Monday, October 5, 2009

My rant...

Hey everyone, I'm sitting here at the church (Freedom Valley Worship Center) wearing my prized Roethlisberger jersey ( ;) ) and Terrible Towel around my neck patiently awaiting the Steelers vs. Chargers game.

Anyways, there's been a rant going on inside my head for the past few weeks and it was re-kindled today...I have therefore decided to share it with the world. This rant is completely my opinion, so mind you some of my comments may seem a bit rash. But it's ok...because this is Schneetown and I can say whatever I want! yes

So today after church I was talking with a fellow music fan about the band "Delirious?". Basically we just talked about how awesome they are and how unfortunate it is that they are on their final tour. I am kind of unsettled about this as they are one of the very few Christian rock acts for me to listen to.

What I think makes Delirious? such a great Christian band is that their songs have awesome production values, yet also write excellent lyrics with great theological depth that are used in places of worship the world over....but it is music that I could recommend to a non-believer because I also think their stuff just sounds good. Do they have the space/art/glam/arena/progressive rock (haha) sound that Muse (hands down, in my opinion, the band putting out the best stuff) has, of which I love ? Not necessarily, but if you listen to their entire discography you'll hear a band that is consistently pushing their envelope and embracing musical trends of today and writing thought provoking music...which is such a cliche thing to say, but I said it anyway :).

Call me ignorant, but I think the majority of everything else in the Christian music scene (besides specifically worship groups) is garbage. Yikes.

Casting Crowns? Eh, no.

Christ Tomlin? nope

MercyMe? please

Don't get me wrong...these artists have and, Lord-willing, will continue to write great, inspirational worship songs...but these songs sound INFINITELY much better when I hear another worship leader/team lead them. I want to hear Christian music that isn't cookie cutter crap. Take a band like Delirious and the way they arrange songs and I dare you to re-capture that sound. I don't know, there's just something about the combination of their lyrics, production values and creativity that for the longest time has had them way above everyone else in the Christian scene.

I want to hear more bands like them. In the secular realm you have the aforementioned Muse that is just tearing up the music scene. There's the always reliable Coldplay that just produces results. You listen to theses bands and they ooze with creativity. Now don't get me wrong, there are plenty of stinkers in secular music, but there is just so much more to choose from. However, that should not be a reason to be satisfied.

This rant also extends to the movie industry. I love movies. Let me say that again. I. LOVE. MOVIES. I love them so much so that I rarely call them movies; instead I call them filmsbecause it makes me feel sophisticated (haha). I consider myself to be a connoisseur of sorts when it comes to film. If I wasn't called to full-time ministry I'd either be at Berklee School of Music, or I would be at USC or UCLA for film. Anyway, I pride myself on my taste in film and I'm sure I can seem kind of arrogant when friends recommend movies to me and I'll just say, "no". Because you can tell when a movie is going to be TERRIBLE.Transformers....woohoo right? No. Michael Bay should have his credentials for the DGA (Director's Guild of America) revoked. It's highway robbery the way he steals money from people via eye candy with no substance. You can spot a sappy, melodramatic "chick flick" from a mile away (yes there are good "chick flicks" out there). It's unfortunate how movies are churned out by the masses; quantity over quality. It's unfortunate how one of the greatest films of all time Star Wars, my personal favorite, started what is now the summer blockbuster endless wave of mostly effects-laden, shallow films that look bright and sound loud. It's unfortunate that a brilliant film like No Country For Old Men comes about and the majority of the viewing audience is upset over the ending. Come on it makes perfect sense. That was Tommy Lee Jones' movie...not Josh Brolin's and not Javier Bardem's. Those two just happened to be taking place in Jones' world where he, an old man, is struggling to find a place in the world he lives in....hence the title.

There was a point I was trying to make here...

Oh yeah...Christian movies! That's it!

So what about them? They're garbage. They're awful. There is nothing good about the Christian movie industry...if you want to call it an industry. Left Behind? Come on. Facing the Giants? Come on. Garbage.

