Christian Music: Art or Commerce?

I read an article the other day which asked the question, somewhat problematically for me – ‘Is Christian Music Dying’. Inspired by another, much earlier post by Michael Gungor – it focuses upon the relationship between using Art as a message to reflect the Gospel (Christians making great music) – or what Gungor originally described as ‘formula driven music’ – which has the potential to lack authenticity due to a potential disjuncture between the words of the music and the ’emotion’ of the singer. I am writing this as a Christian, who performs and listens to the music being criticized – so am sort of sitting on the fence on this one – asking for other opinions.

What I would suggest, is that when considering this, one needs to be clear regarding the distinction between the multiple instances of a recorded piece of music being sung in the local church (which according to my own experience is in the main very authentic) – and that of the Christian music industry – and it’s potential, like any industry, for incorporating mediation in order to sell product. I have to say that I have personally found the songs themselves to be genuine conduits in leading a congregation into the presence of God. However, I do concede that like all music – some evangelical songs have a tendency to be more ‘formula driven’ than others: but is it an equatable thing to assert that ‘worship music’ as an entity is riddled with inauthenticity – I would suggest not, although I do understand (in places) where Michael Gungor is coming from.

I would also suggest that some music written by non Christians can also act as a conduit to God. For example, I was listening to Supers Ready the other day by Genesis – a piece that has always impacted me on this level – which was made more profound when I  recently discovered it was inspired partly by the Book of Revelation. I would be interested in examples of other pieces of music that has had this type of impact on people.

 

About Paul Carr

Academic working at the University of Glamorgan
This entry was posted in Academic, Musicology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s