Tuesday, January 22, 2008

More of That Horrible Cotton Candy Music!

You crazy young people and your "jazz music" and your "Lindy hop" dancing! I have returned to this new-fangled contraption the kids are calling "the Internet" to impress my conservative friends with some close-minded venting. Here is just another example of how all songs that fall into the arbitrary category of "Contemporary Christian Music" (CCM) are empty and shallow. What's worse, they never talk about Jesus, Atonement, or the Cross:

By His Wounds (Isaiah 53:5)
Written by: Mac Powell and David Nasser
Performed by: Mac Powell, Mark Hall, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Brian Littrell
"Glory Revealed - The Worship of God in Worship" CD (Track #2)

He was pierced for our transgressions
He was crushed for our sins
The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him
And by His wounds, by His wounds we are healed

He was pierced for our transgressions
He was crushed for our sins
The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him
And by His wounds, by His wounds we are healed

We are healed by Your sacrifice
And the life that You gave
We are healed for You paid the price
By Your grace we are saved
We are saved

He was pierced for our transgressions
And crushed for our sins
The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him
And by His wounds, by His wounds we are healed

We are healed by Your sacrifice
And the life that You gave
We are healed for You paid the price
By Your grace we are saved
We are saved

He was pierced for our transgressions
He was crushed for our sins
The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him
And by His wounds, by His wounds we are healed
And by His wounds, by His wounds

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

You can see a live performance of this horrible, vapid song here.

...wait... that isn't the song I meant to use. I meant to cherry pick a bad example to use as a strawman to support my argument for hymnody. Ignore this one! Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain... booo boooo hymnody good... boooo... all CCM bad... booo... do not evaluate each song on its individual merit... booo... jump to conclusions and buy into the overly simplistic views of others... booo!

In case you did not get my obvious sarcasm, I am using this wonderful modern song to illustrate that not every work that is "contemporary" in style is inherently bad and devoid of all doctrinal content. Is it true that the most common and popular songs are garbage? Perhaps (the same is true in every generic musical genre... including the genre that is called "hymnody" which includes all hymnody which has its share of dribble and doctrinal error.) Does that mean that the baby should be thrown out with the bathwater? Absolutely not.

Saying that this particular song is or is not appropriate for the liturgy is a totally different discussion. We can talk about that like rational adults if you like, but it is important not to slander good, holy music (most of which is nothing but the versification of Holy Scripture) by lumping it in with all of the silly garbage. It is important to not take the worst examples to win an argument. I would never judge Lutheran Hymnody by using "In the Garden" as an example of what all hymnody is like. The same is true of Contemporary Christian Music.

It is this line of intellectual honesty that separates the patient protection of the Divine Service that is our duty as Christians from the blind, judgemental half-truths of self-rigtheousness that is division and sin.

...and lest someone say that this song is the exception and is not widely used, I would point out that it was performed live at the 2007 Dove Awards. Being on a Christian Music award show means that it is at least a little popular among those who listen to CCM. There are few artists as huge and widely recognized as Mac Powell and Steven Curtis Chapman.

2 comments:

elephantschild said...

AMEN. Excellent points.

And your distinction of what's appropriate or not for the liturgy as belonging to an entirely different discussion is also very good; thank you.

I'm an avowed liturgical curmudgeon, in general, but I won't deny good content when I hear it... as long as it stays on the radio & I don't hear our organist trying to play it!

(Found your blog thru a comment you posted somewhere else out in the Lutheran blogosphere. Don't remember where anymore.)

Mike Baker said...

Elephantschild,

Thank you for yor post. You and I seem to have similar (if not unpopularly moderate) views on CCM and its role as clean, useful cultural music.

It is important to tell the truth about CCM. It is all about winning hearts and minds. Supporters of CCM marginalize the constructive input from traditionalists who use half-truths and errors in attacking CCM.

The most important thing in any discussion in the truth. A person has to love the truth more than winning. In fact, getting to the truth is winning.