Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 15:32:02 -0400 (EDT) From: Subject: Re: Tirade on Christian Lyrics and being Judgemental In a message dated 97-09-19 13:06:21 EDT, Darren Hickerson writes: << For a song to be perceived as "Christian", it MUST contain lyrics which set it apart from secular songs. We cannot just assume a Christian message is hidden in there. It must be stated, however poetically or creatively. It's certainly complicated, there is a fine line, and many songs assumedto be"Christian" just because they are made by an artist who says it'sChristian music are not. >> You're very right when you said "it's a fine line". I have been watching closely on this subject for ahwile now, and I've come to the conclusion that, as usually, we all have our own opinions on this subject. I'm not here to alter any of your ideals either, but I would like you to be made aware of some of the motivations, ideas, and musical artistry behind these, so called "non-Christian lyric" songs cause they don't have blatant lyrics. First off, we have to consider the musical artistry of each song. God will speak to us differently, and most songs often reflect our relationship with Him, the situations in our life He presents to us, and the audience He has presented to us to minister too. Take in consideration, much like the old painters ages ago, they were blasted for their abstact ideas they put on canvas. But today they are the pioneers of the artworld. We have the same thing happening today with the music industry. People listening to music today, look into the lyrics and try to find the meaning hidden, they are more insightful listeners than some people give them credit for, especially todays youth! Although the lyrics are abstract, don't blatenly mention God, or the "nice Christian life", doesn't mean the song does not have a Christian motivation behind it. We should all take a look at some of these abstact and often dark lyrics to see where they are going. 9 out of 10 times the listener will begin spinning it's wheels and find the message, and the unsaved listener will find that that song has been mentioning them and their dark life in sin or whatever the message is drawing them to realize. It is art like everything else, not everyone is meant to understand it, but to those who do, it will be a powerful message! Unfortunately, people who don't understand something, will often times blast you for it. Darren Hickerson said, "Though Christians can quickly identify the Christian meaning" and "To a non-Christian, probably not" wuld be surprised and how often that statement is reversed and the non-Christians find the meaning quicker than the Christians. Other ideas behind the "not-so-blantant lyrics" could easily be mentioned as getting airplay on secular radio stations. DC Talk has had a top song on the secular stations for months now...if you listen to their CD, you will find they intentionally took out the only blatant Christian worded line for the secular do we condemn them for taking that out. I would say no, here are my reasons why: besides the obvious of getting secular airplay, that alone speaks for itself. Getting secular airplay means a lot more CD's sales. No, it's not greedy to think this way, by selling more, those people buying those CD's will listen to the whole CD and hear the real minstry behind DC Talk in all the songs there. They also come to the concerts and hear themessage DC Talk presents to them. Gimmick? No, it's being a pioneer. If we cannot feel comfortable going to "their turf, on their terms" and still be Christians, then what is the point? We will miss a serious oportunity to witness to the secular community if we cannot praise what these musicans are doing with their music. I just urge you all to think of the hidden meaning in the lyrics that are not the obvoius, then if you see a Christian theme or not hidden in there, then you can make your own judgements....don't presume those non-christian listeners will never find it....God often speaks to them in subtle little ways, we should praise God's method of using musicians to speak to these people this way. Remember, if just one person is brought to the Lord, then we have done our part, whether it was subtle or blantant ...the glory is His in the end. In Christ Debbie Return-path: To: Date: Fri, 12 Sep 1997 13:16:58 -0400 Subject: CCM test -Reply Hi there -- got totally busy again this week & just now looked at the revised CCM test. Sorry I don't have time to work through all the details right now. Some of it seems like it may require a little more knowledge than what you can get just from owning the CD -- like cost of production. Those are definitely good things to consider, but I wonder how many of us will even be able to fond that kind of information. Some of the other things are really good. I'll have to peruse in more detail later. Also, the scoring system may have to change a little with the extra additions & subtractions. I'll be back to you on this soon. This is so great that someone else is interested in this. About others contributing, you could simply put us as "authors" with the others as "contributing authors". What ever legalese sounds best to you. About the different URL -- it's your website!! I haven't really a clue about that (yet -- I'm hoping to get up on it soon). Just let us all know what you decide to do. Peace in Christ, Darren. < _____ >Capocracy, n., form of government ruled by whoever has a working capo. From Darren Hickerson From: Darren Hickerson Return-path: To: Date: Tue, 23 Sep 1997 10:10:27 -0400 Subject: Essays... >>>>I could post all these essays onto the homepage linked to the test, so other interested people could read them<<<<<< Allison, I that's a good idea. Boy, people on that list are really responding like I was being over-judgemental. Oh, well. That's the way I feel. People can't just say and do anything and call it a viable witness for Christ. I guess we need a diversity of opinion to somehow find the middle ground. More later!! Peace in Christ, Darren. To: Fcc: Sent Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 16:24:50 Subject: Album Essays -- Darren Message-ID: <> X-Status: Sent X-Mailer: Juno 1.38 ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 18 Sep 1997 16:37:41 -0400 From: Darren Hickerson Subject: Tirade on Christian Lyrics and being Judgemental Neal Thomas Blohm Wrote: >>>>Comtemporary Christian music needs to be music that helps us to lean how to relate to God in our relationship with Him, how to relate to the Bible, and how to apply the Word to our lives.