Christian Music Industry · Music Videos

Facing the music

I came across a comedian on YouTube who (in the name of humor) performed a skit on the present-day Christian music scenario. The idea was that Christian music nowadays lacked meaning and was extremely generic, and it was easy to sign into a record if you could make vague references and obvious rhymes. They stressed that the music lacked diversity and the content was always vague. It also took a dig at how the bands and artists merely sought more publicity and marketing, with social media and merchandise. It was a satire obviously, and made for a few laughs.

As much as I love a good laugh, I couldn’t help internally resisting what the video claimed. Jokes and humor aside, I threw my mind back to a few months ago when I was way down under the weather. I was far away from home and struggling with an illness that drained me of all my energy. It was all the strength I could muster to plug in my earphones and get lost in my world of Christian music. I shared a room with five others, but on the inside I was so alone and depressed and terribly homesick. I would struggle back from work and flop on my bed and turn on my music – it was my only link with the part of me that was alive. It was the only source of my hope. In those moments where I was so alone and unwell, those songs I listened gave me strength and renewed my hope and faith in God.

I am surprised that a lot of people agree that the Christian music today has lost meaning and is generic and vague. I don’t know what they listened to but it’s a terrible shame to generalize and draw conclusions from a minority.

When a young girl from High school opened up about her insecurities from society’s labels and began questioning her real purpose, I felt there were so many reassuring words people could offer her, but all I could think of was this song by Mikeschair >> ‘Someone worth dying for’.

You are more than flesh and bone
Can’t you see you’re something beautiful?
Yes, you gotta believe
He wants you to see
That you’re not just some wandering soul
That can’t be seen and can’t be known
You gotta believe, that you
Are someone worth dying for

And frankly, as I thought of that last line I felt I would cry, it was so beautiful. Christ made us so fearfully and wonderfully and He loves us so much, enough to die for us! But she’s not the first person to hear me begin a reassuring answer with: “But there’s this song I heard last week…” I thrived on Christian music. It was something I could be absolutely real about, because it wasn’t fiction or a fairy tale, this is real life.

Now, is that vague or generic?

There are songs that I would listen to, and just know deep in my heart of hearts that the artist surely wrote the song inspired by God. These are the songs that reach out and hit you deep, you just know that it’s God’s voice talking to you. When I was in a period of darkness and depression, stumbling over struggle after struggle, I did question why this would happen to me; I just wanted to get closer, t the next level in my relationship with God. And, that’s when God sent me the song “Strong Enough” (Matthew West)

Maybe, maybe that’s the point
To reach the point of giving up
‘Cuz when I’m finally,
Finally at rock bottom,
That’s when I start looking up and reaching out…

Life is tough, and sometimes you go through some nasty trials. It’s easy to get your spirits low, but these songs, inspired by God, the Holy Spirit – these songs just boost and reassure you constantly that God is always looking out for you, that there is always hope, and you need to trust God’s way no matter how dark things look right now.

God’s way may not look all that attractive all the time. You may have been praying over something, maybe an illness, for a long period of time. Sometimes God’s answer is a ‘No’; sometimes He makes us go through the rough, with the promise that He will always be right there with us.

During those times, these songs really help reinforce our trust in God. Like the song says:

It’s easy to sing
When there’s nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I’m held to the flame
Like I am right now?

I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty Hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
(Even If >> MercyMe)

These are the songs that really build a firm foundation of trust in God, and help create a sound doctrine toward an unshakeable faith in God.

Going back to the video – it also poked some fun at the big bands like Newsboys and Casting Crowns. It’s not easy to get to the position these bands are in without some serious work. People obviously love the message and the songs these bands offer. I can only highlight that these bands have helped create some revolutionary anthems in a time where people are oblivious or indifferent to faith, and to God.

Songs like ‘God’s Not Dead’, ‘We Believe’ (Newsboys) and ‘Until the Whole World Hears’ and ‘While You Were Sleeping’ underscore some serious truths that people need to hear.

I always look forward to buying Casting Crowns’ albums, mostly because they reinforce the themes of each song with Bible verses. It forces you to whip out your Bible and re-evaluate your life and learn some life-changing promises God makes. Sound Biblical doctrine.

Not to leave out the Worship Leaders, but people like Chris Tomlin have provided strong, leading role models for youth today, with a Heart and passion for Christ. Let’s get real here; you obviously cannot undermine the role of good worship music in a relationship with God! Worship is definitely a lifestyle, and in those intimate moments of fellowship, what better to set the mood than some good worship music? Or else, we would be stuck playing the same songs over and over again to the point of boredom! Who would say No to some Worship music inspired in a heart full of God?

While the video obviously does not offend me, I personally believe that there is no point in criticizing, when you can’t offer something better yourself, right? It just feels right to defend something you feel close to.

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