Monday, 18 August 2008

Christians & the Media

Getting the Christian message across in the media is a challenge. As we have seen at North Shrewsbury Community Church and as I have recently seen on national TV on the programme "Make me a Christian".

My posts on the Todd Bentley situation help explain my concerns with some elements of the "Christian" media.

So when I saw this video on Youtube I wasn't quite sure what to make of it.



On the one hand, what a great opportunity. On the other, how corny is that! Is it a great witness or a cheese-tastic sell out? Or a bit of both?

I can't help feeling uncomfortable when I see people singing a popular christian song apparently on the basis of its popularity amongst many of the "target audience", not the meaning of the song. And yet it is a wonderful song that glorifies Christ being sung to millions of people - what a fantastic witness.

What a shame then that by the time it came to the American Idol "Give back" show "Jesus" had been toned down to "Shepherd". What an oddity - the PC worship song, ideal for "non religion specific" worship. Barmy.




Although Joshua Harris helps to explain the situation on his blog here, here and here. There is always more than meets the eye.

I know for years Christians have said things along the lines of "If only we could get Christian worship into the mainstream" and stuff like that. Everyone had to buy Delirious singles the same week, and more recently download a Tim Hughes song in the same week to try to catapult our favourite worhsip leaders onto the national stage, but we never really got anywhere with it. I remember being asked to do with same with a Kendrick song back in the day. And yet all along elemtns of the church has maintained an undignified distance from Sir Cliff Richard. Whether you like his style or not - he is ridiculously popular and very very clear.

Few seem to know about the faith of Joseph Simmons (The "Run" in "Run DMC"), and no-one knows how to pigeon hole U2 and the journey members of their band have been on. The same people who want a Christian in showbusiness for the sake of witness are probably the same who would lambast their every move and judge their every statement and end up banning their kids from listening to their music.

Then along came "Mary Mary" and got to number 5 with this corker, and gazumped every mainstream christian artist wanting to break the charts.



If you're going to get more "Christian" songs in the mainstream, let's have them sung by Christians, popular by their own merits (not our plans to hijack a chart) and make sure the words sound a bit like this:

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise you
I just wanna praise you
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
And I'm gonna praise you
I'm gonna praise you

In the corners of my mind
I just can't seem to find a reason to believe
That I can break free
Cause you see I have been bound for so long
Felt like all hope is gone
But as I lift my hands, I understand
That I should praise you through my circumstance

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise you
I just wanna praise you
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
And I'm gonna praise you
I'm gonna praise you

Everything that could go wrong
All went wrong at one time
So much pressure fell on me
I thought I was gonna lose my mind
But I know you wanna see
If I will hold on through these trials
But I need you to lift this load
Cause I can't take it no more

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise you
I just wanna praise you
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
And I'm gonna praise you
I'm gonna praise you

Been through the fire and the rain
Bound in every kind of way
But God has broken every chain
So let me go right now

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise you
I just wanna praise you
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
And I'm gonna praise you
I'm gonna praise you

2 comments:

Lorikate said...

Wow. What a sellout! I've worked with a Christian dance studio for some years now, giving voice lessons. We all sing Christian songs...the studio owner believes that it's a witness. We've sung some stuff ourselves to witness to an unbelieving crowd. Difference is, we don't tone it down. How sad to replace the name "Jesus" with "shepard" just so you don't "offend". Well, it offends me to do so. Were they thinking about that?

Gareth Le Long-McKean said...

I'm a keen reader (in WH Smith's during my lunch break) of some of the Rock and Metal magazine. Over the last few years I've seen article after article in some of these magazines of new rock bands that are Christians. The quantity and quality have improved dramatically. Were once they would have got slated now the secular media are rating them and many are playing in the mainstream, at secular festivals etc. It's actually quite exciting. Check out 'tooth and nail' records and bands such as Mewithoutyou, as I lay dying, norma jean, flyleaf, the devil wears prada. Mission Praise it's not :) Long gone are the days of Petra, stryper and Cliff.

Though on the UK scene their ain't much. Many of UK Christian bands seem to struggle and as you've blogged it seems so forced and artificial to push Delirious into the charts. I personally think Delirious have never been chart material. They're type of music was still very safe. I think they tried too hard to keep a foot in both camps. If they moved away from that worshippy Christian sound, they're major fan base would be lost and they would have to start from scratch again playing small clubs and pubs.