Tectonic Shift

i love music.
no seriously…. i love music.
and i love Jesus.
no seriously…. i really love that Jesus the Christ fellow.
so it might not make much sense when i confess that i hate Christian Music. No seriously…. i really, really, really do not like the gutter genre of Christian Music.
But it wasn’t always like this.
My history: i “discovered” popular music when i was 11 / 12 years old  {back in 1983 / 1984} – and it changed my life. i sort of came alive when i discovered music and the history and the breadth of all the music!!
when i think of that time i think of Genesis 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” 
on the flip side i also think of Genesis 3:5 “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” {NOTE –  that might be more about my conservative upbringing…. like why do i have the king james version of the bible in my head? anyway…..} 
the second half of the 80’s was my music playground and education and then the 90’s was my music university. i still have boxes and boxes of cassettes, vinyl and literally thousands and thousands of Compact Discs in my garage {the bane of my patient non-horading wife Benita}
Actual history: Christian music used to be amazing. It used to be great. The 70’s, the 80’s and the 90’s are three decades of creative people using all types of music to explore their faith, their world, their cultures. It grew and grew and grew! every decade building on the groundbreaking work the generation did before it. Christian music of every conceivable genre was pretty much as good as any other music ever made and often times it was incredible and amazing and better than anything else ever made.
and then……
And then the new millennium rolled over and two things happened: The old music industry died and the rise of the genre of modern worship music happened. Those two things sealed the deal for creative artistic exciting explorative new christian music. Because the music industry collapsed and money was tight – everyone went “safe” into the boring, trite, repetitive, mushy world of christian worship music. it all sounds the same and it is lyrically so unconvincing and lightweight. it follows the bland white man soft rock genres that; at best puts me to sleep and at worst makes me sick.
and yes i am greatly generalising, and yes there are always exceptions to both sides of the story!
in the end i really do think that the death of the music industry was great because it is forcing the true creative and talented musicians to just make music. we have gone back to music industry of the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s – musicians release songs and do shows and work on a smaller scale to attract a following. the concept of the album {something created by big record labels} is disappearing again.
Add to that that the concept of separate christian music area is disappearing again. Back before the 70’s if you were a christian musician you just put your music out there like everyone else, you couldn’t go to the christian record label, christian radio station and christian music festival… you just released your art into the universe like everyone else. that’s why when you look back at the music from the 30’s to the 70’s if an artist like Elvis or Johnny Cash wanted to sing the Gospel Hymns of his youth he released it like any other normal song, he didn’t seek out a christian version of the industry.
Anyway i am ranting a little, let me take a breath and get to my point.
==breathe in==breathe out==
As someone who hates contemporary christian worship music my world has just been quaked.
Last night i stumbled across a christian worship band that is making amazing art and the lyrics are beautiful and the music is creative and it feels real and moves me in a way i have not been moved in a long, long, long time.
The band is from Seattle USA and they are being promoted by the tiny grassroots collective known as Bad Christian – the band is KINGS KALEIDOSCOPE. Not a great band name i know, but don’t let that put you off, we all have favourite bands with awful names. 
I have said all of the above to leave you with this: 
do yourself a favour and check out this band: Kings Kaleidoscope.
just watch the first 11 minutes of this: that is all it took for me. this was the 11 minutes that have honestly changed me and moved me and made me write all this.

derek webb. 2009.

for those of you {which is most “normal” folk} who are not wrapped up in the ghetto of christian media and entertainment: Derek Webb is an american dude who had a fairly successful christian band called Caedmon’s Call. i wouldn’t call myself a big fan, though i have a few of their albums. i appreciated the band and Derek Webb because there was an essence of authentic-ness to his lyrics and even his vocal delivery… i hadn’t thought about him or the band for a few years until i heard on the grapevine about some broo-ha-ha over his new album. i looked into it and apparently it’s because he says the word “shit” on one song.
sigh.
really?
are we -{and i am using the word we because i am a christian and part of the church in the truest sense of the word.} – still so immature that when one of our artists passionately expresses himself in ART he might use a “profane” word? are we that weak that we can’t take one little artists out pouring? could it be that he HAS to use whatever is in him to convey exactly what he believes Father has shown him?
Anyway…
so i finally heard some of the new album, and blow me down, it is excellent. Right up my alley. The production is fantastic, gone are the rootsy folksy christian nashville sound of Caedman’s Call, and instead there are loops, samples and chopped up electronics. I LOVE IT.
and as for me: i believe that on so many levels:
musically
creatively
artistically
spiritually
and just honouring Father because you are jumping out into that abyss of creating and loosing yourself in it all….
this is the best stuff that i’ve heard Derek Webb do.
but what do i know hey?

here are some videos.
check out Derek Webb online here.

