Keeping it 100: An Honest Critique of Christian Music
To start off, it is my firm belief that Christian music sucks.
There you have it.
Now that I have cut to the chase you can disregard this blog and move on to the next. But before you frantically exit this window- let me explain: Christian music sucks because the popular definition of Christian music often feels one dimensional in content. It is often, too clean, and too perfect- not at all a true reflection of an everyday Christian’s human struggles and walk of faith.
Among my list of woes, Christian music also lacks:
Variety of subject matter
New and creative music compositions
I also believe that the term “Christian music” is much too small, and even a bit awkward: By defining oneself in such a small box, many neglect to address the vastness of Christian faith. I think Christian musician Derek Webb was spot on when he said: “A lot of what I see coming out of the church in terms of Christian music unfortunately deals in probably the most spiritual 2 percent of life and culture. And yet, the Bible gives us a framework and a language to deal with all 100 percent of stuff that we come up against in life. So it’s no wonder when people look at the art that comes out of the church in Christian music on the whole, that they see Christianity as this one-dimensional, irrelevant worldview to modern life that only deals with transcendent moments of worship and the afterlife.”
And Derek web is not the only one taking notice.
Rapper, Dereck Minor satirizes this claim to perfection that many Christians associate with in his song Lost in Minorville.
On a personal note, I often feel that there is more truth and “realness” in secular music than “Christian Music”. Yes there may be a cuss word here and there, but there is an untold realness of experience. Pain, imperfection, struggles hopes and dreams are all brought to the table without a filter. And I believe “Christian music can learn a thing or two from this. Listen to these words from a secular artist, and you’ll, probably still view Christian themes:
I wonder will the eyes of the Lord look at me?
Look at me, look at me, I’m a loser, I’m a winner
I’m good, I’m bad, I’m a Christian, I’m a sinner
I’m humble, I’m loud, I’m righteous, I’m a killer
What I’m doing, I’m saying that I’m human. –Kendrick Lamar
But let me not pretend that all “Christian” music is awful. It can have many great aspects:
Message of Hope
Alternative to prayer/meditation
Even a few emerging artists, that also happen to be Christian, give me hope. For example J. Givens with his organically urban album entitled El V. ENVY. Whenever I listen to him my first thought is not “this is “Christian music!”, but that it is good music. It is relevant and it is real. The creative element does not suffer from the content, it is just good sound all around. And I personally feel this is the way it should be. Explicitly Christian music has its place, but I feel that it is also okay to not necessarily drop the C (Christ), G (God) or Christianese bomb every 5 seconds. Those words are not merely place holders. And after all, isn’t Christianity more of a walk then a talk? We don’t necessarily have to include these words to have a Christian song. Christianity is a lifestyle, not a lingo.
In my opinion truth is where you choose to view it. And I believe that by searching for truth in the sometimes-narrow frame of “Christian music” many of us miss out on a myriad of truths and perspective that just might inform and enhance our own faith (If viewed correctly).
That is, if we have the maturity to do so.