Monday, June 19, 2006

I Have Never Listened to Derek Webb...

I went through a brief phase in my youth, when I listened to "Christian" music--which is to say Michael W. Smith. I have all of his albums from The Michael W. Smith Project to Change Your World. I gradually stopped listening to him as my musical tastes expanded and developed. I haven't looked back--I haven't purchased a "Christian" album in years.

Even at the insistence of friends, telling me that Derek Webb is different--I have resisted listening to Christian musicians. I cannot escape the fact that "Christian musicians" are inferior to "secular" musicians.

But I just came across an interview with Derek Webb that grabbed my attention at Denny Burk's blog. The tag line, "The whole secular/Christian thing…is a total fiction…" grabbed my attention.

Webb argues that what is labelled as Christian music is not inherently Christian. Music labels promote bands they believe will sell above other concerns. He is not afraid to proclaim Christian music as "poor art." You can read the interview for yourself, from Relevant Magazine.

Webb has it right when he says, "We should learn how to chew on the meat, spit out the bones, to discern the truth and beauty, to commend that..." Secular music challenges the listener more than Christian music. Those who listen to secular music must listen carefully and critically--never accepting everything they hear as truth. In the words of Webb, they must always be "chewing." Those who listen to Christian music primarily are lulled into a false security--digesting the music uncritically and without hesitation.

Perhaps the most worrisome result of the Christian music industry is the blurring distinction between music for entertainment and music for worship. As soon as Christian musicians gained a foothold in Christian stereos, the same music was introduced into church services, and has since become fully established as a part of the worship of a large majority of Christian worship services.

Hence, Christian worship has become entertainment, and our worship has become something that we do to please ourselves, not exalt our God.

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