>What is the fate of Christian Music?

Posted: 08/06/2009 in music

>Christianity Today published an article recently. As one would expect, the recession we are in is hurting the already limping Christian music industry. A number of years ago, I would have reacted very different to this. Right now, I am a bit mixed.

My first reaction to this, honestly, was “what would we lose?” I can still think of many Christian artists that I really like, but the majority of the really popular ones I do not listen to. I have heard rumors from many of peers that much of GWM (“Generic Worship Music” my name for Christian Contemporary) might be performed by Christian, but not necessarily written by Christians. This would explain why many worship songs sound like a disjunctive, strung together, list of Evangelicalese cliché.

The general consumerism of GWM bothers me too. I recently went to a bible study which opened with a time of worship. They put on a sing-along DVD -complete with helicopter shots of Hawaii, the Grand Canyon, a beach etc- and people sat around singing softly. This was done while there was a piano in the room and at least two capable musicians who could have led others in song. This whole DVD felt so coldly impersonal that it made me shudder. (Glory be to God the plasma screen, DVD, and 5.1 surround sound!) Are we Christians really so bound to our culture that we can’t even play songs for each other anymore?

Yet still, I think of all the artists –the sincere ones- who are trying to combine their love for music, performance, people and God. Certainly, they did not expect to make career (or maybe they did), but such individuals deserve our support. I have always thought that it is sad how the Christian artists I think are the best are the least heard and the least well treated. Furthermore, I still remember the fun of camping out at Christian music festivals when I was 19-20ish a number of years ago. Those concerts were good times. As weird as Evangelicalism can be, it was nice to be an environment that was “safe” by comparison to secular concerts.

Nonetheless, I am not exactly sure what could happen to save the ailing niche market. The difficulties of being a successful artist seem compounded by the internet, the economy, and business in general. Becoming one of those successful celebrity type Christian Musicians seems damn unlikely.

But maybe God doesn’t need musicians to become ‘rock stars’ anyway.

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