‘I Saw the Light’

13 May

Been thinking about this for a couple of weeks now, but it actually hit me as an Actual Topic the other day.

Our online editor asked me if it was OK by me if he asked a Christian music DJ to blog on our Web site. He said he thought I could write about Christian music, but that someone who actually works for an Actual Christian Station would have a better perspective on it.

I agreed. My relationship with contemporary Christian music isn’t exactly great, and it’s not a genre I’m itching to get to know it better.

I generally try not to get too personal here, but this is a personal topic, I think.

This is going to sound vague, but: very basically, I believe there’s something more going on – call it a God or whatever word you feel is appropriate – but I don’t feel like I have to step into a church or any other kind of building to feel/know it/him/her. I feel like I’ve found God (again, who ever he/she/it may be) in other places – excuse me while I get sentimental and therefore uncool – like in my best friend’s daughter, in life’s “coincidences” or in Jeff Buckley’s voice. I feel like churches and the like are a man-made thing, not a God-made thing, and they’re as obsolete as stagecoaches, VCRs or the first iPods. 


Music, meanwhile, is my best friend, my constant companion, my link to my past and my drug. Everything that’s happened to me in my life has a song, album or artist tied to it in one way or another. 

So, theoretically, if I can’t find a Higher Being in a church, I should be able to find it in religious music, right? Logically, sure, but in reality? Not so much.

The only kind of religious music that doesn’t totally freak me out is old-timey bluegrass gospel. There are a lot of really gorgeous gospel songs, but I really like that bluegrass sound. The worst of all is contemporary Christian. You know – basically pop songs with Christian lyrics. The stuff sends shivers down my spine. So do the metal Christian bands. I’ve tried it, but it’s just not for me.

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing a lot of contemporary Christian and Christian metal bands and I’ve genuinely liked all of them as musicians, people, etc. But, most of those bands’ music has always felt fake to me. The contemporary Christian music feels too slick, too polished, too prettily pre-packaged. And I always had the feeling many of the members of Christian metal bands really wanted to instead sing about slaughtering chickens in a graveyard, but because of their overbearing Christian parents, they sang about Christ (these guys are also usually able to cite all of the bloodiest passages in the Bible).

Good music, of any genre, should make you feel something. But I’ve never felt God, Jesus, whomever, in any music labeled Christian or gospel. And if I don’t feel that, isn’t that a giant epic fail?

Where I do hear God in music is in bands or artists who were so obviously given their musical talent by God. I feel like some people were born with a musical ability by accident (hi, Christina Aguilera), but some artists’ talents were crafted by God. Jeff Buckley’s voice, for example – that is a voice God crafted by hand. Jimmy Page’s guitar riffs, Paul McCartney’s melodies – that’s where I see, hear, feel God – not in “I Can Only Imagine,” “How Great is Our God” or “Jesus Freak.”

By the way, I truly hope this blog doesn’t offend any Christian music fans or makers. I don’t like the music, just like I don’t like techno or whatever you call that stuff Enya does, and just because I don’t necessarily feel what I’m supposed to feel in Christian doesn’t mean I think the bands/artists aren’t talented. It just means, this genre of music isn’t for me. And I felt like writing about it. That’s all.

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