So, my mom is in Nashville right now and is staying at the Gaylord OpryLand Hotel for a work conference. Last night, she went out and saw Third Day and Switchfoot play a concert downtown. She let me know that it’s GMA week down there and it hit me that I had NO IDEA of that going on. You see, there was a time that I cared about “christian” music. Now, I really don’t. There are christians that make good music, and I appreciate some of it…but overall, I could care less.
When I was a teen, Christian music was being sold as this alternative to “secular” or real music. You could always tell which stations were the Christian ones because the quality of the music was so inferior to the rest of the dial. There was a basic formula in early Christian rock music: Make a decent rif, talk about Jesus, sell a million records, make sure there’s an alter call at your concerts. That was about it. Petra were kings for a time. They would take pithy Christan sayings and cheese up some rock chords. The classic “Why Should The Devil Have All the Good Music” was the perfect example of this sub-culture (all due respect to Larry Norman who passed away a few months ago). I remember seeing Whiteheart for the first time. They had this album about checking your “heart” rate (a not so clever analogy for making sure your soul was set on Jesus) and they all came out in hospital scrubs. At the time, I remember thinking “Well, I guess if your music sucks, you have to dress it up.”
Over the years, the quality of the music has drastically gotten better. Today, more and more Christian artists are not looking to be cornered into being a “Christian” band/artist. Groups like Switchfoot have broken that mold. Which I am thankful for. I don’t think the question that the Christian industry should ask itself is “why should the devil have all the good music” anymore, perhaps it is “why should christian artists settle for only singing about jesus?” or “why do we need a sub-category of music just for christians?” wouldn’t it be better if talented christian musicians simply created “good” music like everyone else, and let the quality of their craft draw attention to the ultimate creator? I’m all for Christians who are excellent artists, but give them the ability to swim in the deep end not just the kiddie pool next door.