25 July 2011

Meghan O'Gieblyn - Sniffing Glue

This article is from Guernica magazine.

You might find it interesting if you:
- Grew up around CCM / in the Evangelical movement
- Picked up on the fact that a lot of MTV music seems to deal more honestly with spirituality than a lot of the so-called "Christian music you grew up with
- Wonder why the Church (capitalized) is losing youth

Brief excerpt:

This, by the way, is considered the ultimate sign of quality CCM, even amongst Christians: the ability to pass as secular. Every band’s goal was to have teenagers stop their grooving mid-song and exclaim, like a soda commercial actress who’s just realized she’s been drinking diet, “Wait, this is Christian?” The logic was that the more these bands fit in with what was playing on the radio, the more someone like me would feel comfortable passing their album on to my non-Christian friends (supposing I’d had any), giving them a chance to hear the gospel.

I don't know that I necessarily agree with O'Gieblyn's main argument - the churches I've seen that abandon or avoid the "cultural relevance" trend and try to keep a purist message don't seem, to me, any more efficacious than the ones that go straight to rock bands and Billy Madison - but she does a nice job of pointing out (one of) the major contradiction(s) in the Evangelical movement: it's an attempt to do something (in this case, music, but, more generally, image and brand creation) as well as the secular world does - but the image and the brand aren't supposed to be the most important aspects of what's being communicated, which means that they're always going to come up short.

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