Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Musings on Music

Below is a link to a post written by my younger brother, Steve, who is also a pastor. The text is also below. Thought I'd share his insights with you about Christian music.

Cajun Roast Beef

Thoughts on Life, Religion and Stuff

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Christian Music That Isn't Embarrassing
I grew up in the church, and, in the mid-late 80's, I became obsessed with Christian music. Bands like Petra and White Heart and artists like Russ Taff and Michael W. Smith were commonplace in my tape deck (that's right, I had a tape deck!). Heck, I even went to a Stryper concert! I was a bonafide Christian music junkie.
But at some point Christian music lost it's soul, and it became rehashed top 20 radio with a "Christian" message. Really, it felt like a cheap imitation of top 20 radio. At some point I became embarrassed by it. I wasn't embarrassed that it was music about Jesus, but that it was music that, in my opinion, wasn't good art, and therefore didn't make Jesus look good.

Some of my issues were just typical college-age angst, but some of my thoughts were very legitimate. I still have a tendency to feel that way about much of the Christian music that hits Christian radio. So, what I try to do is scour iTunes for Christian music that is artistic, original, non-cliche' and grace affirming. Lately, I've found a few artists who meet my picky criteria, and I'd like to share them with you.

Now, I am an open music snob, so you have to factor that in. Some of my criticisms are probably unfair, and I am certain that most of the artists who make music today are extremely talented. These are just some of the artists and songs that are hitting me these days. I hope you enjoy this list of Christian Music that Isn't Embarrassing:

Daniel Crawford - Home

I haven't been this excited about a collection of songs by a Christian artist in a long time. The writing is honest and artful, the music is folksy, but with enough pop influence to make it playable, and the production is fantastic, especially for a self-released record (can you call it a record anymore?). Listen to Prodigal Son, Brought Me to You, and Changing Lanes. Really, the whole thing is excellent. Watch out for this guy, because he's really good. Oh, and by the way, he's an Aggie (which isn't necessarily a good thing, but might interest some of you who read this. You know who you are.).
Here's Daniel's song, Prodigal Son:

Vineyard Worship - Discover Roots Worship

This collection of grass roots worship is full of honest songs, the kind you could listen to on a dirt road or around a pool table. These songs reverently exalt Jesus Christ, but they are unlike the slick, overproduced numbers that pass for most mainstream worship these days. Not all of this record is great, but it definitely has its moments. The songs that feature Ryan Delmore are particularly good (Find My Joy and Flood). This one's worth a listen.

Citizens - Citizens

This band, if I'm not mistaken, is associated with Marc Driscoll and Mars Hill Church. While I appreciate and respect Driscoll, I'm not a huge fan. This band, however, has tremendous potential. The song, Hail The King, is one of the most original Christian rock songs I've heard in a while. Some people won't like the punk rock flair, but I really like it. There's a lot of passion in this one.
Need to Breathe

This band has really grown on me. The lead singer has a Kings of Leon feel, but the music is layered and unique. They will get some Christian radio air time, but this is not a band that seems overly concerned with the mainstream. They're sort of Creedence Cleerwater Revival meets Coldplay in the sense that they blend country soul with concept pop, and it really works. It may take a little while for it to fit, but if you're patient with it, you'll be really happy you gave it a try. This may be the next Christian super group (Not sure such a thing exists, but you know what I mean), and if it is, that would be real progress.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Why Tebow Will Be Fine

I'm a big fan of Tim Tebow. Despite the fact that he was so successful in college over my beloved LSU Tigers, I loved the character and inspiration he displayed. He is an outstanding young man and a worthy role model. While he may or may not put on another NFL uniform (which, by the way, I think will happen again), he will be just fine. Here's four reasons why:

1. He's truly a good person. People like Tebow, who are so kind to others, will have the kindness repaid eventually. As the old saying goes, you reap what you sow. Tim has sowed a lot of genuine goodness and it's been my experience that good people usually land on their feet.
2. He is a great athlete. As an athlete, Tim is elite. He may not have the greatest quarterback mechanics, but he's as strong as a bull and has the work ethic to squeeze every ounce of athleticism out of himself. I could see him continuing as a quarterback, transitioning to a tied end, being a fullback, or even calling plays as a "defensive quarterback" (a linebacker). But let's say he doesn't go back to football. Does anyone think he wouldn't be a great motivational trainer? Forget Tae Bo. Think Tebow!
3. He has tremendous charisma. With GQ looks, a cheerful disposition, leadership ability, and a heart for the hurting, he is a welcome alternative to the self absorbed celebrity of today. Tebow would be a great host for any humanitarian reality show. He could also continue his celebrity status indefinitely as a college football sports analyst. And I'll bet most college teams would love to have him on their coaching staffs.
4. He's close to God. Enough said.

So, I'm not worried about Tim Tebow. Although, out of all these options, my hope is that another NFL team will take him on and parley his tremendous potential into a successful career. I love watching the guy play and I love the role model he represents to our country. Geaux Tebow!