Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Artistic Freedom Pt. 2

There is one more major issue for me when picking music. It has to do with how a band labels themselves as opposed to who their music reveals them to be.

let me explain:

Switchfoot, (a favorite of mine for quite some time) very rarely uses the name of God. They prefer not to be labeled as a Christian band but as a band made up of Christians. This a decision I don't have a problem with.
On the one hand they certainly reflect Christian values: Treating their fans well, being involved with numerous charities and writing clean, creative and thoughtful music.

Despite all of this, they very rarely use the name of God.
In fact it wasn't until this week that I heard a new song which contains the name of Jesus. This is the first time I've heard them use the name of Christ in their music.

This has really been a matter of contention for me. If a band loves God, (As I believe this band does) then what's wrong with using His name in a song? On what pretext to the refrain from doing so?

This has presented a dilemma for me, as to whether or not I should be enjoying music which claims the Christina faith as it's own, but apparently refuses to use God's name in their lyrics. Now, I understand that not every song is going to be worship based and their isn't a need for spiritual references in every track. Yet, a little more acknowledgment of the Creator seems appropriate.

Switchfoot qualifies as an Alternative Rock band. This problem of 'quiet Christianity' seems to plague this segment particularly.
I understand not ever band who fits into this genre has Christian affiliations, just look at Fall Out Boy.

I'm talking about Bands like:
12 Stones
House of Heroes

This isn't a perfect list by any stretch of the imagination but it gives you some idea of what I'm talking about.

Then you have a large number of mainstream artists who claim to be Christianity, yet their music doesn't reflect that. Miley Cyrus and Beyonce come to mind.

I don't have a hard time writing off such musicians.

What about all those 'Quiet Christian' bands? For now, I'm gonna keep listening.
Yes, there could be more credit given to God in their music but that doesn't necessarily make them sinful.

I'm going to function under the assumption that this disparity I see is purely unintentional.

Any thoughts guys?

Thanks for reading!



  1. I think that "quiet Christiantiy" can sometimes confuse non-Christian listeners. For example, Skillet's song "Rebirthing" deals with being reborn in Christ, but never do they say anything about Christ. It's just implied. I'm sure many of the listeners of this band are confused as to what rebirthing is.
    I wonder if bands do this so their listeners are drawn in to the music, but when they look deeper into the lyrics, they realise there's something more there. Jesus says that those who seek him with all of their hearts will find him. Perhaps this is the goal of these quietly Christian bands.
    In Skillet's song "Hero", the lyrics to the bridge are:
    "Who's gonna fight for what's right / Who's gonna help us survive / We're in the fight of our lives /(And we're not ready to die) // Who's gonna fight for the weak / Who's gonna make 'em believe / I've got a hero (I've got a hero)/ Livin' in me..."
    People searching for something more can see these small things in the music and begin to find Him.

  2. Avoidance of using the Lord's name in a careless manner or what others will repeat in a careless manner seems a deep concern for being reverant.

    Exodus 20.7
    You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

  3. I agree with Steph. I love "quiet Christian" bands because they pull in non-Believers in a non-obnoxious way XD And it's refreshing to be able to listen to some music that you know is "safe" and "good", but no so in-your-face Christian.


  4. I believe that the disparity with 'quiet Christian' bands is intentional. It allows them to speak the message of God to those who would be turned off by the thought of a 'Christian band', and draw more listeners in. Plus, if they concentrate on the music as a way to convey what they believe, instead of saying 'I'm a Christian, but if you want to know about that go check out the bible', I don't really think of it as a 'disparity' at all. I found the ordeal with Evanescence interesting, how they used the Christian label to gain an audience (because there were fewer Christian artists in their genre than mainstream) when they didn't even feel it, when they weren't even Christian. But anyway, I have a lot more respect for 'quietly Christian' bands than those who advertise their faith but never show it in their music. And I also agree with Tragedy 101, great point!

  5. Thanks for the opinions guys.!

    Elizabeth: Yeah, it does irk me a bit when bands use the 'Christian' label to get signed and gain a platform. I would argue that Paramore has done that as well.

    Steph and Kendra: I do see a lot of 'Quiet Christian bands' reaching out to people who wouldn't normally listen to Christian music. It goes back to the idea of being, 'all things to all men,' I suppose.

    I do often wish mainstream Christian artists could jump out of their niche and write about a greater selection of topics.

  6. Some bands kind of have their "thing" they write about. Like, the reason I like Skillet so much is because they write about life sucking, and my life really sucks. So, I can really connect with them.