Christianity Today's Entertainment Blog recently had a post about the Dover Awards. The Dove's are the Christian version of the Grammy's...which means only Christians care about them! What struck me about the post was that they mentioned that Casting Crowns had won the previous five Artist of the Year Awards before losing out this year to Needtobreathe. While this sounds critical, saying Casting Crowns is an "artist" is like saying Nickelback reinvents their sound on every song!
I have been a big fan of Christian throughout my life. Especially as a teenager, Christian music was a source of inspiration for me and my faith. Now, I don't follow Christian music as much as I used too, mostly because I find a lot of the music made in the Christian genre (or Christian ghetto, depending on your view) to be lacking creativity musically and lyrically. For me, much of the Christian genre has become cheerleaders for Jesus rather than creatively communicating God's love, peace, grace, power and presence lyrically and musically.
The Church, in general, has lost the ability to influence culture through the arts, when the arts have the ability to communicate on such a powerful level. I'm thankful for mainstream bands (Christian and otherwise) whose music and lyrics point to God through beauty and grace. I could go on and name some bands, but I realize it's completely subjective! (Some of my personal favorites are U2, Needtobreathe, The Robbie Seay Band, Thrice, Derek Webb, Owl City, Switchfoot and Mutemath) Those of us in the church need to encourage the our congregation to use the arts with excellence to communicate the truths of God's love and salvation. We need to find our voice to communicate using the gifts and talents that God has given us. Some of us have been given gifts of music- we need to use it to the glory of God! Some of us have been given the ability to paint and sculpt- we need to use it to the glory of God! Let's not settle to produce material for the Christian ghetto- let's produce art that speaks to the world's heart about the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
Your turn- which bands/artist/songs speak to you about God's love, grace, beauty, peace, presence, justice or mercy? Talk it out in the comments!