July 3, 2022

Christian Music Makes Me Cringe

I’ve acquired a confession: I can’t stand up to date Christian music.

To me, it looks like we, as Christians, typically let any track that claims the title of Jesus go as high quality music. Sure, I’m positive most of the Christian artists I hear have sincere intentions to reward the Lord. However often, the Christian music style appears stamped by a mash-up of hymns, psalms and different Scripture verses, all with an identical melody and fade out.

The overwhelming majority of up to date Christian music sounds shockingly related — lyrics riddled with cliches and superficial shout-outs to the Lord. You possibly can inform a track is “Christian” in seconds.

These “Christian” songs typically sound lots just like the secular ones, however with phrases about Jesus thrown in to make it “Christian.” It’s like these bands are making carbon copies of secular music however eradicating any specific content material with a “hallelujah.” It’s unoriginal and cliche.

Now, I don’t assume all Christian music is horrible, and there are some fashionable Christian songs I actually get pleasure from. However I feel our requirements for Christian music typically lack substance.

My Christian music style is exclusive.

Rising up I had a church expertise in contrast to most white folks I do know. My great-grandpa constructed one of many first racially built-in church buildings in Pittsburgh. And this was within the Fifties — a time identified for racism and segregation. My church, to at the present time, is predominantly African American. The one white individuals are just about my family.

At my church we sung, and proceed to sing, gospel-style hymns. For years the one Christian music I ever knew had been songs like, “Take My Hand, Treasured Lord,” “Leaning on the Eternal Arms” and “I’ll Fly Away.” Michael W. Smith and Hillsong United weren’t precisely on my church’s playlist.

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In my church, the hymns we sing originated out of ache and oppression — these songs had been typically sung by slaves on plantations. The sorrow and sincerity of their lyrics present first-hand what it’s prefer to day by day depend on the Lord’s provision.

Truthfully, I do not know what that’s like. I don’t know what it’s prefer to expertise oppression or persecution. However I can really feel the hope the Holy Spirit brings to these of us who lack a lot. These hymns fantastically articulate the place sorrow and hope meet. The psalms are the identical method. King David wrote most of the psalms whereas he was persecuted. He praised the Lord, begged the Lord and questioned the Lord within the psalms. These sentiments echo what it means to be human and love the Lord. I like old-school Christian music.

I favor “non-Christian,” spirit-filled music.

My church’s worship type has influenced my private, on a regular basis music style. I’m not saying I take heed to Mahalia Jackson’s “Take My Hand, Treasured Lord” on a regular basis. However related sentiments of desperation, frustration, hope and questioning typically pop up in my playlists.

Usually, I really feel a novel connection to lyrics that present first-hand what it looks like to carry on to religion and hope in One higher. I hear songs begging for solutions, songs which can be looking out. I really feel like these folks have a novel perception to the struggling of Christ and hope within the unseen. There are songs like this which I steadily take heed to who’re by artists who both aren’t labeled a “Christian” band or aren’t even of the Christian religion.

Take my favourite band, Thrice, for instance. The lead singer is a believer, however the different three members should not. It’s not a “Christian” band, however their songs explicitly parallel scripture. The track “Transferring Mountains” is actually verbatim the primary half of 1 Corinthians 13 — aka The Love Chapter.  One other track of theirs referred to as “All of the World Is Mad,” talks concerning the sinfulness of the world:

The blind lead the blind into bottomless pits,
Nonetheless we smile and deny that we’re cursed.
However of all our iniquities,
Ignorance would be the worst.

These lyrics aren’t explicitly scriptural like a few of their different songs, however it’s clearly speaking concerning the significance of cultivating creation, being aware to what’s happening round us and acknowledging unique sin.

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This vulnerability appears lacking in up to date Christian music.

And maybe, simply because a track is labeled “Christian,” it isn’t robotically extra non secular, extra impressed or extra pleasing to the Lord.

Let’s discuss hip hop and rap.

A number of rap artists depict experiences that I feel are necessary to know as believers and as human beings.

Too typically I hear Christians shake their heads to rap with out giving sure artists an opportunity. When you take a look at the historical past of hip hop and rap, it began as a response to social injustice. African American folks used their voice and creativity to propel change. As years have passed by, hip hop and rap have misplaced their unique intent, with a lot of artists singing profanities and obscenities. However not all rappers do this. Loads of rappers are true poets who’ve skilled oppression.

Have a look at Lecrae for instance. Lecrae is technically a “Christian” rapper, however his music can also be performed on secular hip hop stations. Why? As a result of his lyrics have depth. His lyrics deal with points within the black neighborhood that apply to believers and non-believers. For example, in his track “Info,” Lecrae talks about being criticized by the white church for speaking about problems with race in his music. The lyrics of “Info” embrace a preferred quote from Malcolm X:

I’ll solely inform the reality
I’m for fact irrespective of who tells it.
I’ll solely inform the reality
I’m for justice irrespective of who it’s for or in opposition to.

To not point out, Lecrae’s beats sound nearly as good as secular rappers. Likelihood the Rapper is similar method. Likelihood used to battle with habit. Now, he’s a proclaimed believer with most of his songs praising God. For instance his track “Blessings” provides an old-school gospel taste that also has an excellent beat. Likelihood is actual. He’s not good, however he’s sincere. I admire that.

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It’s OK to love up to date Christian music.

I don’t love each track by Lecrae or Thrice or Likelihood the Rapper. And I really do like some songs by Christian bands like Matt Maher and Switchfoot and Kings Kaleidoscope.

There’s nothing fallacious with listening to up to date Christian music and loving it. Like one other Boundless blogger who talked about why he likes up to date Christian music, I agree there are phrases, phrases and sentiments in a few of the lyrics that persist with you. There’s a motive there’s so many Christian bands on the market — folks admire their music.

However songs that aren’t explicitly labeled “Christian” have significance and may nonetheless do kingdom work — with out sounding like a cliched reproduction of a secular track.

Psalm 22:3 says that the Lord is enthroned on the praises of the folks. Together with the old-school hymns. Together with the type of up to date Christian music that makes me cringe at occasions.

So please, proceed jamming out to Matt Maher, Tenth Avenue North and others. However possibly additionally give some old-school hymns an opportunity. And possibly take heed to artists like Thrice or Likelihood the Rapper who may not be labeled “Christian” however are tangled with pictures that both parallel Scripture or supply perception differently.

Copyright 2018 Dani Fitzgerald Brown. All rights reserved.