NOTICE: Before this rant begins, a few important disclaimers. First, I am a “sinner”..and know it. Next, I know that I am far from ever being “perfect”. Also, I know that it is not my place to “judge” others. Lastly, even so, I know that I am a fallible “human being” and I will continue to make “observations” and “commentary” about people, institutions, etc. who profess a particular motus operandi and then deviate at will.
So, for today’s soapbox issue, I continue to observe a large majority of the Contemporary Christian Music (aka CCM) “business” just as pathetically arrogant (as in maybe a little snobbish), money motivated, and vanity ridden (otherwise tossed in with the boilerplate attitudes and song writing templates) as every other genre of today’s music industry.
Every CCM artist (and video) I watched on “YouTube” this morning was of the “Video-TV Friendly“ variety. As in, not one Mick Jagger (Rolling Stones), Angus Young (AC/DC), Steve Tyler (Aerosmith), Lemmy (Motörhead), Kurt Cobain (Nirvana…Yeah Grunge), Freddie Mercury (Queen), or any other <span style=”color: #008080;”>“Pre-MTV Era-Styled” musician/artist sans Botox, perfect teeth, hair, jawlines, eyes, you name it…were to be found. One single word sums it up, “LOOKS”! Indeed it would appear, “Video Killed The CCM Radio Star” as he was going about stabbing all the other “Radio-Era” musicians in the back and changing the face (ha!…a pun!) of music forever. I’ll save that topic for a rainy day when I have nothing else to write about…yep.
If you’re still unsure what I’m talking about, before the “MTV, VH1, YouTube, Internet Video-Era” emerged, music sold to a large extent based on…well…the music itself. Many fans hadn’t a clue what the musicians looked like…nor did they care. They wanted “the music”. And to be blunt, often times the artists behind the music were “NOT” of the “beautiful people” classification. They were, for the most part, common looking Joe’s like the majority of the human population. And of course, the “idiot tube” and “music videos” where quickly followed by an even worse abomination. Recording studios now had the tools, and skills to convert nearly any decent looking, breathing, human body into a “Superstar”. What? You mean my favorite Top-40 artist is incapable of performing her new hit song “live”? They’re doing what? Lip-syncing? Blaspheme!
Ok Ok…, so as I dig myself out of this giant rabbit hole and get back on topic, I’d like to offer a few lines from a song released when I was about three years old (and yes, I know…out of context):
“Something touched me deep inside,
…the day the music died.”
— Don McLean’s “American Pie” (1971)
Now, over the course of a few of my previous lives, I had the opportunity to meet both secular and Christian production personalities. These individuals, and I am referring to the Christian variety… pushing out “Music With A Message”…oozed a pungent, arrogant demeanor…as if their particular occupation had somehow elevated them to an “elite level” within the Christian faith. Basically, I am suggesting, because of their particular places of employment and activity in the music world…somehow made them…“Holier Than Thou.” Of course, we’re all quite familiar with how these situations typically play out. I can personally voice knowledge of at least one instance…pride did cometh before the fall. I take no joy in this knowledge whatsoever. In fact, as contradictory as I somewhat find myself, I prayed for them to find the strength and wisdom needed to piece their lives back together.
During my ownership of the “Red Rose Coffee House”, I made it a point to invite local CCM artists to perform at my establishment. Yes, some who came to perform (local bands…often members from church praise & worship teams) exuded this same attitude. I invited them into an established business I had acquired, a business with a reputation for catering to gay & lesbian clientele. I put myself in the lion’s den, I established a Bible study, I had long conversations with my college-kid crowd(s), I built a stage and installed a PA system (“Hey Obama…guess what…I built that”). I mention all these off-topic details, not to brag, but to establish my efforts and for a reason I feel people should know. The pastor at a local Baptist church just over the rail-road tracks on Middle Tennessee Boulevard ordered his congregation to “stay away” from my business. He had seen the calendar in a local college’s newspaper showing a lesbian sorority meeting up at my business.
So, I’m asking myself, how can someone sing, praise and profess such love of God, Jesus and His Eleventh Commandment…”to love one another”…and then display an attitude of, “I don’t have time to talk to some peon like you.” ? I know it has to be a tiring job touring and such…but that is the mission they chose. As such, shouldn’t they expect to be approached by their audience(s) and fan(s)? Wouldn’t you think these performers would rise to a higher standard if they’re going to preach (sing) to crowds of thousands of souls?
And yes, they do indeed preach through their music…and I can imagine people who hear these words and desperately want to discuss the subjects with the artists. When one sings of forgiveness, salvation, and the freedom Jesus Christ offers us to massive crowds…we would all pray that someone’s heart be touched. We would pray they seek out the musician(s) who just performed and want to know more about Jesus and Salvation?
I will concede, as with every other issue on this planet, my most trivial rant does not cover 100% of the CCM performers, producers, executives, or anything…period. There are “always” exceptions to every rule. I should be one to know…I’ve been living life as one of this world’s “exceptions” for quite sometime (…and I thank God for making each day I do). Even so, I must confess, it breaks my heart to see such vanity, greed, and elitism running just as rampantly (…if not more) within the CCM circles as it is with every other division of the music industry.
May God bless those who walk the line of truth…and my he open the eyes and hearts of those who may be walking amongst these disciples yet are deaf to the words they hear.
Psalms 100 (NIV)
1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.