Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christian "Art" (specifically, music)

This picture makes me laugh. It comes courtesy of my friend Sara, and it is of a memorial in Romania. "Cristian Pop" is the man's name, but add an "H" into his first name and it begins to relate to this blog post. Segue time!

Basically, Christian music, for the most part, is not a force to be reckoned with in an artistic sense. This, of course, is not to devalue worship music; The worship experience is extremely important. However, Psalm 96 says "Sing to the Lord a new song!" Not the same one with a different tune. Here's a little something to consider: Contemporary Christian music is the only genre of music that is categorized entirely by lyrical content. And it really goes nowhere from there. Christian music is written by Christians (obviously), about Christianity, for mostly Christians. While worship is an important part of music, we are also called to "go and make disciples." Oftentimes, non-Christians will tend to avoid over-Jesusy music, since it is based around a faith they do not know. We create a Christian bubble, and it is hard for others to get in. If, however, we sing about our Christian worldview, new possibilities can crop up. We are, of course, called to be "in the world, but not of the world." Our faith should affect everything in our lives, and we should acknowledge that in lyrics. It changes your thoughts on everything. You begin to see the world how God sees the world, and that should show in your lyrics. If a non-Christian person begins to see the world how you present it, they are beginning to adopt God's perspective, which could be an important step in bringing them closer to God.

My next gripe with the lack of artistic merit in Christian music is the music itself. Oftentimes, it is.......well, boring. Most Contemporary Christian music features a very simple melody with about 4 chords repeated over and over for 3 to 5 minutes. (Trust me, I'm a worship leader; I know, although I try to play more interesting songs while maintaining an attitude of worship.) These songs are not bad, and they are great for a worship environment, but in every other way they are boring. We are told to play our instruments "skillfully," not repetitively. Change it up a bit! This is why kids associate church with boredom! We write our music for God, so we should try our darnedest to do it well! Music is a language all it's own. Music can say a heck of a lot more than words sometimes. Our music shouldn't say "G, D, A minor, C," it should say " I love God and I wanna show it!" Instrumental music can often say a lot more to me than any lyrics; We need to make use of music's power!

My passions are art and God. I want to live my life for God, while reflecting that in my art. God can't be contained in 4 chords. We want to show people our hearts for God, as well as God's heart for the world, both lyrically and musically. I will close this blog with some lyrics by Thrice. Their music is experimental and artistic and just plain amazing, and their lyricist, Dustin Kensrue, presents his ideas on God subtly and beautifully.

Wood and Wire
14 years behind these bars,
In 12-foot square of cold cement.
I’ve lost nearly everything,
For a crime of which I’m innocent.

But all my suffering’s a light and momentary pain,
While the weight of an endless glory still remains to me.

A dead man walking down the hall,
To meet a mess of wood and wire.
They lead me where men fear to tread-
But towards the thing I most desire.

For all my suffering’s a light and momentary pain,
While the weight of an endless glory still remains.
Throw the switch son; I know you ain’t got a choice.
The dawn is coming; all is well, I will rejoice.

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