Christianity and secular music

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domokunrox
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Christianity and secular music

#1

Post by domokunrox » Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:30 am

Hello all, new to the site. Christian here, like the site a lot because it has helped my ability to witness to non believers greatly. Anyway.

I wanted to bring up this topic with other Christians because I think its a very big topic I don't think gets much attention.

Being that I have been a musician all my life, I hold it very close to my identity and I recognize that my musical talent is a gift from God. However, I find myself inspired wholly by secular music and as a result my music compositions are exclusively secular. I have been examining myself and why this is and I've found that I draw more to secular music because its constantly on the cutting edge of musical creativity and the expression of words just say more about the struggles we face with humanity. I am not saying that Christian music like that doesn't exist. Sure, I can agree that the music I crave about my faith just never makes it to the limelight. I think there are bands who have made great strides in music, but they seem to be bands who are Christians who simply have good messages in their music. A good example is the band POD.

The question I am wondering is, why is it that we as Christians are afraid of pioneering music and going to those dark places? It just seems like its just so frowned upon to create artistic Christian music that doesn't speak about God or his message in every sentence. Sadly, I don't think its ever going to get there and it looks like we doomed to being unable break past the stereotype of Christian music.

We as Christians may never be able to engage a listener in the same way secular music does and say that God inspired it. I know some of you are thinking, well, what
Examples of music are you talking about?

Pink Floyd, ISIS, Deftones, Mastodon, Tears for fears, I am sure this one wont be popular with you guys but TOOL has been a big musical inspiration if you can bear through the poor messages in it.

I actually want to acknowledge real pioneers of our time who have done amazing work.
Switchfoot
Addison Road
Thousand Foot crutch

Anyhow, please discuss. I am eager to hear opinions. A little about me. I not only am a musician, I also record music professionally. The real kind. Not the bedroom hobbyist semi pros out there. Been a Christian for 8 years. Still can't get my wife to stop listening to the garbage hip hop on the radio. Hahahahaha.

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Re: Christianity and secular music

#2

Post by Seraph » Sun Aug 28, 2011 1:24 pm

I love all kinds of secular music. I listen to a lot of The Doors, Nine Inch Nails, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, and Radiohead.

I think secular music tends to be the best music instrumentally because the artist is focused on making the song itself impactful and catchy, while with worship music the instrumental sections are just supplementary to the lyrics which are concentrated on worshipping God.

I agree with you, I think it would be awesome if more mainstream bands made music that was revolutionary by music standards, but had God as the focus of the lyrics. I don't really listen to them much, but it seems that U2 does a good job of doing this.
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Re: Christianity and secular music

#3

Post by jestes » Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:02 pm

Have you guys heard of a band called 'Red'? One of my friends, who is basically an apathetic deist, told me about them. They aren't obviously a Christian band, but if someone told you they were and then you listened to their lyrics, it's VERY obvious. While I do like a lot of the stereotypical Christian artists, I'd like to see more Christian bands like Red. It might get more people listening to them and then hopefully the messages in the songs will rub off some.

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Re: Christianity and secular music

#4

Post by spartanII » Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:14 pm

I think secular music is better instrumentally but Christian music is good too. It's pretty awesome to see Christian artists deal with secular problems every now and then, like Hawk Nelson, and get away from the praise and worship songs that get a bit redundant in some Christian songs. If you want a really good secular band with really good instrumentation and who write really good spiritual songs every now and then, check out Dream Theater. They have some good stuff. If you want a song list, i'll write you one.
I'd check out songs by them like "I walk beside you"; "Forsaken"; "Pull Me Under"; "Endless Sacrifice"; "As I Am"; "Another Day"
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Re: Christianity and secular music

#5

Post by KravMagaSelfDefense » Sun Sep 04, 2011 7:13 am

Seraph wrote:I love all kinds of secular music. I listen to a lot of The Doors, Nine Inch Nails, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, and Radiohead.

I think secular music tends to be the best music instrumentally because the artist is focused on making the song itself impactful and catchy, while with worship music the instrumental sections are just supplementary to the lyrics which are concentrated on worshipping God.

I agree with you, I think it would be awesome if more mainstream bands made music that was revolutionary by music standards, but had God as the focus of the lyrics. I don't really listen to them much, but it seems that U2 does a good job of doing this.
I agree with you, in that most secular music is superior instrumentally. But the vocalist and the lyrics are for the most part insufferable. Most of the time I hear this really groovy beat on a soundtrack or something, and I'd pray for to continue uninterrupted... but then some auto-tuned vocalist comes on and starts shrieking something like "it's like we don't know each other anymore." A perfect example is the
song "Born This Way," if you think about it the chorus and the post-chorus are really catchy, but the words that go with them are unlistenable. What surprised me most was when she tried to invoke God's name to justify homosexuality, e.g. "'there's nothing wrong with loving who you are,' she said, ''cause He made you perfect babe'." (that song was messed up theologically. it would have been better for her to leave God out of it.)
Some of secular music is almost good, though; personally I like the one called Extreme Ways by Moby, you know the one that plays in the credits of the Bourne movies, and the instrumental version of Panama by Van Halen.

