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Archive for May, 2018

What’s wrong with Christian music?

Posted by Chance on May 29, 2018

I feel that creatively, most of mainstream Christian music lags behind what is considered secular. It’s bothered me for a long time. I have a few theories rolling around in my head. I’m not completely sold on all of them but wanted to share my theories. First of all, I’m just making generalizations here; I’m not saying all Christian music is like this. Also, I don’t know anyone’s heart or artistic motivations. I do feel that something is missing in Christian art and it’s something I’ve been wanting to understand for a while, and I wanted to share my thoughts.

1) Because CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) has a smaller audience, artists can’t afford to take the artistic risks that a mainstream artist can. As a result, they go for the safe approach, resulting in music that is more bland.

2) More focus is placed on the lyrics of the song. As a result, the melody and instrumentation are afterthoughts. I think the mistake that may be made here is that the artist assumes only their words can be used to glorify God, and not the music itself. This reminds me of the Martin Luther quote

“The Christian shoemaker does his duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.”

3) The state of CCM may be a reflection of American Christian Culture and theology in general. I’ve grown up in the American church, so I know that an approach to Christianity that is easy to get trapped in is that of sin avoidance. Instead of focusing on God or doing good things, we focus on avoiding bad things. It could be the same with music. It could be that the focus is avoiding controversial lyrics or even attitudes in the music. So instead of focusing on making a certain type of song there is a focus on not making certain types of songs. Such an approach could be constraining. The artist may feel pressure to make a happy song and not one based on fear or doubt or anger that one may struggle with.

4) As with Christian life, where we get this idea of what a Christian should look or be like, maybe Christian artists feel a pressure to make a song according to what a Christian song should sound like. I feel that it is interesting to note many of my favorite artists out there are ones that happen to be Christian, rather than those that are part of the Christian music industry. U2 (3 out of 4 members are professing Christians), and many other sort of on the line between secular and Christian like Switchfoot, Mat Kearney, MuteMath, and NeedToBreathe come to mind.

Whatever the cause, I hope something changes soon. I feel that music that focuses on God should be the most exciting music out there.

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My biggest issues with mainstream conservative philosophy

Posted by Chance on May 28, 2018

Culturally, I am fairly conservative, in that I believe in the Bible, am Christian, and my sense of morality (hopefully) follows what the Bible says. Concerning social issues I consider myself more moderate, and overall consider myself a libertarian. I agree with conservatives on pro-life issues. However, where I disagree with conservatives primarily concerns police brutality and immigration.

Concerning police brutality, many policemen and policewomen put their life on the lines every day. I have tremendous respect for what they do. At the same time, I believe there is a real problem with excessive and sometimes fatal force used against civilians. When we see somebody shoot an unarmed person that does not pose a real threat, that’s a problem. When someone is choked to death for illegally selling cigarettes, that’s a problem.

The problem is that conservatives place a very high degree of trust in those in authority. Conservatives distrust government when it functions in a way that they view as illegitimate (i.e. welfare state, regulation) but place almost infinite trust in ways that they view as legitimate (i.e. police force, military). Because of this high degree of trust, the benefit of the doubt always goes to the police officer and not “criminal”.

This issue bugs me to because I feel that there is such a divide in America around this issue, with the NFL anthem protests at the forefront. I understand wanting everyone to stand for the anthem, but I feel that too many people don’t even want to consider the issue that is causing the protests in the first place. I feel that there is no listening.

The other issue is immigration. I’ve touched on the refugee situation before. I think the only reason to limit immigration is due to national security concerns but it is not a sufficient reason to stop all immigration. I think those who truly believe in a free market would not want to regulate immigration based on economic concerns; the market figures it out in the same way it figures out wages and the price of goods (although not satisfactorily enough for many liberals). Also, I could be totally wrong on this, I don’t think we should limit immigration to preserve a culture, even one intertwined with Christianity. This seems counterintuitive to me. It seems that as other cultures intermix, Christianity seems to be on the downswing. However, the idea of limiting our contact with other people to preserve our Christianity seems counter to the gospels.

I also feel that there is an important mercy aspect to the immigration issue. Here’s the thing though. I think when a conservative hears things like “mercy” and “justice” it is usually in terms of expanding the welfare state or getting involved in redistributing income or regulating how much maternity leave a company should give. I feel that the immigration issue is different, however. The government doesn’t necessarily have to make a decision in those issues; it HAS to make a decision on whether it allows people into the country or not.

I feel that it is consistent with my pro-life view. How involved the government should get involved in healthcare and welfare and all that are worthwhile conversations to have, but we don’t have to get everything else settled before we decide whether or not abortion should be outlawed or allowed. In the same way, we don’t have to have welfare or housing or all that figured out before we decide if we want to let people into the country.

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