I’ve heard plenty of snide remarks about ‘Christian’ music over the years. I even saw a comic not long ago that placed the Christian music industry on a list of things Jesus dislikes- right along with the crusades. However, as someone who has had this music help feed my soul since I was a child, I have a few remarks of my own.
First of all let me tell you what I won’t do:
I won’t claim that it’s necessary or good to slap the label ‘Christian’ on everything. Christian books, Christian business, Christian country (that one deserves it’s own post all together). No, calling everything ‘Christian’ isn’t necessary, can be harmful, and is often just meaningless. However, the terms ‘Christian music’ and ‘Christian radio’ are commonly used in our culture, so for the purpose of this post, I’ll go with it.
I won’t claim the industry is ‘pure’. If it is anything like ‘Christian’ book industry, there is probably a good deal of narrowness and censoring.
I won’t say there is anything wrong with music that isn’t labeled Christian. I simply don’t believe that is the case. I believe good art glorifies God, period… but of course that is another post once again.
I also won’t claim to be musically gifted or to have a great understanding or experience in music. So I’m not a music critic… which is just as well to me, because sometimes critics seem to have a difficult time simply enjoying the music, art, or food they are an expert in. So I won’t be claiming that Christian music has the best or most original talent. I simply don’t know.
Lastly, I won’t claim that Christian music has great theology. Honestly, if I’m a critic of anything, it IS theology (and yes, that can have it’s downsides too!), so I would have to admit that the theology in Christian music ranges from excellent to cliche to questionable to horrid. (And of course, what I find horrid someone else might find excellent… and visa versa. Welcome to humanity.)
So what do I find so wonderful about ‘Christian’ music?
When the theology is excellent, it refreshes my soul like the best sermon never could.
When the music is full of beauty and truth, it helps turn my heart to the peace and goodness of God.
It gets the heart of God into my babies before they even know the words they are singing.
It helps me rest.
It has been an agent of grace in some of my ‘darkest nights of the soul’.
It helps me worship.
It speaks back to me God’s faithfulness.
It reminds me of what is important.
It has provided an anthem during the different phases of my life.
So whatever critiques there may be about such music, and I believe there are some legitimate ones, I have some positive things to add to the mix. My life would simply not be the same without ‘Christian’ music.