I’ve been rocking out to Gungor’s latest album Beautiful things while at the gym lately. Michael Gungor has written an excellent post about how most “Christian” music is zombie-like. Describing the typical CCM approach, he writes:
use whatever musical style you wish as a medium to communicate your message. It’s not about the art, it’s about the message. So use whatever tools and mediums you have at your fingertips to do so. If you want to reach emo kids, then sing emo music but with Jesus language. The problem with this is that emo music is not simply reducible to certain sounding tones and chords. There are emotions and attitudes of different genres of music that are the soul of the music. You can’t remove the anger from screamo and have it still be screamo. It’s the soul of that music, whether that soul is good or evil is not the point, simply that it is the soul. So when you remove the soul from music and transplant the body parts (chord changes, instrumentation, dress, lights, and everything but the soul…) and parade it around with some more “positive” lyrics posing as Christian music, then what you have is a musical zombie.
Later he writes:
The point is that the industry that labels things as Christian and sells them to you has far more to do with marketing then Christianity. They are marketing to the mixed bag of values that has created the Evangelical Christian subculture. It’s a mix of some historically Christian values, some American values, and a whole lot of cultural boundary markers that set “us” apart from “them.” This sort of system makes us feel safe and right, and it makes some of its gatekeepers very wealthy and powerful.
The effect is then the filtering down of this subculture to people that don’t necessarily want to think through the viability of every one of these boundary markers, but in their simple desire to belong to what they consider the good guys, they acquiesce to the rules handed to them.
He concludes that there are (at least) two major outcomes of this: 1. It makes us dishonest and 2. It kills creativity.
One of the interesting points he makes is how people tend to point out real creativity in Christian artists but wouldn’t bother with secular ones – there it is assumed to be inherent, but it’s apparently not a common nor necessary part of being a ‘Christian’ artist.
Gungor is not standing on the outside throwing rocks, but passionately advocating for a kind of purification of something he’s a part of.
Do read it.
HT Vitamin Z