A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Faith Based Music

Wesley Blog asks why a Methodist sponsored conference picked Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls to give a talk instead of some Christian artist. Is Shane familiar with the Indigo Girl's music and lyrics?

Their songs are filled with profound religious insights. I count them as my favorite Christian band. Philosophy of Loss, Closer to Fine, All That We Let In, Galileo have messages that make most "contemporary Christian" music pale in comparison.

Their music has been a backdrop to the work of our campus ministry. Their version of the hymn This is My Song is regularily sung at our weekly worship services. My dream is that the Indigo Girls would consider doing a whole cd of hymns like this.

I again offer an apology for my infrequent postings. I hope to rectify this, but we'll see how that goes. Easter is coming soon. This season reminds me of the pressing need to look for resurrections and signs of hope in our world, even when the evidence points the other way.


At 6:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. I completely agree with you.

The Indigo Girls write music that is:
1. Very popular.
2. Thoughtful.
3. Spiritually-attuned.

I think those are the reasons Shane and his ilk don't like them - because they are threatened by their success, creativity, and talent. I am saddened that so many people in our church can only see one dimension of any person: are they gay or not? The fact that sexuality is all they really care about indicates that they are neither thoughful nor spiritually-attuned, though someitmes they do become quite popular, since we all like having our fears and hatreds reinforced.

At 2:52 PM , Blogger Shane Raynor said...

OK Anonymous...
You don't seem to understand my views at all. My thoughts about supporting a Christian artist weren't meant to imply that a secular artist can't be a Christian. I thought I made it very clear that homosexuality wasn't the issue on this for me. And I was responding to a news story, not starting an anti Indigo Girls crusade.
Your statement that I'm not spiritually attuned and that I only see one dimension of a person shows that you obviously don't read much of what I write. I'd hope that my liberal friends would challenge those kinds of statements about me, but it sadly doesn't happen very often.

At 6:35 PM , Anonymous Virginia said...

Shane is correct in stating that he made it clear homosexuality wasn't the issue. However, I would ask why labeling one's music "Christian music" makes it more worthwhile and more Christian. I think labeling anything "Christian" is a marketing ploy more than a true indication that one's product is somehow set apart. If your lyrics are distinctly calling people to a deeper, more well-thought-out faith, it is Christian. And if you pop the label "Christian" on insipid music with simplistic "who is in and who is out and how will Jesus make all my problems go away" theological claims that pale when compared to Christ's complex and transforming message, then it is not Christian. The music of the Indigo Girls has been a wonderful witness in my life, calling me to a much deeper exploration than most, if not all, of the Christian-marketed music I used to listen to.

At 8:39 AM , Blogger Alan said...

When I was a student at Calvin College one of the January Series speakers was a producer for a Contemporary Christian Music label. His first sentence was: "Christian contemporary music is neither Christian nor contemporary, nor music." His thesis was that those artists are just out there to make money.

Contrast that to bands like the Indigo Girls or U2 or Toad the Wet Sprocket which have had a consistently Christian and artistic voice for decades.

At 10:59 AM , Anonymous Tim said...

Yup, I agree with alan and virginia. I've thought "Christian music" often fails to be either, for a good number of years.

For another band with secular popularity, try Runrig - Scottish celtic rock stuff, but some of the lyrics have distinctly spiritual overtones (not surprising for a rock band whose members happen to be Christians - that being the way-around I like it).


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