I am interested in what Christians have to say about this. Why is so much of Christian music so bland and pablum-like?
1. The effect of religious music should be for worship, encouragement, edification. 2. Religious music should be true to doctrine. 3. Contemporary religious music has been lax on the above and high on entertainment. 4. Much of the drive with contemporary music has been monetary. 5. Imo, too much of religious music has been prayer songs. This is not good, since prayer is too sacred and personal to be sung by groups. For example, the song, "I surrender all." This prayer song to God, when sung by a congregation becomes a lie to God by some of those who sing along because that is the 'thing to do.' Also, Jesus said that all prayers should be offered to the Father in the name of him, the Son.
I've been in many churches over the last 58 years and have seen a gradual dumbing down of the quality and messages in contemporary Christian music. For the most part, the old hymns fit the ticket for worshipful and sound misic for Christians. This is not to say there's some other good choruses and songs. Some are even better than some of the old hymns. Not all of the hymns were that good. My comments pertain to the overall trend.
The church I presently attend sings only the old hymns for morning worship service and I really like that. It's refreshing after having been in other churches which have pretty much replaced them with contemporary choruses and repetative chants.
One more point: Too often public church service becomes a place for novice young musicians or even older folks to learn how to sing or play. Or because there's insufficient oversight, folks who want to perform are allowed to. Church special music should either be done well or left undone. Where it is not possible for quality special music to be part of a service the music should be limited to congregational singing. The apostle Paul declared that the church must consider the affect of a service to outsiders visiting the church. This can be applied to media Christian music also. Some of the blame for contempt of things pertaining to Christianity rightly falls on Christians.
I think that there is some validity in everything that has been said up until this point, but just to put my two cents in....
The first problem is accessibility, well around here anyway. We don't have a Christian radio station and the only christian book store we had burnt down in January. That was the only place in town that we could get Christian music. I know in the states you can get it at some wal-marts but not here. So there may be tons of great stuff out there, but until I discoved internet radio I had no real access to it.
The second thing I think affects it is that most Christians try to deny strong negative emotions. If you read through Psalms you'll see that it's through struggling with God on issues like suffering and pain that you learn to see and to trust Him. In many Christian circles if you look like your struggling with something it appears unspiritual, like you don't trust God and your too weak to get through whatever it is. Real peace, and joy comes through struggling with God and finding Him to be faithful. By denying our struggles and our feelings we end up with a bunch of Christians who choose to be numb from feeling instead of questioning God. The result of this is pablum-like songs from people who have not found God faithful because they've refused to get that close to him. There aren't songs speaking of negative emotions because they've been denied existance, and no songs of real joy because without struggle real joy cannot exist. I'm not saying this of all song writers but I think it's common.
I think the negative emotion thing affects most of the world's population, not just Christians. But that's just a side note.
On the note of good Christian music, my preferances go towards 12 stones, Thousand Foot Krutch, and Jeremy Camp.
Read this http://www.jeremycamp.com/walk.html and then the following lyrics... this is not pablum-like. This is the story of someone who has learned trust. I think that makes all the differance.
Scattered words and empty thoughts Seem to pour from my heart I've never felt so torn before Seems i dont know where to start But its now i feel your grace fall like rain From every fingertip washing away my pain I still believe in your faithfulness I still believe in your truth I still believe in your holy word Even when I dont see I still believe Though the questions still fog up my mind With promises i still seem to bear Even when answers slowly unwind It's my heart I see you prepare But its now that I feel your grace fall like rain From every fingertip washing away my pain The only place I can go is into your arms Where I throw to you my feeble prayers in brokeness I can see that this is your will for me Help me to know you are near
While this is very much a subjective question, I will concede that the majority of contemporary Christian music is not very pleasant to my ears.
I will inform you that there is a vast underground scene of Christian musicianship that rivals or is superior to secular music. However, if you are not an enjoyer of hardcore/metal/doom/black type music, you wouldn't find that to be pleasant either.
Yes, that's just one example of a band with a clear spiritual message that's quite popular; I would support the statement completely if the local radio stations would f**king STOP PLAYING 'This Time'!!!Wanna feel God? Step onto the wrestling mat and you'd be crazy to deny the uplifting spirit.