Michael Gungor, the guy who wrote the instant hit ‘God is not a white man‘, has written a very interesting blog post about the genre of christian music, a topic I am planning to also write about in the near future.
The 2 problems he sees with the ‘Christian music’ category’ are very interesting:
First there is the issue of discrimination. If a record store had a “gay music” section, people would be infuriated. Why? Because it’s discriminatory. To relegate someone’s art to a small subculture of sub-art simply because that person is gay is wrong. It hurts that artist. It hurts all of us. I think it’s the same with Christian music. There are plenty of us who are Christian artists who have no desire to simply stay within some CCM ghetto around people that all think the same about everything. There are plenty of us who are open minded to the thoughts and opinions of others who would love to enter the conversation of our culture not as a superior, bigoted judge of the rest of the world, but as a fellow human being who also has opinions and thoughts about the world that we live in that we love to express through music.
Being placed in the Christian section is the musical equivalent of a pizza company being forced by somebody to call their pizza place “Pete’s Christian Pizza” even if they’d rather not. Can you see how forcing a business person to label their business a Christian business just because they are a Christian would be discriminatory? It is the same thing forcing a musician who simply wants to make beautiful and honest music into the Christian category of music. You might as well paint a scarlet letter across our chests.
Secondly, I think that this categorization hurts the art. Because this category exists, it comes with baggage. Imagine if you were a Republican, and you really believed Republican values, but you found out that if you wanted to make a record that it would be placed in the small Republican Music section in the back of the store. That might effect how you make the music… If you are going to make a “Republican record” as opposed to simply making a record as a Republican, it would probably effect the art. In fact, it might have a tendency to overtake the art and turn it into Republican propaganda. The music becomes secondary to the message, which means the music is probably going to suck. You can only rhyme “Limbaugh” with so many things after all… (more here)
Michael is right on in my opinion. What do you all think? If we’d be consequent and put music in categories of content, we’d have a ‘hate and violence’ section with a lot of rap and some metal, and an ‘empty oversexed nonsense’ with a lot of top 40 R&B and pop. Now that would be interesting
And the next song (a 2001 hit from the dutch symphonic metalband within temptation) would be definitely in a ‘pagan gaia worship’ corner of the record store… I’ve always found that the whole CD sounded a lot like a Christian album but then from another religion, and that’s not really a compliment I’m affraid.
stay (un)tuned, I hope I’ll get back at this topic soon…