Christian music. That term used to mean little more than either old guys with cowboy boots and no fashion sense–at all– or hymns that sound like they just stepped out of the 1800’s. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with those, but would you honestly listen to that vs. Green Day? For me…. and most American’s between the ages of 10 and 25 the answer is no. Well, thank God (no pun intended) that things have drastically changed in the past 30 or so years.
The term “Christian music” or “Gospel Music” now covers everything from worship to Christian Death Metal to Christian Punk. The main difference in the giant we call the Christian music industry is lyrics, instead of showcasing and glorifying teen angst, aggression and explicit sex, Christian music addresses these issues with the actual biblical answers. At least that’s the case in general, yes, this may surprise many, but there are a lot of Christian bands out there with a less-than-squeaky-clean message. This, however, is the exception, not the norm. All music (no matter WHAT record company is promoting it or who the members thank in the credits) needs to be approached with a standard or what you will and will not allow into your mind.
So here’s the big question that it seems everyone is asking– “What is the benefit of listening to Christian music?”. Good question, and one that deserves an answer, however all I can offer is my opinion.
The idealistic answer would probably go something like this… “It will improve your spiritual life, and bring you closer to God.” I won’t bore you with the 17-digit number of how many times I’ve heard this answer, but first lets look at some definitions here,
“Christian music is music created by or adapted for the Christian Church. It also includes Contemporary Christian Music, in which the music explores Christian themes but is designed to be played in places other than churches (Wikipedia)”.
“Worship music is a sub-genre of Christian Music that is commonly used to denote songs that are used to worship God and set in a choral music style, often with repeating, short, easily sung “chorus” parts. Originally termed praise music, then later praise and worship, worship music has become the more current phrase to refer to any music used by Christians as part of their devotional practices, whether in the confines of a local church, or elsewhere.”(Wikipedia)
and finally, “Worship: reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred” (Dictionary.com).
So we just learned a few things, 1) There is a difference between Christian and Worship Music and 2) There is a difference between Worship music and actual Worship. Christian music explores themes of real life importance and generally is applied outside the church where Worship music is that Sunday-morning good stuff. Then there’s actual worship, which in this definition says absolutely nothing about music. Worship, as it was meant to be is more than just reading the projection every Sunday between 9:30 and 9:45, wishing you were still at home in your PJ’s watching those famously mind-numbing cartoons they play around this time. No, worship is actually active, its wrapping your whole being around this act of giving up everything on your mind and all your own problems and purely admiring God’s faithfulness and compassion in your life. Can this be achieved on a 10 cent piece of plastic and instantly turned on and off with the push of a button? I know I step on toes as I say this, but I feel recording and selling worship music as entertainment is a mockery of its very essence. I don’t mean to say that you cannot experience the Lord’s presence with recorded Worship, but 90% of the time we are turning it on in our cars as passive background noise.
Christian music on the other hand can be so flexible, from getting us through the tough times with the actual messages to an energetically blasting party song. Its huge, and to dismiss it so quickly is crazy. Well, I’ve wanted to post this list for a looooong while, so here it is, it compares some popular secular artists with Christian alternatives, and I highly recommend checking some of them out;
Nickleback-Kutless, Day Of Fire, Seventh Day Slumber
Evanescence-Plumb, Gretchen, Flyleaf
Slipknot-Becoming The Archtype, Demon Hunter, Staple
Avril Lavigne-Krystal Meyers, ZOEgirl, Stacie Orrico, Flyleaf
Hawthorn Heights-Dead Poetic, Emery, As Cites Burn
Papa Roach-Skillet, Thousand Foot Krutch,Pillar
Coldplay-Copeland, Waking Ashland, Cool Hand Luke
3 Doors Down-Lifehouse, Sanctus Real, Jonezetta
James Blunt-Damien Rice, Sufjan Stevens
Godsmack-Chevelle, Decyfer Down, East West
Three Days Grace-Red, The Classic Crime
My Chemical Romance-Kids In The Way, Subseven
Linkin Park-Project 86, Dead Poetic, POD
All American Rejects- Eleventyseven, New Found Glory, Stellar Kart
Nine Inch Nails-Skillet (“Hey You, I Love Your Soul” cd specially)
For info on these and many other bands please visit www.jesusfreakhideout.com