In my last entry I attempted to convey a sense of passion that I find many times in secular music but lacking in contemporary Christian music. And since I don’t think I fully explained myself, I will take another shot at it.
Passion, the noun, is defined as: any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, such as love or hate.
It has been my experience that, as far as passion goes, there seems to be a lot more to find in the world than in my Christian experience. And before you go to far with that, let me say that I have been around the block a time or two.
I was born again, set free from a life long addiction to cigarettes and baptized in the Holy Spirit all in one fell swoop during a home church meeting in a friends house in early 1979. I subsequently threw away all my “men’s” magazines and began to live the Christian life as a dialog with a living Lord. In the process, I became a pharisee, threw away all my secular books and sold my collection of over 500 albums. Not that that was a bad thing—as new Christians we need a time of not being pulled this way and that—a time to get into the word and find out about what we had just signed up for.
But when it becomes a part of what you think that makes you holy, then it is time to re-evaluate.
For the next several years, I only listened to Christian music (Amy Grant, Steve Green, White Heart, Barry McGuire and 2nd Chapter of Acts) and read the bible. Then we morphed into an end-time church and I even got rid of all that. Talk about jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
Sandi didn’t wear pants because women were not supposed to dress like men. Swimmng was out: where could one find a “modest” bathing suit. We didn’t do Christmas trees, eggs on Easter or Halloween.
One day we “woke up” and realized that we had drifted away from the freedom we had been born again into and began our slow journey into main stream Christianity—albeit with a charismatic twist.
Hopefully you can now make the leap with me into 2007.
For a long time I didn’t listen to contemporary Christian music at all. Most of it seemed miles away from where I lived. It was “rose garden” stuff with just enough rhythm to keep me coming back but not really challenging artistically. Then I read some of John Eldridge’s books and I was convinced that we could correspond with our culture and not be consumed by it. He quoted Crosby, Stills and Nash and told stories about Greek mythology. I began to use Bob Dylan quotes when I was given the opportunity to speak at church.
What I am trying to convey here is like the difference between Christian films of the 80’s and Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of Christ”. There is a world in between them. Most Christian themed cinema stuff I would categorize as movies. The Passion was a true film—worthy of a place beside any hollywood Oscar winner. And this is the essence of what I am trying to reach—like the difference between Sealtest, Bryers, and Hagen-Daz ice cream.
Does much of contemporary Christian music lack “depth” if depth is defied by me as a passionate cry that resonates in my inner being. Does it bring tears to your eyes or make you want to get up and dance around the room. Does it suggest, as Rich Mullins did in “Hold Me Jesus”, that if given our own inclination, we will put ourselves in line to be tempted by sin just to see what it feels like. Not that we will fall, mind you. But somehow we need to be challenged and in process overcome. It is a part of the “epic” that we find ourselves a part of.
Somewhere inside of me is a song that is waiting to be written. In it, I will see a portion of my salvation and be released into a realm of the spirit that will be like a waterfall—it will be intense and gentle at the same time. And it will so charge the atmosphere around me that healing will be released.