What's with all the hating? Call it hating if you want, but I'm calling it how I see it.

Compare Left Behind and Lord of the Rings. How can you? One is crap...the other is gold. One had no budget the other definitely had a budget. One had Cloud Ten Pictures (who is that?)...and the other had New Line Freakin' Cinemas. It seems like an unfair fact it is. But I pray that one day we can compare a Christian film to The Godfather on an even plane (Luke 1:37).

Where is the point? I promise you, there is one :) .

The point is, I'm tired of how awesome and amazing worldly music and movies are and how much, for the most part, Christian music and movies just suck. Where is the Christian Muse? Where are the Christian Spielbergs? Where are the Christian Kubricks? Could you imagine a Christian David Lean (director of Lawrence of Arabia and Bridge on the River Kwai) painting a beautiful canvas of a movie for the Kingdom of God?

Come on how awesome would that be? Before you say, "That couldn't happen"....IT CAN!

The Blair Witch Project was shot on 8mm for under $1 million....and it was huge. Where are the Christian creative minds that have a passion to make great movies or great music?

This extends beyond film and music. Christians should be the best at whatever they do, they should be the best musicians, the best filmmakers, the best accountants, the best journalists. Christians doing their best does not pertain to just those who are pastors or evangelists.

Believe me, I'm not perfect at this...far from it. I struggle with giving my all in everything I do. Those who have served with me in ministry and those who have been under me know this first hand. So this is as much a charge to me as it may be to someone else.

Mediocrity sucks. I paraphrase General Robert E. Lee when he said, "anything worth doing is worth doing right." Kingdom work is worth's worth doing right. If you have a passion or gift for the best freakin' musician you can be. If you aspire for the best freakin' filmaker you can be for the glory of God.

I'm challenging myself to do this. To be the absolute best God has called me to be...and not be mediorce


DISCLAIMER: The beauty about music is how subjective one's perception of what "good" music is. Again, the statements made above are my opinion, but I hope they somehow stir up in you the drive for excellence in everything you do and to do it for Christ...because that's what our gifts and creativity are for.


  1. What would a polemic blog post be without some dissent?

    Your last paragraph is the ultimate question here. What makes music 'good'? When God listens to Chris Tomlin and then switches over to Muse, which would He say is better and why? Would God call MercyMe garbage? We can listen to "come and go with me to my Father's house" and call it cheesy, but it does have the effect of putting a picture of heaven into kids' minds. That's better than what Muse can do (as much as I do like them).

    Bottom line to me is that there shouldn't be a Christian Muse. David Crowder Band is an example of a band that does its own thing and does it really well. Once dc Talk decided that they weren't going to be a knockoff white boy rap group, they created interesting and original music that ultimately made its mark. TobyMac in particular has carried on that legacy. Hillsong United might be canned, but it's their sound, no one in the secular field has a sound like it. For every Muse, there's a Green Day and a Nickelback anyways.

    Not every Christian band is perfect, but I think that they get a bad rap sometimes. I'd rather they spend more time in the prayer room than in the studio anyways, if it ends up edifying my relationship with God!

    Hope all is well, dude. Call me sometime!

  2. Haha. Josh, this so is funny and awesome. I was laughing the whole time. And I agree with Sir Brendan above me that you're being extreme, but why not? Besides, your overall message of "Seriously, guys?" is totally, one hundred percent called for.

    Also, I'll agree with Brendan that there should not be a Christian Muse, but for a different reason. Because there shouldn't be a Christian anything! Defining something as "Christian" is automatically alienating, and ultimately, fruitless. We need to stop separating our spiritual lives from our daily lives altogether, and chuck the labels.

    (Hey... if you didn't know.. I'm always a bit of a film devourer. And I'll echo your rant of DOWN WITH MICHAEL BAY, UP WITH THE COENS!)

    Ohhhh the fun talks we shall have when you get to Tulsa!!!