Christian Music and the Church
The predominance of Christian culture and the lack of persecution are clues about the Church in America. I would hazard to guess that the majority of “Christians” are nominal Christians who are more concerned with the American way of life than Christianity. A nominal Christian is usually someone who is in the church and either does not really believe what is preached, or thinks that they truly believe but truly do not. Not only does the church appear to be firmly entrenched in the American western way, but it has also made the worship service into an emotional experience. No one and no church is perfect, but the Church in America could improve. Nominal Christianity and emotionalism have ruined Christian media for me.
Christian music is a fairly popular subject of debate, and frankly I cannot stand Christian music, save for hymns, Gregorian chants, and gospel music. There are two spheres of Christian music I wish to discuss, worship music and contemporary Christian music. I will start with worship music. I have noticed an interesting shift in focus in services between those churches that use a lectionary and those who do not. It seems as though contemporary evangelical services use worship music as a way to inspire a feeling of worship. Those churches that use a lectionary seem to do things as worship, such as kneeling, the use of call and responses, and communion. In these churches, the “feeling” of worship is a side effect. While at their base, contemporary worship songs are sung as worship, the dimmed lights, synth pad, and wording of songs leads one to think that a feeling is the end goal. A good amount of the time the lyrics of worship music are very cheap. Contemporary worship songs seem to hold the idea that in order to worship God, one needs to feel something. Emotions are fleeting and temporary, thus I do not want to have the corporate expression of my faith based in emotion. This is not to say that people cannot worship through contemporary worship songs, I just believe there is a better way to worship. However, worship is all about one’s heart with God, thus to each their own.
There is a fantastic South Park episode about contemporary Christian music. As the episode Christian Hard Rock goes, Eric Cartman rewrites non-Christian songs as Christian songs by “replacing baby and Darling with Jesus”. As evidenced by Tim Lambesis, the ex As I lay Dying lead singer, terrible people are willing to put on a front in order to make easy money. Tim Lambesis was sent to jail for conspiring to have his wife murdered. The band themselves stated that around one in ten bands they toured with were legitimately Christian. It would appear that anyone can write music, label it Christian, and Christians will rush to buy it. But, there is a benefit to listening to this music even if it is written by psychopaths. This benefit being that one hears a good message free of swearing.
Overall there is nothing for me in Christian media. Christian media is the product of a larger warped Christian culture where we have sacrificed the strength of worship for the weakness of emotion and nominal Christianity. I am disappointed by the simply worded songs that are used to evoke an emotional response. The empty music written by people who may or may not really be Christians is just as repulsive to me. Yet, I am being too harsh. A great many who are true Christians truly worship God through contemporary worship music. They are also helped through hard times by contemporary Christian music. Also, Christian music provides Christians with wholesome songs free of filth. I, however, refuse to conform, I’ll stick to my Gregorian chants, hymns, and devil music.