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Monday, April 4, 2011

this is my confession

"Music brings people together!"

My friend and former colleague Christina made this declaration several years ago as she explained her incredible love of music. We were sitting in her office in the Student Union Building, probably talking about the most recent concert she had attended, or the next one she had tickets for. She is, after all, quite the concert enthusiast. As she shared, her excitement grew, and by the time she made this statement, she had achieved a state of frenzied bliss. Despite her enthusiasm, however, I felt the need to challenge her assertion.

To a certain extent, music does bring people together. Picture Dead Heads converging on Autzen Stadium, Parrot Heads wasting away in Margaritaville, or the millions scooping up Taylor Swift tickets like they were precious gems, and you can see that it's true. At the same time, music also has the ability to divide people. Ask one of the Greatest Generation what they think of rap. Ask a teenager about jazz. For that matter, ask anyone about Michael Bolton. The fact is the same characteristics of music that bring people together, can also serve to segregate the masses.

From classic rock to classical, hip-hop to country, I enjoy songs from across the broad musical spectrum. Certainly, I care for some genres more than others, and I have several "go-to's" programmed into my car stereo. But in general, I am fairly content with just about anything emanating from the ear buds of my blue iPod Nano.

My guess is that many of you may still agree with me at this point. But now I come to my confession, which I am making, in part, to fulfill the title of this blog. I recognize that this may cause you to judge me, and may result in the loss of what little readership I have left after eight months away. But my conscience requires nothing less than complete honesty. Here goes. I like Christian music.

There I said it.

Let me be clear, I'm not just talking about worship music here. I'm talking about what you hear on radio stations like The Fish, K-Love, Air1, or whatever Scripturally-sound and uplifting name your local station goes by. I make this confession because I often find myself surprised that Christian music is so divisive, especially in the Church. Some people (dare I say) swear by it. And some can hardly stomach it. I have good friends firmly residing in each camp. Other people are closet fans, listening to it regularly but hiding it as if it were a vice. One good friend sheepishly admits to loving the songs of Steven Curtis Chapman, stopping just short of apologizing or trying to justify her fondness for them. And she shouldn't have to. He writes some really good music. But still, that divisiveness is present. Stop for a moment and ponder the feelings that welled in you a few moments ago when you read the words "Christian music."

Like all musical genres, Christian music does have its share of kitschy songs. You know the ones. The songs that make you cringe while quickly changing the station; or the ones that despite a catchy tune, are overly simple or trite. Unfortunately, I think that many people judge the entire genre on the basis of these songs.

Over the next few days, I will post my first-ever blog series, highlighting several Christian songs that in my opinion are outstanding. They are ones that you may or may not have heard before, but that doesn't really matter. Check them out and give me your thoughts. I hope you enjoy, and if you tend to fall into the anti-Christian music faction, perhaps you'll reconsider your position and let the music bring us together.


Christina said...

Fun fact - Casting Crowns' Until the Whole World Hears was in the Billboard top 20 as of the most recent issue Rolling Stone (which I was reading last night). It's since fallen to #35, but that's still notable in my opinion given that the album was released in 09.

Robby Larson said...

Really? I had no idea! Quite the impressive feat!

Christy said...

"And....Friends are Friends forever if the Lord's the Lord of them." Do you remember singing this in the parking lot as we all left to go our seperate ways after work crew?
Good memory.
And, for the record, I like Christian music too