Lately, I have heard of a new marketing strategy for Christian music so it can "go out" and reach all the nations. Basically, they don't care whether the song or record says Jesus anymore, so it can go mainstream. That's fine. Amy Grant and Sixpence None the Richer already got enough fire in response to their Behind the Eyes and self-titled albums, respectively. Is this good? People (or is it just the GMA) did not understand when Mark Heard released stuff loaded with insight, but it did just not say Jesus (and we can't have a mandolin on radio for goodness sakes!). Didn't understand when Wes King released "Thought You'd Be Here", a family song from a Christian point of view sans the mention of Jesus. They nominated Sixpence None the Richer's "Kiss Me" and Michael W. Smith's "Love Me Good" in the short-form video category and then took them out, because they remembered they did not say Jesus in them, and besides, the theme was about "love". The thing is, who cares about the GMA anyway? Kathie Lee is the host this year. As long as they continue to pull stunts like choosing out-of-the-industry "inspirational" hosts like Kathie Lee and Naomi Judd (the worst year ever), no one is going to take the GMA seriously. Whenever they try to increase their ratings, like paying $50,000 to have Whitney Houston sing a simple song, ratings go down and the Christian music industry people are appalled. But the new deal is, "inspiration". As long as the recording artist or the song is "inspirational", we don't care who sings the song, what it is about. For example: Wynonna's sinister rendition of an Avalon song on the TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL album or Vince Gill and Martina McBride's re-release of their Christmas albums through Sparrow & Andy Griffith's big album on Sparrow. This is "inspirational" or "feel good" music and it sells while simultaneously encouraging people, so what is the big deal? I heard Bill Hearn of Sparrow Records speak at a conference and he acted like Vince and Martina were on the record company to broaden the scope of their career and that Andy's TV career had kinda faded, so they were trying to do something for him. Now, in Avalon's situation, one of their songs had "Jesus" sung by one of the girls in the very last part of the song while it was fading. They wanted to try to make the song go mainstream, so they got rid of the fading Jesus part. Well, the mission really failed and made a lot of Christian fans mad in the process. The terms "praise & worship" and "inspirational" practically used to be interchangeable. Not really so anymore. Praise & worship is more like Fernando Ortega, Twila Paris, and Sonic Flood. Sonic Flood? Praise & worship is supposed to denote softness. It's supposed to, but the "times they are a changin'". Basically, since the Insyderz released Skalleluia, there has been an integration of rock and praise & worship that had been hoped to reach the youth. There is true praise & worship out there, and some of it is just a marketing scheme. Examples of inspirational music now are the multiple "inspired" recordings from the Prince of Egypt movie and the gospel recordings of certain mainstream artists whose mainstream careers are fading or need a surge. It is of a "feel good" nature and the artists can claim they are religious and not really have anything to do with Jesus. I think defining needs to be going on, but not the "95 Theses of Christian Music" type of defining. Who are the contemporary Christian artists who want to put out music that ministers directly to Christians? Who are the inspirational artists that want to go out and reach the ends of the earth by having a "feel good" message but not exactly say anything about Jesus so they won't offend anyone (i. e. crossover), but will make Christian music until the opportunity is right? And who are the mainstream Christian artists who want to put out music that is excellent and groovy and will not sacrifice by actually putting Jesus' name in the song for the sake of radio airplay? And who are the praise & worship artists that want to release music that could be used in church and directly glorifies the nature of God? So what is going on? Who is in what category? Is there a revival in the land, or have record company heads realized that praise & worship music is popular, so they are trying to get their artists to put out a praise & worship album? It could be nice to walk into a Family Christian Store and see the different sections: "inspirational", "praise & worship:, "mainstream", and then the regular "contemporary Christian music" section. You could glance over and see LeAnn Rimes in inspirational, Sonic Flood right over there with Darlene Zschech in praise & worship, Bruce Cockburn in mainstream, and Point of Grace in the sweet contemporary Christian aisles. Why even try to split up the sections by genre, when finding out what the artists' mission is might be more helpful in choosing what music you want to buy. Big record companies like Sparrow and Reunion have been sold off to the mega secular corporations, so their main goal is to make money. If an artist isn't making money, they will simply be told, "see you later."