Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What is Christian Music? What is a Christian band?

About five months ago, back when I had a Facebook, I wrote a blog entry there that basically announced I was getting rid of my secular music and owning only Christian music. For a while everything was fine and I didn't run into any problems. After time had passed and things had settled down, after telling people that I don't miss Facebook and don't regret leaving; I began to run into a few points of confusion. Here's the situation:

The question, "What is Christian music?" may sound a bit ridiculous to you if you're the kind of person who sees it as a very black and white issue. There's Steven Curtis Chapman and then there's Marilyn Manson, right? Well, unfortunately it really isn't that simple. You've got Christians in a band playing music, is their music Christian Music? Or what about a secular artist who plays real Christmas music, is it Christian Music? The answer becomes a little more complicated now, doesn't it? The truth is that Christian music and calling a band that plays it a "Christian band" is really to put music into a box that limits the audience to whom a band can reach.

Take Switchfoot for example. They do not market themselves as a Christian band. Each of the band members individually have a relationship with Christ, but the band makes no claim to be Christian and their music doesn't blast, "Jesus this, Jesus that..." On the other extreme we have Flyleaf. They are also all Christians, and they don't market themselves as a "Christian band." Their lyrics however, say something to the effect of,

"Beautiful bride,
Body of Christ,
One flesh abiding
Strong and unifying
Fighting ends in forgiveness
Unite and fight all division
Beautiful bride..."

Are they anymore Christian than Switchfoot? Music by Switchfoot has been used numerous times by Christians to make human videos that demonstrate the sacrifice Christ made for us, while Flyleaf plays shows alongside bands like Korn, Theory of a Deadman, and Disturbed. So then which band is Christian? Are either of them Christian bands? The term "Christian band" is just way too vague without a satisfying definition.

I'll give you one final test to bring my point home. I'm going to give you the lyrics without telling you what band it is, and you decide for yourself if it is Christian.

"We're more than carbon and chemicals
We are the image of the invisible
Free will is ours and we can't let go
We are the image of the invisible
We can't allow this, the quiet cull
We are the image of the invisible
So we sing out this, our canticle
We are the image of the invisible

We were all lost, now we are found
No one can stop us or slow us down
We are all named and we are known
We know that we'll never walk alone..."

Let me wrap it up by asking you one more question, if there is a plumber who believes in Jesus Christ as his lord and savior, is he a Christian plumber?

Until next time,
De Facto

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