For the past six months or so, I’ve been strugging with the concept of defining what “Christian Music” is. Is Christian Music everything that CCM tells me is Christian Music? Is it anything I’d hear on a Christian radio station? Is it any music that mentions Jesus, God, or the devil? Is it music that proclaims a Christian worldview, however subtle? What is it?
This issue of defining Christian Music didn’t really become important until I started The Blah Blah. When you’ve got a blog with a tagline – “A Christian Music MP3 Blog,” it’s kind of important to know what is meant by the term “Christian Music.”
For the next few Thursdays, I’ll be posting various opposing views on Christian Music, with the goal of bringing something of an idea of what is meant by the whole thing. Since I don’t know what I believe yet, most of the opposing views will come from myself, but I hope to have some guest posters give their input as well.
Today, for the first post on Defining Christian Music, I offer the idea that perhaps it doesn’t even matter. It’s probably not a good tactic to open a series of discussions with the thought that the whole series of discussions is irrelevent, but this is the thought I’m stuck with right now, so this is what you get.
A few days ago, I remembered a family I know who supports their church ministry through a carpentry business. This got me thinking. The dad, who does most of the work, is a Christian carpenter. Are the chairs, tables, stools, and benches he makes therefore Christian furniture? Does anybody care?
I’ve never heard of anybody looking at buying furniture saying to themselves, “Well, I need to know whether it was made by a Christian or not, because I really like to sit in chairs made by people who share my worldview. I will upon occasion sit in a Buddhist or Muslim manufactured chair, but I always feel a bit out of place, so I prefer to deal primarily with Christian carpenters.”
That’d be ridiculous! If I were to buy a chair I’d look for 1) Does it work? Is it functional? Or is it falling apart? 2) Is it comfortable, or does it feel like sitting on a solid slab of sliver-filled concrete? 3) Does it look good? Does it match my jeans? Does it make my butt look big? (Note: those last two are an example of what I call “humor.”) 4) Is it a good price? Or am I waisting my money on it? And I really do want to know the answer to 5) Has it been employed in some sort of satanic, occultic, voodoo, or pagan ritual?
Can you tell which of the chairs to your left is the Christian chair?
The question of whether or not the chair was made by a Christian is largely irrelevent. I personally prefer to support Christian business owners out of a feeling of common brotherhood, but that’s a side-point not related to the product itself.
When I purchase furniture, I don’t ask myself if it has been made by a Christian. When I purchase groceries I don’t ask if they’ve been grown and picked by a Christian. When I buy a plunger, I don’t ask if it’s been packaged by a Christian. When I buy a computer I don’t ask if the motherboard has been soldered by a Christian.
Why not? Because it really doesn’t have an effect on my enjoyment of the product.
So what about music? If it doesn’t even matter when selecting a chair, does it matter when selecting music to listen to? For me, the answer is yes. Music is spiritual by nature. Many scientists, philosophers, musicians, professors, and theologians agree on that, so I won’t try to convince you here. A chair is not so spiritual by nature. It exists in the physical world for physical purposes (to sit on). Music has a spiritual component that exists for spiritual purposes.
Because of the spiritual component to music, I do want to know if it has been made by someone who shares my spiritual views on life. I want to know whether it’s Christian Music or not.
If the music is not made by a Christian, that doesn’t mean I won’t listen to it, but I’ll listen to it with a different filter on. If it’s made by a Buddhist, I’ll potentially have to filter out certain things I don’t agree with. If it’s made by an Atheist, Muslim, Hindu, Secularist, or whatever, I’ll have to do the same. If it’s made by a Christian, I’ll still need a filter, but it’s a different filter and hopefully there’ll be less to catch in it.
What are your thoughts on this? If you’re a Christian reader, is it important to you to know if you’re listening to music made by Christians? If you’re not a Christian reader, why not? Get with the program! Just kidding. 🙂 If you’re not a Christian, is the spiritual character of the music important to you too? Or do you think us Christians get way too hung up on things that don’t matter? Please leave some comments with your thoughts on the whole issue.