I have realized that too often lately I turn the radio to a major hit station like i93 or iheart radio, or on Spotify my first choice is to listen to songs that please me in the now. Artists such as Lana Del Ray, Sam Smith, Maroon 5, Ed Sheeran, and numbers of others, all fill my head with their catchy beats and well-written lyrics that capture a mood, emotion, or sentiment. The artist in me responds to the soul in these songs which makes it to the top charts. I have begun to tend towards the view that “Christian” music, movies, and fiction is inferior to the success, glamor, and power of pop culture media. What I am missing is the promise that dwells at the very core of what I label as Christian–the potential striving of a musician, an artist, a writer, who strives to bring light to the world. My generalization, haughty and rather patronizing of the church, I must admit, is one of the most damaging mindsets existent today. Even as I strive to seek the Lord, I am pulled towards the world and its wondrous beauty, its profound talent. Why?
I could give you the cliche, basic answer that Christians who have grown up in the church could give you: “the world wants to pull us in”. And as cliche as that sounds, it’s true. Yeah, you reading this might just chuckle and roll your eyes because I am trying to sound like such a philosopher, mechanically repeating an exhausted caveat of the Church. I am saying it because it is true for those who wish to seek God. DC talk defines the walk with Christ as “the narrow path which you [Christ] have carved”. Why do Christians strive to reach out via music, film, and fiction, making their own genre (Christian film, music, and especially the Amish-dominated Christian fiction)? Because we are called. Why would we want to just sit back and stay safe within the walls of our churches? Why would we want to be merely content with a musical follower of Christ who sings his original songs on the church stage, instead of using a recording studio and extensive radio network to expose his God-inspired songs?
Why would we want to simply blog and pass around books written by a literary Christian? Why not go ahead and strive to publish at a major publishing house?
When I ignore or scoff at Christian media I am in a sense turning to the world as my source of entertainment, fulfillment, and sensory thrills. I am essentially stepping away a wonderful passion and potential that rests in artists who want to honor God with their talents. Why should I have to settle for the talent of pop culture royalty? Sure, they sound good. They look good. They make good stuff. But that shouldn’t be a reason to settle for them, and let them dominate America. Because even that which creates the most delightful feelings in us does not automatically make the catchy song of “La La La” or “Stay the Night” right.
What I’m trying to say is, the Church, the Bride of Christ, has a mission. So often I have almost subconsciously decided that this mission is either unsuccessful, unimpressive, or simply unattractive. That is not to say that I see a complete lacking in Christian Media. I greatly admire the music of TobyMac, DC Talk, Newsboys, Natalie Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, and many others. But sometimes, I just want to listen to i93, let my adrenaline get pumping to a catchy song. And this isn’t wrong, but I question my priorities. If I really mean what I say about the Church reaching out to the world, daring to stand up to the giant of Pop Culture, Ivy League scholars, and the Left Wing, we definitely have something–I mean someONE–going for us. God blessed Hollywood actors with their ability to capture emotion, perform on the silver screens. He gave singers such as Demi Lovato and Ed Sheeran their beautiful voices. HE is in control. So why can’t we look to Him (why can’t I look to him??) and realize that He is behind who we are and what we do. In fact, what we do comes from who we are. And when we are in Him, what we do can be better than anything imagined. It can change hearts. It can give hope. It can stir the embers of the truest love–that love which Christ had for us, when He hung on the cross.