<<<< I've been holding back writing again on the whole idea of being judgmental about Christian music and musicians, waiting for someone else to put a few keys together -- I think the above quote is on the mark. When we say "Christian Music", what are we talking about? Someone wrote a beautiful essay a few days back on how we don't need to use Christian catch words in every song since that would be boring and how, if we are in Christ, we praise God in everything that we do. Very nice words, but I kept wanting to say, "Yes, but..." through the whole thing! If the only place you are praising God is in your heart, then you are not sharing or spreading the gospel. What is the point of a song about cooking breakfast if only the singer knows it's a praise song to God for allowing this meal to be prepared? I think the NEWSBOYS did a supremo job of taking a mundane subject like breakfast and turning it into a straight-shooting message about the Gospel (Gospel means "good news" for the non-Greek speakers out there). See the song "Breakfast" on "take me to your leader". The Psalms are a terrific example of songs which mention struggles with life and faith from every angle, and they all contain a reference to God. They are all different in their poetry, subject matter, and lyrical style, but still mention the name of God frequently. And they never get boring! For a song to be perceived as "Christian", it MUST contain lyrics which set it apart from secular songs. We cannot just assume a Christian message is hidden in there. It must be stated, however poetically or creatively. So what do you do with a song like MWS "Place in this World"? It is a terrific song, but was made popular on secular radio by being the master of understatement -- God is never mentioned. The only references are "... I need your light to find..." and "...can you still hear me?" We are left to assume that "You" is God. So is it a Christian song? To a non-Christian, probably not, though Christians can quickly identify the Christian meaning: the search for your purpose in life is fulfilled in Christ. Couldn't he have just said that somewhere in there? Even just once? Still the song is meaningful to me as a Christian, and believe me, when it comes on on the CD, I sing it out as a prayer to God, so for my purposes, it's Christian. So have I just contradicted myself? It's certainly complicated, there is a fine line, and many songs assumed to be "Christian" just because they are made by an artist who says it's Christian music are not. I won't waste the time with a list right now but I'll produce a list on demand. On the judgemental subject: Jesus was the first to recognize when someone was not following God's way, and quickly identified it. We like to think of Jesus as calm and peaceful and forgiving, but His forgiveness was only for those who acknowledged their own sin and were willing yo forgivr others. There is no real crime, spiritual or otherwise, in identifying when someone has gone astray. If it's done for the sake of gossip and if you are unwilling to forgive that sin, then you are wrong. But it was not wrong for someone to say that MXPX was asking who wanted to buy the beer during a concert and identify that as sinful behavior -- it is! You can't go on stage, claim to represent Christ, and glorify drinking in front of a mostly underaged crowd! Jesus said "woe to anyone who causes one of these to sin". I don't care if you do have your own little dark secrets and your own little private sins. We all deal with those. It doesn't mean we can't say that MXPX was wrong for doing that. We can judge that behavior and I believe rightly so. When Jesus claimed he and God (Himself being God) only had the authority to Judge, he didn't mean just identifying sin, he meant eternal judgement -- eternal forgiveness or condemnation. Paul is quite clear in his epistles about what to do with people in the church who are not living according to the Way: if they refuse to repent (big church word for turn away from your sin, ie., quit sinning), throw them out. Someone else mentioned that MXPX said they were not called to ministry. Fine. They should be playing venues with Michael Jackson or anyone else not called to ministry, not sharing the stage with Jars of Clay or DC Talk or Big Tent Revival -- bands whose message and lifestyle I have not known to falter in public. The people Jesus was most enfuriated by were those who presented themselves as representing God, but lived however they wanted to -- hypocrites -- the Pharisees for the most part, though they were not the only ones. Jesus even quotes them as saying "do as we say, not as we do" to show how shallow and false they are as leaders. You must be a living example if you claim to represent Christ. No we're not just picking on musicians, that call goes out for all of us. However, we can't be so non-judgemental that we let anyone take the stage claiming to be Christian -- what if Marilyn Manson suddenly decided to try for Christian audiences? Wouldn't we all be a little judgemental of that? Sorry to the MXPX fans -- I'm really not singling them out -- they were just topic of interest recently & were the first to come to mind. I know they do have parts of their MINISTRY that are very positive. I hope they can recognize that and give up the silliness. Peace in Christ, Darren.