Is CCM The Only Place You Will Find Something Like CCM?

Some times I get asked if this is a Christian magazine.  Well, I am happy to report that after months of intense prayer the PDF version finally prayed the sinner’s prayer.  Unfortunately, the blog is a tough case – thinking it’s all cool and Web 2.0-ish and doesn’t need God.  So pray for that sucker to realize its need for salvation from it’s multitude of sins: I hear it runs an Internet gambling site behind our backs.

Really, if you have any grasp of what the Bible says about salvation, you realize how impossible it is to call something a Christian magazine, a Christian band, or a Christian blog.  It’s a lazy way of saying that the media in question is written by those who follow Christ, covering subjects of specific interests to Christians.  With that in mind, I would have to expand the focus of this magazine to encompass those things of interest to those that find Christianity interesting.  Some of the people that we cover might not be Christians any more.  I would still find them interesting.  They might never have been a Christian in the first place, but found the teachings of Jesus interesting.  I find those kinds of people interesting, too.

The real problem with Christian entertainment of any kind really comes down to the people that have problems with it in general.  There are some non-Christians out there that fall in to this category, but for the most part it is Christians that seem to criticize the Christian sub-culture the most.  Let’s face it – there is a lot to criticize.  Take the music business, for example.  The mainstream business was busted to begin with (and the digital revolution is revealing how bad it was all along) – but it was the only business model to follow.  Even if you have divine inspiration, following a fraked system with give you another fraked system in return (guess I have been watching BS:G too much lately).  That doesn’t surprise me – there will always be imperfections as long as people are involved.  What surprises me is when people act like God is also sitting up there ringing his hands and wondering “how do I stop this crazy Christian market thing – it’s gotten so out of control!  If only I had some kind of power over this world….”

Whoops…  God does have power, and he would stop it if it was totally without merit.  Maybe we’re the ones that are missing something?

One constant criticism of the Christian entertainment industry is that some feel you don’t see any other religions out there doing the same things now or any time in history.  Really?  Anyone that has ever studied ethnomusicology knows this isn’t true for the history part – most societies that had music or art also had people that tried to use that music or art form to communicate spiritual truths…  usually by converting existing art forms after they liked.  If you are in to world music, you would also know that all forms of religion exist in music today.  I have listened to Vedic Metal (lyrics based on the Hindu Vedic scriptures), Muslim rock and rap, Catholic priests rapping about Catholic saints, Jewish bands of all styles, etc, etc.  It is just human nature to want to use our favorite forms of entertainment to talk about the stuff we like the most – whether it is clouds or God.  Sure, the American Christian entertainment industry is larger than any other comparable system in other countries or religions.  But can’t you say that about, well… just about anything Americans get into except soccer?

In addition to all this, there also seems to always be a conflict between those that only listen to CCM and those that listen to everything.  To that conflict, I would paraphrase Romans 14:1-4: “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to listen to everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, listens only to CCM. The man who listens to everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who listens only to CCM must not condemn the man who listens to everything, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”

Why do both sides seem to take so many shots at each other?  Who knows.  Maybe those that listen to everything have gone further than they know they should, and get a little convicted when talking to those that only listen to CCM and lash out.  Maybe those that listen to CCM only are jealous that they don’t have the faith to listen to everything else.  Maybe humans are just a bunch of cry babies that can’t take it when someone else does something differently.

(this post was also published in the January 2009 issue)

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