The Offending Song:

The Trailer for the album:

monday 25th may 2009 8pm…

just a little while ago my oldest son Drummond hopped out of his bunk bed and came into my office and i said “yes???” {waiting for some sort of excuse to be out of bed} – Drummond said “i was just thinking…” and as i grabbed him i finished off his sentence with “thinking of how your going to have a sore bottom if you get out of bed again?” he replied “no dad, i was just thinking about Hell, and i don’t want to go there. i’ve been thinking about it…” as he said this with such an ernest look on his face and the trust he had in his eyes i immediately regretted the crack about him getting a smack for getting out of bed. So i asked him more about what he meant, what he was scared of and what he wanted to do… we ended up in me and benita’s bedroom looking at what Jesus says about Himself and what Paul says about being “saved”. Drummond has heard all these stories since he was small, but tonight it began, just a little bit, to fall into place. in his 5 and ½ year old heart and mind he knew that he didn’t always do what was right, he knew Father was perfect & Jesus is the way to Him. i did my best as his dad and as a christian to explain that Hell is Hell because you are separated from Jesus & Father and alone, while Heaven is only Heaven because you are with Father & Jesus and you are not alone. i ended up asking Drum if he wanted to talk to Father {pray} and he did, and he thanked Father for Heaven and for Hell. he thanked Father for Jesus and he told Him he believes. He told Father that he hopes that one day he will be in Heaven with Him and with his two brothers Galvin & Judah. Benita cried a little. i asked Drum if there was anyone he wanted to tell about all of this, he said “yes, Galvin” i said “no Galvin is asleep, is there anyone you’d like to call on the phone and tell?” “Papa Will & Mama Dot?” {benita’s parents} – so he called them and there was much christian grandparent joy. i tucked Drum back in his bunk bed and kissed him, told him how proud and thankful i am of him, he told me “i just don’t know what Heaven looks like…” i told him that i didn’t either, but i told him what a few scriptures say… as he was thinking that over he rolled over and fell fast asleep in a couple of minutes. i wonder what he is dreaming about right now?
tonight is a special night… i wish this quite joy and thankfulness i feel as a christian parent could be shared with all others. i am thankful and so grateful for so much more than i deserve…

is it just me or is this the prototype for EVERY single christian rock song in the late 80′s early 90′s? even the lyrics…. i still like marky mark’s version better. i bought the Boogie Nights soundtrack just for his version of this song.

ray boltz… who would have thunk it?!

if you grew up in conservative christian circles in the 80′s / 90′s then you might be familiar with the mighty mullet & moustachioed one known as Ray Boltz…

he was incredibly popular with camps and “special numbers”… i can’t tell you how many times i’ve heard someone belt out Ray’s hit “Thank You” in church services through the years…

he was in my opinion the king of “schmaltz”: soppy emotional numbers that old ladies would weep to… not my cup of tea…

he released a gang of albums {15?!} in his career, married with kids and all round super christian dude in the nsahville “CCM” scene.

anyway today i learnt that a few days he ago he “came out” publicly as a homosexual. read about it here. you can even see how he looks with no mullet these days on his website here.
you know back in the day i might have been really upset about this, and i know that thousands of his previous fans will be devastated over this, his albums and music will be pulled from radio stations, from stores and a lot of his “product” will be thrown out by his once fans… but i don’t feel upset… for one, i never really liked his gig, but big picture wise, it’s not my place to condemn him, his story is not over yet, and i know Jesus is not finished working in Ray’s life. My world view and doctrine / dogma has not changed at all {i believe that quite clearly that Father has revealed through His word in the Bible that homosexuality is just one of myriad of deviations from His designed sexuality, right up there with adultery, divorce, lust etc}… but you know what has changed in me? my understanding of how LOVING Father is, how patient He is, how Big He is…. and i know all of that applies to Ray Boltz and his journey…. Father is not finished with Ray yet, and Jesus has not called me to sit on a little throne of judgement to condemn him.
does that make sense?

BROKEN LADDERS TO GLORY by one of my heroes Terry Taylor: {emphasis added by me to the lines that make my heart ache with truth} “When the day is doneWe’ll get out of hereWhen the race is runand the coast is clearjump a sinking shipGrab a falling leafI’ll place a smoke ring ’round your yellow […]