Getting back to today's topic, I eagerly began to listen to this new album on the way to work. The first few song were great. Some I had heard once before and others were new. I continued to listen during my lunch and prep. periods while I chipped away at paperwork. This is when the disappointment hit me. I came upon several songs that had blatantly and forcefully liberal messages. For me, the words to these songs detracted from any musical quality they may possess. I ended up turning off the music and working in silence.
This caused me to think about the double standard in today's society that is skewed against Christianity. When Christians include any aspect of their viewpoint in a discussion, debate or form of entertainment they are labeled as bullies who are pushing their religion upon others. However, when non-Christians include their viewpoints in the same types of arenas they are viewed and open-minded individuals who are educating and raising awareness to cultural and social differences.
Part of the issue is that the entertainment and media industries are predominantly controlled by non-Christians. They have the power to block the production and sale of material containing messages that they don't agree with. In addition, Christian views are just not popular in today's society. Views that are not popular are not going to fit in pop music.
Finally, non-Christians within media and entertainment are more fervent about expressing their beliefs. In the game of spreading their view they are "in it to win it" as Randy Jackson would say. Many Christians are in it to make it. Christian musicians (myself included) want to make it as an artist. Why? Well, we want our music to be heard. That is the whole reason why we write and record it. Often we feel that the only way to be heard is to get signed to a major record label, sell a ton of albums, go on big tours and be famous. If watering down our lyrics and trying to emulate secular pop music will help us to achieve this, we are willing to do it. Watering down can mean using the word love instead of Jesus in a lyric. It may also mean writing about only the popular Christian topics and avoiding challenging ones. After all, people want to be entertained. If they want to be challenged, they will listen to a sermon, not a song.
I am not saying this is the case for all Christian artists all the time, but most face it. I would be willing to say that any Christian artists who claims to have never even thought about this issue may be lying (or in denial). How many times have you heard of Christians artists who end up crossing over into secular music? The number of secular artists who started off singing in the Christian church is probably even higher. You don't, however, hear about secular artists crossing over into the Christian music genre too often. This sad truth demonstrates the fact that compromise (for many Christians) is acceptable while in the pursuit of success. The very existence of this compromise validates the non-Christian argument that Christians are incorrect. If the Christian view is correct, why are so many willing to lay it aside in the pursuit of fame?
As Christian artists, we need to remember that God is all powerful. He gave us our gifts and talents for a purpose. Yes, music is meant to be a form of entertainment, but it is also an effective form of communication. If we are willing to lay down our pursuit of fame and wholeheartedly seek to honor God through our music we may be able to have an equal or even greater impact as secular music. If we seek to be original, honest and true to our convictions, then people may perceive our honesty and be compelled to listen. People need to feel something in the music they are listening to. If the artist is singing about something they don't believe (just because it is popular) the feeling becomes flat an uninspired. I would love to play for larger crowds and sell more music, but I would much rather write and sing about what I feel is true even if it isn't popular. My inspiration flows from my feelings and beliefs. Once I stray from that source, I lose my identity as an artists.