The hard reality is that mainstream Christian music has almost entirely degraded into shockingly low-quality music that really depends on the audience being swept away in the emotion of the moment. Doesn't really work when you get someone who actually knows music, knows theory, and can see the music for the regurgitated cliche that, really, most of it it is.
Personally I'd like it better if people focused on more of an classic-hymn sort of style, which was done beautifully in "In Christ alone" ("No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from his hand") but really isn't there in mainstream praise music anymore.
Instead of technically true but annoying words such as "we won't be satisfied with anything ordinary! We won't be satisfied at all!", "For a song in itself Is not what You have required", "I love, I love, I love your presence," or "why do I get freaked out" (not making that one up) or "you are worthy of all my praise," (I've literally heard that last one in at least five songs) why not do something like "Amazing Love, how can it be, that thou my God shoudst die for me?"
Or this verse from "How Great Thou Art":
"And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin."
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Re: Christianity and secular music

#6

Post by Danieltwotwenty » Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:34 pm

My favourtite Christain bands are Jars of Clay, DC talk (alternative prog. rock ), 7th day slumber ( similiar sound to Tool, very prog. rock), Paul coleman trio and many others.
The bands i have listed are very progressive in their music and have excellent instumentals, as a musician myself i appeciate good music and its not just the secular crowd that makes good music.
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Re: Christianity and secular music

#7

Post by Proinsias » Sun Sep 04, 2011 6:03 pm

Blues is a pretty good option for Christianity combined with instrumental skill.

Mississippi John Hurt's guitar playing is sublime:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGoVHeHh5w4

The Reverend Gary Davis is another personal favourite:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16mXXv_O0ms

Bach is a pretty good option too. One of the greatest and most influential of all time:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhBfsm_AZYs

I'm a big Woody Guthrie fan:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDS00Pnhkqk

I think Big John Burson's "I'm Feeling Fine" is the most toe tapping and big smiling religious based song I've ever heard:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUyu8UkPodI

I'l stop now

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Re: Christianity and secular music

#8

Post by narnia4 » Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:19 pm

I think there's a sometimes unnecessary divide between "Christian music" and "secular music by Christians". Johnny Cash professed to be Christian, sang Christian songs, and put a number of Christian messages in a good number of his songs. And yet, he'd probably be considered a secular artist.

Christian music and "music with Christian themes", well its stronger in some genres than it is in others. As someone mentioned in blues/gospel style you have good Christian stuff. Pop music or rap, not as much. Classical or folksy or country style? Absolutely, some of the best music in those styles have been explicitly Christian. Like Handel, a personal favorite of mine. Switchfoot is a good example of a good band that's Christian. Then you have other musicians, a guy like Phil Keaggy who may not be that well know by a lot of people but in guitarist circles he's recognized as one of the best guitarists ever.

But I like different secular stuff. Probably older stuff more than newer stuff, but I'll go for almost any genre (I tend to avoid stuff with lots of language however).
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Re: Christianity and secular music

#9

Post by Rob » Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:35 pm

I'm also a musician.
I love praising God, but generally dislike most praise and worship songs. Especially newer ones.
Not the message, just the music and melody. There's only so much of the key of G I can take.

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Re: Christianity and secular music

#10

Post by jlay » Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:57 pm

I too am a musician and have written many songs. And similarly I've never written a praise or Christian song per se. Although, I have had elements of my faith appear in the lyrics. My college band just did a reunion gig and we covered The Allman Brothers, Hendrix and The Doobie Brothers.

Some of the newer Christian artists are just as talented if not more than much of the purely secular music. Toby Mac's music is great.
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Re: Christianity and secular music

#11

Post by Byblos » Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:35 pm

jlay wrote:My college band just did a reunion gig and we covered The Allman Brothers, Hendrix and The Doobie Brothers.
:esurprised: I would have absolutely loved to have been at that concert. Saw the Doobies in concert several times, Allman brothers I am hoping to still see, and Hendrix ... well it's Hendrix, like none other.
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Re: Christianity and secular music

#12

Post by Alpha~Omega » Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:31 pm

I don't know how many of you guys like metal, but i sure enjoy it!

I would say there is alot of good quality christian music within that genre and its sub genre's. One of my favorite's is Theocracy.
For instance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yK42DkmsqzE
Notice the great rhythm accompanied by true words of faith in Christ. If you don't understand what there saying,(which isn't an uncommon problem) read the lyrics and you'll find yourself going "oh!! I see now!"
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Re: Christianity and secular music

#13

Post by kmr » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:27 pm

I don't know why so many Christians have issues with "secular" christian music... I, myself, write music all the time, in various genres... neo-classical style, contemporary, jazz-influence and jazz, for orchestra, bands, and small ensembles. Fundamentally, the music varies very little and from a musicians' perspective, secular rock music is quite similar to contemporary band music, which was derived from orchestral and choral works. As long as the music expresses God as its focus, nobody should want to oppose it just because of the types of instruments in the ensemble or the style and influence of the music.
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Re: Christianity and secular music

#14

Post by neo-x » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:46 pm

I don't have anything against secular music. on the contrary I love it. To me a lot of christian music has gone stale. They don't try anything new and while I enjoy the almost evergreens as "Amazing grace" with a full orchestra, I would love to see good christian music as well, I am sure there are some good bands who make good christian music but not enough to break true ground.

See for a musician it is all about music itself but for a christian musician it is about God. I guess that is a major factor is why we don't see a lot of "newness".

On a side note, I play guitar and learning the piano, and I don't usually sing christian songs, nor hear them much and I do not think anything's wrong with me doing this.
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Re: Christianity and secular music

#15

Post by domokunrox » Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:52 am

I love all the reposes here. I am glad I am not alone.

Something I noticed last week during praise at church is that I get tired singing. Yes really. The singing just holds out far longer then what I am comfortable singing. My jaw usually hurts by the end of it.

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