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Friday, December 13, 2013

what is christian music?

Wow... quite the break from blogging that was... :)   I guess I've been too busy with THIS exciting personal development!

Anyway, I saw this post on the band Switchfoot last week and entered into a comment fray.  It's an interesting post on a topic many evangelical Christians have strong opinions on. I think the "lighthouse/searchlight" filter from the past 7-8 years has really re-framed how I see the Christian sub-culture, leading me to really appreciate Foreman's perspective (and his graciousness towards those who choose a different path).

Here's a link to the blog post (original longer article HERE) and some excerpts from the comments of lead singer, Jon Foreman. Asked if Switchfoot is a "Christian band," lead singer, Jon Foreman, responded:

"To be honest, this question grieves me because I feel that it represents a much bigger issue than simply a couple [Switchfoot] tunes... There is a schism between the sacred and the secular in all of our modern minds... None of these songs has been born again, and to that end there is no such thing as Christian music... My life will be judged by my obedience, not my ability to confine my lyrics to this box or that."
What I like is that the guy from Switchfoot does not seem to be operating out of a Christian sub-culture that American Christianity (especially evangelical) seems prone to. (I also mentioned appreciating him not taking potshots at that sub-culture, which is very in vogue to do in some circles.)

More constructively, as art or life is concerned, I think it should all be one piece. And if we can set aside the errors of the bubble (sub-culture) or syncretism (over-identifying with the culture), there is still a wide range left for those who would live in the world, but not be of it. Whether art or music or speech or works, some people are explicit about their faith and some more indirect. Both categories can be done effectively and well and both can be done offensively and ineffectively.

I don't know enough about Switchfoot to know whether they effectively inhabit the sphere of indirect witness in the world, but I have no problem with where they want to locate themselves. I'm glad there are faith-filled artists who want to inhabit that space, just as I am glad that there are faith-filled artists who want to inhabit the space of more explicit witness.


bob meyer said...

A more meaningful question to me, which addresses often expressed concerns is: What is Christian WORSHIP music?

I hear some say how great "worship" was when they mean they really liked what the band was singing while others mean they really go "into" it as they were singing praises to the Lord.

robert austell said...

Well now, I wrote a whole dissertation on that! :)

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