The Strange Brew that is CCM

As I’ve noted before, much of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) misses the point, but Jars of Clay’s Dan Haseltine seems to have the right idea:

There’s a lot of different things that don’t seem to be working that should in the music industry. It’s a hard thing—selling the Christian message [in pop music], because pop music is telling people what they want to hear and packaging it in a way that’s familiar to them.

The Gospel is the most offensive thing anybody would want to hear. It’s telling you that apart from God you are nothing, that you need God in order to exist, in order to have life. And pop music would say, “Yeah, you’re amazing.” It wants to build us up when the Gospel wants to tear us down in a way that says ‘You need God. With God you are everything, without God you are nothing.’ How do you marry that with pop music? It’s a contradiction in and of itself.

It’s rare that a musician will admit deficiencies in his own genre—then again, Jars of Clay has never fit quite well into any mold. If, as Marshall McLuhan posited, “the medium is the message,” then the merging of pop music and Christianity is indeed a strange brew.

As usual, Paul said it best,”Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2, ESV) If CCM is ever to have any real effect outside of a Christian subculture, it will need to be more transformative and less imitative.

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