Press EN 12.30.08
By Richard Beattie
The Songs of a Generation
We are connected to and through music. There is a reason why I know songs I would never buy or listen to but were put into my mind without my expressed permission! Case in point “The Top 10 songs that I can’t get out of my head- but wish I could,” should be a Billboard category. The opposite effect are the hundreds of songs that have reached my cerebral cortex and quickly headed south to my heart. These songs are what music is about- and when I was a Music Minister in the halls of health care centers throughout Denver- these were the songs worth sharing. What God did with those songs were miraculous in getting the stroke victim to sing, getting the brain and spinal injury patient to write songs, and the Alzheimer’s patients to dance. We are connected through music and we are called to reach the least of these with song.
King David chose musicians not for their musical ability but more for their prophetic gifting. This is intriguing and I have met more than one singer-songwriter who had both musical and prophetic talent that we have never heard of- since their ambition was God’s dream for them- and not agents, or producer’s dream. Their art that would be too rich for the Top 40, their songs too worshipful and based on truth that bring grown men to their knees in a culture that will deny the mystery of faith. I do not say this with any malice or contempt for the culture, I just shake my head to know what we are missing!
Safe-Maybe-Substantive? Not so much
I have been critical of Christian pop music in the past and for good reason. From the streets of the studios in Tennessee there has been too much emphasis on competing with the mainstream, and it has given the message a “Christian Light “Splenda” effect.” The Heart of the Psalmist is absent in the mix and I am afraid that the watered down sound is an indication of an imitation of genre and format as opposed to and imitation of the Creator’s inspiration. I drove around and listened to a local station and national network and was surprised that a pop song by Kenny Loggins from the early eighties had made the Christian Top 40 -that was “safe for the whole family.” I would rather have “always good- not safe” in my repertoire anytime.
Indie Heaven and Power Praise
I have been privileged to plug into some of the remnants of Christian Power Praise music from artists heard from Indie Heaven. The sound is authentic, the message is Truth and the “heart of the psalmist” can be heard from their weekly program. One of the pioneers of Christian contemporary music, Michael Card made a statement years ago about the charts, and the coming format and business of praise music. He was adamantly against it and “thought it was contrary to praise.” Nevertheless he continues to be a voice for the gift and talent of music in Nashville and worldwide.
I am hoping that in the next year that the airwaves, the broadband, and the churches will play music that will bring people into a closer relationship with Christ. I am hoping and praying that the psalmists for our time may start having a more prominent and prophetic role in speaking, and singing truth in to the lives of listeners than ever before, and that the music would resonate and inspire with songs for the generations.
Richard Beattie writes Press EN, Monday through Friday. It is a media-arts review from a Biblical Mindset. Beattie is the founder of Envoy Creative Media in Colorado, a media group that prepares media-teams to engage the culture in their communities. If you are interested and are involved in journalism, internet, music, broad,stream, pod-casting, or you are an author, filmmaker, or artist and you have a yearning for influencing the culture with the gospel call us at (888) 266-3180. Envoy Media Teams are popping up everywhere! Christian Businesses and artists are merging together to impact the culture- Be a part of excellence in media-arts! http://www.envoytown.com.