Thursday, June 14, 2007

Christian Worldview Art

I was just reading in CCM magazine in the library about Matt Kearney, and the broader topic of Christian music. One of the things he notes was that he turned down like 8 exclusively Contemporary Christian labels before he signed with anybody. This brought up an editorial discussion regarding the CCM term. One editor suggested the term "Christian Worldview Music," and it really just resonated with me somehow.

It's like this: CCM has been it's own (poorly shelved) ghetto in most music stores, or it has resided in its own store, apart from the rest. I worked in Christian retail for 6 years during college and seminary, and frequently would reorganize the badly arranged "Inspirational" sectional of other music stores when nobody was looking (yes, I'm the same with books too). I remember than in one store, I think we actually carried Evanesence for like a week (that might have been after I left), and then never saw it again. And we definitely pulled Demon Hunter because the symbol on the front (a demonic looking skull with a bullet hole...think about the name...) creeped people out. Not making value judgements on either of those, BTW. But it's definitely it's own little world. And the Christian sections of most normal music stores, you can't hardly find anything anyway, and there's no respect for stylistic differences (or alphabetic order...grrrr...).

But enough of that rant. To the point!! How much is the Church like that CD section? Off in it's own little world, isolated from the rest, and definitely appearing scraggly at times. Not that we have to me appropriately categorized, (OK, at least alphabetize the directory...) but we're very much separated, hoping the world will eventually see how cool we are, especially if we can find a style they like. If we build it right, to paraphrase the great theology of "Field of Dreams," then they will come. We hope.

But in the concept of Christian Worldview music, artists like Kearney are out in the world, writing and performing from the perspective of their relationship with Christ. And it's not just "I love Jesus" repeated 13 times (with a bridge about His love for us), but about living daily life in Christ. (Interestingly enough, I think mainstream music is starting to take a turn like this with love songs. John Mayer's stuff in particular is much broader than 13 love songs on one CD.) It's about life, struggles, challenges, and how to face that all in the world. Perhaps I idealize some, but think out this sounds a little familiar. These artists are in the mainstream media, interacting with a world audience, but their perspective, what they write from, where their inspiration comes from, and the answers they seek, are all of another world. Maybe Jesus talked about something like that, eh? Like how his followers would be living in this world they were not apart of (John 17).

There's a thin line between living in this world, being salt and light, and being of this world, directed by its values. But if we've really got something worth sharing in our Lord, and I think it's plumb obvious that the rest of the world isn't just flocking to it (the nature of the fall), maybe the momentum of the Holy Spirit is outward, to where the lost sheep is wandering. Maybe we've been shelved in out own section for far too long. Maybe we need to take our music to the mainstream, and teach them to sing along.

Wrestle with that question then, and see where the journey leads you. Blessings!