Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Emergent Monday: Name that Tune

I love Country Gospel Music, I really do. Everything is better with good Country Gospel Music. Anyone that owns more than two dogs will tell you that there's some jobs that need to be done regularly that question the sanity of owning any dogs. But when I slap on the head phones and put on some good Country Gospel, the task of de-toxing the back yard becomes another way of glorifying God. All minor tasks that used to annoy me are now a joy to perform because I get to sing to the glory of my maker as I do them. These versions of "Me and God" and "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" can get me through any task, no matter how difficult, distasteful or degrading. 

You may think that these two songs are at the opposite end of the country spectrum and you're partially right. Closer Walk is old school country: Sara Evans did an incredible job of introducing today's audience to Patsy Klein, steel guitar, and blue grass fiddle, Me and God is much more modern, very bouncy, very happy. But the similarities are striking - both are talking about a real relationship with God, and God isn't some fluffy nothing, God is Ruler of All, our master and lord. This is a concept of which Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) will have no truck with.

I have a few things against CCM, let's start with the first. CCM is based on Rock and Roll music. What's wrong with that? you ask. Everything. Secular Rock has nothing to do with the Glory of God, and if you don't realize it, watch this and educate yourself. How can you glorify God with Satan's instrument of attack? Consider Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
A good example is a cup of coffee. If go into a local mom & pop restaurant and order a cup of coffee, that's pretty much in good repute, no one will have a problem with a cup of coffee down at the SideTrack Cafe. But if I go into a strip club and order the same cup of coffee everything has changed. It's the exact same coffee but now the location being a strip club has tainted whatever good repute the coffee had. This is the same with secular rock music's effect on the message of CCM, if there was any excellence in the message, the vehicle's lack of good repute has destroyed it.

Second thing I have against CCM: Chainsaw. (You may not catch it from the lyrics, but it's a song. Supposedly a Christian song.)
Yeah, they like the way I do this
When I crank it like a (chainsaw)
Yeah, they like the way I do this
When I crank it like a (chainsaw)
Full throttle heavy metal
Set the bar next level
Wasteland gettin' all danky
Soul Glow (chainsaw)
Let it go with them elbows back
Engine smokin' like this track
Shirt's soakin' from all this sweat
Catch my breath (chainsaw)
That's about as good as it gets. This "song" never mentions God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, sin, redemption, salvation, mercy, grace, love,  it just goes on and on about a chainsaw. This is what happens to Contemporary Christian Music performers when they begin worshiping another god, the god of mamon, money, cash. They see CCM as just a step to a Big Recording Contract, unfortunately us dupes at the record store still think they're Christians and end up buying their blasphemy, Chainsaw is a perfect example of this, it's worthless unholy garbage and it's the  number 7 Contemporary Christian song of the week this week. The number 6 christian song of the week is called "I Gave Up"
Well I don’t need a house on top of the world
I like the car I’m driving
Everything I got ain’t what I’m worth
That’s not the reason I’m living
I don’t need to see my name in lights or leave any grand impression
I’ve got everything I need in life ‘cause love’s all we’re taking to heaven 
That's about as biblical as it gets. The "song" goes on and on about giving up stuff. You can say that the singer is giving up stuff to follow Jesus, but you shouldn't be saying it, the singer should be saying it. In reality Mark Schultz, the singer says that this song is about how he and his wife got back from a long trip and all their stuff was in storage and they got along fine without it. This is the only mention of God in the whole song: 
I gave up justifying and found who I was in my Savior’s eyes 
In an interview the singer admits he changed "other people's eyes" to "my saviors eyes" and >>POOF!<< he's got a top 10 CCM song even though it's not Christian by any means. This song is all about the singer, the singer did this, the singer did that. The singer found out who the singer was in the singer's savior's eyes. DUDE! It's not about you, it's about your savior. So many CCM songs are like that, they're secular songs where one or two words are changed merely for the appearances of being spiritual. Then there's too many others that are gutless, spineless, and cowardly;
Why waste my breath singing words of praise
That are filled with myself? Who's greater?
What love do I have that you didn't give
Cause all that I am is a product of grace.
And what should I trust, your love for me
Or my love for you? Who's greater?
Who? Who's greater? Say it! This is "Caught Dreaming" by Andy Mineo and For King & Country. The song goes on and on and on coming so close to being biblical, but they never generate the courage to say who they're singing about. Do it! Say "God" say "Jesus" say "Holy Spirit" it's so angering to hear a song get so close yet never hit the mark. Why do they do this? Simple - if the song is "too Christian" there's a chance that it might never cross over to the secular charts. Leave God's name out of the song and you have a chance to sign a Big Record Contract and slide merrily into hell on runners greased with the almighty dollar.

This is my biggest beef with CCM; generic plug & play songs you can punch into the secular market or fool well meaning Christians into thinking it's a worship song. It may anger my wife but if the song is being marketed as a worship song but does nothing to glorify God BY NAME, it's not allowed in my house. I actually distrust Satan just that much. Not all CCM songs are like this but there's more than enough that are joyless, secular blobs of bland to bring the whole Contemporary Christian Music industry deep into the mire of 

As for the music itself? Most of the CCM I've heard is bland, lifeless, boring, unmelodic, nothing. The singers voices are either whispy or raspy, untrained in any sense of the word and weak as chow-hall ice tea. The music itself is disjointed and uninspiring, bland and flavorless. You can't really sing along with it, you can't really hum the tune after church. All I can think to do is spit it out. CCM is the Church of Laodicea of the Christian music world. I dare any CCM artist/author/practitioner to come up with a CCM tune with the drive and the energy and the joy of the Perry's "I Wish I Could Have Been There" In three minutes of utter joy the Perrys cover a large portion of the New Testament, happily put into words one of my deepest longings, and they put the Gospel squarely into Gospel Music. Heck, I'll even include the lyrics for you to sing along.... because you can, and you'll want to.

Well a woman was healed when she touched the hem of His clothes
That's just one of those stories everybody knows
Oh I know the fact but I'd love to feel
what the blind man felt when his eyes were healed
He went running through the streets to share...

I wish I could have been there
When the thousands were fed with just two fish and some bread and see the little boy a packin' up the rest
I wish I could have been there
To see the lame that would leap and hear the dumb that could speak and see the multitudes of people Jesus blessed
I wish I could have seen the stone that went a rollin' away when they looked inside the door to where the grave clothes lay
I didn't see but I believe that He ascended in the air
And I really wish I could have been there

When He commanded Lazarus to walk right out of his grave
And in a Galilean storm He started calming the waves
I wanna feel that breeze blowing on my face
I wanna know the smell I wanna taste the taste
Just reading about it couldn't compare

There is not doubt about what they're singing about
They're singing with love
They're singing with energy
They're singing about my King

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