Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The future of the Christian music/book subculture

A few posts ago I threw in a short bit about the demise of the Christian record labels and the overall downward trend in the Christian music and book industries.

I felt the need to clarify some things, since that's a pretty broad statement to make.

First of all, let me say that I think you should support your local Christian book store. You should support publishers and musicians that are putting out worthy material that impacts your life.

Here's a blurb from Tullian Tchividjian (Billy Graham's grandson) that basically expresses all that is wrong with Christian book stores:

TT: Yeah, Testamints. I walked into one Christian bookstore a while back and there was this comparison list between secular bands and Christian bands. So if you like Dave Matthews Band, you'll love such and such. If you like Counting Crows, you'll love such and such. If you love Beyonce, you'll love - . We've basically created a parallel universe, a copycat culture. And so that's kind of silly because, and it's somewhat frustrating because we think, are we really being creative in a pioneering way, or are we just looking around at what's cool in the world and then copying it with a little sprinkle of Jesus on top?

Ouch. Yes, this is why the Christian sub-culture is dying. . .because it's not really a Christian culture anymore. The last time I was in the Christian book store. . there were Terry Bradshaw books, Lance Armstrong books, cooking books,. . . music by the Jonas Brothers etc. . .

By trying to capitulate to culture we've lost the power of the gospel and the uniqueness of the Christian message.

Now, this is not always true. There are many fine books at christian book stores, and many fine albums. The worship music movement that I spoke of last time is very prominent these days.

But, the reason record labels are going out of business and publishers are going under, etc. . is because they've lost their message and have just put out "inspirational" "right wing" "feel good" stuff, instead of resources that are specifically Christian. By that, I mean music and literature that is theological and Christ-centered. I mean resources that are rigorous and explicit with what they believe and not success, leadership, best life, financial formulas. (which is pretty much anti-Christian in alot of ways).

That's why, as stated last time, I think this correction will be good. Those folks who are just trying to make a buck off of Christians will be forced back into Wal-mart, Target, and ITunes, and those Christians who want to impact culture will need to be competitive in those venues.

Those who are trying to serve the church will also be able to speak to the folks whom they want to impact. . .the church. What better place for a book store/resource center than the church? Churches should be rigorous in what they have in there. . . . Jesus clearing the moneychangers from the temple comes to mind.

It's not that we need "Christian music" and "secular music",but there is music that is written specifically for the church to sing. Regarding literature. . Christian fiction authors should be able to compete in Borders/Barnes and Noble, etc. . .and non-fiction theological authors (pastors too) need to be deep, biblical, and meaningful in what they present to the church.

Don't get me wrong, I value Christian resources. I'm reading 3 great books right now. I wouldn't have made it through high school without Audio Adrenaline and Jars of Clay :) .

But, if Christian companies are going to dumb everything down and make everything nice and easy. . . etc. They will continue to go out of business. I can go get Lance Armstrong's book at Borders.



Publican_Chest said...

I am always appalled every time I go into a Christian bookstore only to find the theology/commentary section to be a little after thought in the way back. And usually the selection is dismal. It has never made sense to me why some of the best books ever written on the bible would be absent from a Christian bookstore, and theology marginalized to a few shelves in the way back. just my random thought.

aaron said...


Case Study:
Jody's looking for a Romans bible study to do with a friend. . . .she goes to our local establishment and finds 2. One by Max Lucado and one by John Stott. Jody hadn't heard of John Stott and so she asks me which one is better. (that's funny. . not because of Jody. . . but just because. . . Lucado vs. Stott :) )

We only have two Romans bible studies, but we have the Jonas Brothers.

davidruybalid said...

well written!!! I love you man!!!

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