Why Should the Devil Have all the Good Music?

This Sunday…is Music Sunday.
I’m a BIG music fan, but not of any particular genre per se.
There’s nothing better than to sit on stage with the brass band behind me and feel the vibration through the floor. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. But I’m also good to clap along with an upbeat praise chorus as well, or sway to a slow emotional love ballad to God. And then when you all sing a capella…well, there’s nothing more moving.
If you were to see my apple tunes list, you might feel a bit schizophrenic. My favorite music would be “prog” or progressive rock. Think Dream Theater, Kansas, or Spock’s Beard. Prog is a bit like Bohemian Rhapsody, “Way Cool!” but it doesn’t fit on the radio.
But right after that, you might actually hear some stuff from Hillary Duff, from the 90’s. Yeah…I know…but when your raise three girls that stuff gets stuck in your head. Then we might swing back to some Metal, a little Country, then NF and Lecrae. You might even hear some Eminem if it’s the clean version.
I really listen to a lot of “made for Soundtrack” music for inspiration…bellowing timpanis and violins, that rise in crescendo above a dub-step beat. And for whatever reason, my music suggestions, always give me at least one song of “Scream-O”. Go figure.
The first music album I ever purchased with my own money, was Petra’s “Not of this World” Album. The cover featured a guitar in the shape of a spaceship, resembling something out of Star Wars or Battlestar Galactica. One of the songs I really liked was called “Judas’ Kiss” which started off with a “backmasking” of someone saying, “Why should the devil have all the good music?”
Petra emerged as the first mainstream “Christian Rock” band, flowing out of the “Jesus music” of the 70’s, with Larry Norman, Keith Green, and 2nd Chapter of Acts. Their hope, was to bring Jesus, to a new generation of people, who no longer listen to 19th century bar tunes, civil war battle songs, or early 20th century folk music.
And so, the Contemporary Christian Music industry was born. My mom got hooked on the Imperials, who seem pretty tame nowadays. In church, I sang Amy Grant’s “El Shaddai”, as a teen. She was quite popular in Christian circles until the church excommunicated her as a “sell out”, for making a “secular” album. But she, and others, opened the door for popular music to be sung “in church”. I mean…how many Sandy Patti, Steve Green, or Twila Paris songs can you remember?
All the while, my Dad is still complaining that the old hymns were better.
Still, we threw out our hymnals, and replaced them with Contemporary “Christian” songs. In my first church, I found a screen and an overhead projector, and I put it up on the platform. The congregation thought I had lost my mind, until I started putting Bill Gaither lyrics up there. Then they rejoiced, because the old Hymnals didn’t have Southern Gospel.
You just have to know your market.
We quoted this week’s parable, “about pouring new wine into old wineskins”, and that we were changing everything to reach a new audience. Seeker-sensitive, was the new buzzword. Reaching unchurched Harry and Sally was our rallying cry. And the division between traditional and contemporary worship began.
We reminded all the “old timers” that the hymns “they liked”, were once bar tunes, so “get with the times.” And if they didn’t, we laid down the guilt trip, that they really didn’t care about reaching new people.
But was that the purpose of this new wave of “Christian music”? Was Christian music, meant to save Sunday morning “worship” from being boring and irrelevant to the unchurched? Was this really a case of Luke 5:37’s “new wine in old wineskins”?
Actually, the answers to those three questions are: it WAS, it SHOULDN’T be, but yes…sort of. And if you want to know more…then I guess I’ll have to explain it more on Sunday.
See you in church.