Saturday, January 20, 2007

miXtian tape

Until recently, to find me with a mix tape of Pop Christian music, or CCM would have been a very rare occurrence. When I think through the reasons that this would be, I contemplate why the music that was important to me was important to me. I mentioned yesterday that it shaped my life, but I allowed it to do that because it already in some way was expressing who I was or who I wanted to become.
Music has the ability to express a part of you and form a part of you at the same time. It served a balancing purpose of bringing disconnected parts of me together. It may seem rather odd that Christian music wouldn’t have been the primary music desired in the expressing and shaping of my life. But life is the operative word here. Christian music more than any other kind, has such a narrow lyric criteria, that it becomes formulaic, generic and inauthentic. I always found that though it contained facts and sentiments that I believed, it didn’t challenge me, ask me to question anything about myself, it didn’t expose anything I’d hidden from myself, and it didn’t cause me to contemplate God. Usually it merely rehearsed things I’d already been told rather than show me how God played in the everyday of my life.
I find it very sad that Christian music comes and goes as trendy style oriented wholesome background music. It finds it’s secular counterpart in pop icons like Britney Spears, Madonna, and Destiny’s Child rather than cultural commentators and dreamers and poets. The flashy music speaks impersonally of factual attributes and character traits of God, but come off as theoretical theology that we believe but never experience.
Ironically, music that does manage to express the interaction of God in the lives and struggles of people is usually cast off as experiential and irreverent. Also ironically, is that the Bible is entirely made of the life narrative. The point is that God interacts with, cares for, corrects, and rescues people. It is a book of life and lives. His story is written in the lives of people.
I have often had to go to non-christian music to go beyond facts and to hear stories about how God is interacting, and by that, I have been shaped.

Soundtrack mix for the blogging of this blurb:

Sufjan Stevens – “Abraham”
Kansas – “The Wall”
U2 – “Vertigo”
Rich Mullins – “How to Grow Up Big and Strong”
Sufjan Stevens – “To Be Alone With You”