Monday, September 6, 2010

On Christian Music

I wanted to share a link to Carrie's post at Reading To Know called Musical Theology. She writes about how frustrating it can be to listen to Christian radio. How some of the songs being played are just not theologically sound. Or perhaps to phrase it better theologically questionable.

I've never been a fan of Christian radio--I'll clarify, I've never been a fan of Christian radio stations playing Christian music--rock (whether hard or soft), praise and worship, rap, alternative, pop, etc.

But. That doesn't mean I don't listen to Christian music or that I'm not a fan of "Christian" music.

I've listened to Christian music for most of my life. (Not exclusively listened. But listened to some degree.) I definitely have favorites. I definitely have standards--theological standards--I apply to my music.

What I've learned is that it is not a matter of "genre" within Christian music. It's also not a matter of age, of "new" versus "old." You can find theologically questionable hymns in your hymnbook too. You can find questionable praise songs that have been sung in and out of churches for decades. Just because it's song within church doesn't mean you shouldn't take the time to examine the lyrics carefully and thoughtfully. Just because it's sold by your local Christian music store doesn't mean that it's theologically sound.

There are some great musicians, artists out there. There are good and bad examples in every "genre" within Christian music. And it isn't always fair to judge an artist by one song that they sing. Keep in mind that the artist isn't always the songwriter. And that some lyrics are a matter of interpretation. And perhaps most importantly not all matters of theology must be agreed upon. (Though the basics, the essentials, the heart-and-soul of the gospel message is a different story.)

So these are some of my favorites...

Caedmon's Call. I love, love, love Caedmon's Call. With songs like "Only Hope," "You Created," "Hands of the Potter," "Standing Up For Nothing," "Thankful", "Mystery of Mercy," "Before There Was Time," "God Who Saves," and "God of Wonders."

Andrew Peterson. I love, love, love Andrew Peterson. In fact, he'd probably top my list of favorites--in ALL genres of music. Some of my favorite songs? "Just As I Am", "High Noon," "The Silence of God," "No More Faith," "Loose Change," "The Chasing Song," "Faith to Be Strong," "So Long, Moses,""Behold the Lamb of God," "More," "The Far Country," "All Shall Be Well," "Mystery of Mercy," "All Things New," "The Good Confession," and "In the Night My Hope Lives On."

Steven Curtis Chapman. Some of his albums I listen to more than others. His "Beauty Will Rise" album is so very, very amazing. I would recommend it to just about anybody. I won't list favorites from all his albums. But I will mention "With Hope," "Burn the Ships," "Remember Your Chains," "God is God," "Not Home Yet."

Casting Crowns. Especially their first and second album. (I just haven't listened to their other albums as often.)

Newsboys. I love, love, love Newsboys. They've got some great lyrics hidden in some of their songs. (Like "Who?" from their Greatest Hits album).

dc Talk's Jesus Freak album.

Rich Mullins--The Jesus Record, and Songs 1 and 2. (I love, love, love "Creed," "We Are Not As Strong As We Think We Are," "If I Stand," "My One Thing," "Bound to Come Some Trouble," and "Hold Me Jesus."

Chris Tomlin. All of his albums are good. "Indescribable," "How Great Is Our God," "Your Grace Is Enough," "Mighty is the Power of the Cross," "Holy is the Lord," "Come Home Running," etc. Too many to list...

"My Jesus" by Todd Agnew

"God Shaped Hole" by Audio Adrenaline. (Without a doubt, my favorite, favorite Audio Adrenaline album is UNDERDOG. I just love, love, love that album.)

"Untitled Hymn" by Chris Rice

"What's Wrong With the World" by Shaun Groves. (Oh, how I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one! And his "God of Us" is so very, very beautiful.)

"Aslan" by Kendall Payne

Theology DOES matter. At least to me. How about you?

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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