing out of my old Sony stereo system that had been past down from my two older brothers. Instead of blaring Pink Floyd or Hendrix these old 12 inch speakers were now amplifying ‘I Don’t Want It’ – a song by DC Talk that was all about the sin of premarital sex.

I was raised in a very musical family. My parents always had really great music playing growing up. From John Coltrane to the Stray Cats, from Mozart to Huey Lewis, we always had music on and you could imagine the shock of my family when I started listening to worship albums.

It’s a phase they said.

And after about eleven years of denial of said phase, I am ready to admit that I think Christian Music Sucks.

It is my belief that Christian music is just another way for Christians to escape culture and indulge in the spiritual masturbation that is Christian pop culture.

As Christians, we should be the most creative people on the planet. My pastor Erwin McManus whom greatly look up to — when talking about church relevancy says this, “I am sick and tired of being relevant, relevant means that someone else got their first and I am trying to connect, we need to stop being relevant and start leading the way.”

The music that represents God should be the best music on the planet. The music that is represented by His bride here on earth should be music that the world stops and listens to and wonders where such art comes from.

I sometimes get the idea that Christians think that heaven will be one big Chris Tomlin concert, or Michael W. Smith concert, or Bill Gaither concert. We love our music don’t we, we love our music so much that we develop Christian radio stations, start Christian record labels, open Christian bookstores to sell only Christian music and attend Christian concerts where only Christians attend and only Christian bands are allowed to play.

I want to know of the latest and best music out there right now, not because I want to be cool or hip, but because I want to know the culture that God has placed me in. Music is a creative expression of where people are at, what they are saying and how they are feeling. We have a great tool to understanding the minds of those whom we are called to reach — it’s called an indie music store.

Show me a Christian who only listens to Christian music, and I’ll show you a Christian who has lost touch with the culture in which we are commanded to reach.

For a biblical understanding of what I am talking about, read Acts 17. Paul observes and learns the culture in which he engages. He quotes the culture’s poetry back to the philosophers and intellectuals at Mars Hill.

Paul was a rocker, and so am I.


5 Responses to “Christian music does suck…”

  1. Josh said

    great writing bro. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  2. Dan said

    You should check it out House of Heroes. They are very creative and don’t suck!

  3. Musician said

    seriously, i don’t see how you CCM supporters can even imagine what good music sounds like, with all of the bad music you listen to…compared to people like John Coltrane, Clifford Brown, Thelonious monk, Stravinsky, Moller, Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Handel, etc, contemporary so-called Christian music is trash.

  4. Steve said

    Wow! Hey, check my stuff out and tell me if I suck too. 🙂 I gotta know!!!!!!


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