I’ve never been much of a fan of contemporary Christian music. The message is too soft. This does not make me a big fan of many traditional hymns either. Many of them are too sentimental and breed a form of cultural escapism.
Some so-called Christian bands have tried to emulate the grittiness of secular musicians by looking and performing like them. These “Christian” copycats do little to advance the kingdom of God.
It’s even worse when you find out that many of these “Christian” bands aren’t Christians at all but made up of atheists.
“Tim Lambesis, lead singer and founder of Christian metalcore band As I Lay Dying, recently confessed that he and other members of his band had become atheists but kept claiming to be Christians so they could keep making money selling records to Christians.”
“Lambesis was arrested on May 7, 2013, in Oceanside, California, for attempting to hire a hitman to murder his estranged wife and subsequently sentenced to six years in prison on May 16, 2014.”
I realize that appearance isn’t everything, but it’s something. Is this what Christian young people are following?
I realize that a straight-laced looking band can be just as bad, but this guy should have been something of a sign post.
How could this happen? Because we’ve been conditioning young people to follow after crap. Consider the whole “Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus metamorphosis. Parents were taking their daughters to her concerts.
The Christian message has been trivialized, turned into pop slogans, borrowed from the advertising world. The Bible is turned into a book of moral stories not much different from Aesop’s Fables.
There are “Things go better with Christ” (“Things go better with Coke”) t-shirts. How about the God’s Gym” (Gold’s Gym) mouse pad with Jesus doing a push-up with the cross on His back? Christians are enjoined to “Bench Press This!”
There are “Testamints: The Mints with a Message,” borrowed from the breath-candy Velamints, “Godsword: Thirst Quencher” (Gatorade), Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego Brand Hot Sauce T-shirts (Tabasco Hot Sauce), “VeggieTales,” and “WWJD” lollipops.
“Got milk?” becomes “Got Jesus?”1
The Jesus of the New Testament would be unrecognizable today.
One of the most embarrassing things is to see placards at Christmas time that say “Happy Birthday Jesus” adorning the front lawns of church goers. It makes my skin crawl.
Christianity has become a religion for children. The sloppy, syrupy books about Jesus and what it means to be a Christian can only be appreciated by eight-year-olds. Is it any wonder that so many teenagers and college-age kids throw off such childish nonsense and never come back to the faith?
Publishers’ catalogs used to lead with non-fiction theological works, now you have to wade through pages and pages of “Christian fiction” before you get to the good stuff. If you can find it. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some good books being published. It’s just that the average Christian bookstore doesn’t carry them. The bookstores really can’t be blamed since they are only catering to the tastes of their customers. To stay in business, they have to stock the “Jesus Junk.”
Christians are suckers for this kind of stuff, so it’s no wonder that young people gravitate to it and eventually reject it like they do the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.
- For an exposé of the “Jesus-Junk” industry, see John B. Murdoch, “Kneel, Santa, Kneel,” Christian Advertising Forum (September/October 1986). Also see Colleen McDannell, Material Christianity: Religion and Popular Culture in America (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995). [↩]
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