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Must I???

I remember a conversation I had with a soon-to-be missionary around two decades ago.  We were discussing the state of Christian music, which it seems still is discussed and debated across the land.  I told my friend that a Christian did not have to write and sing songs that explicitly used Jesus’ name or any other normal Christian theme.  If they wanted to do a song about sitting under an apple tree, that would be fine.  We agreeably disagreed and went on about our business.  I doubt either of us thought that these ideas would still be questioned twenty years later.

*****

My friend Chad Jones published this post yesterday.  He went to see Jars of Clay.  Not every song they performed were obviously Christian songs.  Some of them were simply songs done by a group of Christians.  I love that they said that one of the songs was eighteen years in the making.  They have lived life and are expressing that life through music.  As a bonus, it seems that Chad and Lisa enjoyed their concert.

*****

Yesterday’s post didn’t mention Christ, the Bible or God in any way.  That seemed unusual to me since this blog is basically about my journey of faith.  Yet, the Lord was there in all of it.  I know Him better than if I had never learned to read.  I talk to Him when I run in a way that I can’t or don’t at any other time.  I am coming to know the Lord and myself in Him better by writing every day.

Most of my posts will continue their normal paths and themes.  Occasionally, though, one my slip through like yesterday’s.  I think that’s ok.

Must I mention the Lord in every post?  I hope not.  He will in them regardless.

Do Christian musicians, writers and artists always have to hit us over the head Christ?  What areas in your life do you see God that aren’t always obvious?

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  1. rickd3352013
    September 26, 2013 at 1:20 am

    Strong opinions abound on this one, for some odd reason. To me? Brad Paisley is a Christian. Does he sing about Jesus in every song? No. Should he, because he is a Christian? Again, no. Christian musical acts that market only withing the community? Fine, and may God be praised. Artists like Paisley, who are believers and seen to be such out in the greater world, may attract more to Christ by example than preaching – but the christian artist is more often than not preaching to the choir.

    Don’t get me wrong – Keith Green and Kerry Livgren both spoke into my world as a new believer – but Kerry was doing it with his writing while still in Kansas. There is room for both.

    If people don’t know you are a believer when they read one of your posts, Larry, it isn’t because you didn’t type the word Jesus like a magic incantation – He leaps out of your work because that is a reflection of who He made you to be. May we grow up in our thinking about the name and the word “Jesus” and instead try being Him to others, as we are called to. I see Him in what you write, because I look past it to see you and, past you to Him.

  2. September 26, 2013 at 1:30 am

    Larry, thanks for the shout! Appreciate it. I think, and this is my opinion, it’s not so much about what we say (or sing), but rather the quality of our love. How do we live? Is Christ reflected in that? Remember the song? “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

    I agree with you: there’s nothing wrong with singing a love song, or a sad song. Just sing an honest song. The Bible is full of such folk add us being real with where they’re at. The Book of Esther never mentions God at all, but there’s no doubt who appointed her for “such a time as this.”

    I believe the early church fathers had it right when they said “Love God, and do as you will.”

  3. September 26, 2013 at 5:29 am

    First, thanks for the link to Chad’s post. I read it and commented. Second, IMHO I don’t think a post or a song must always mention Jesus. A sermon? Yes! A worship song? Yes! But a song for the public? No. A blog? No. I know I sometimes say absolutely nothing about Jesus on my blog but still hope the message of love and hope is there.

  4. Emily W
    September 26, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Mac Powell, lead singer for Third Day, did a country album a little over a year ago. He caught some flack over it because it wasn’t his “typical” stuff. I loved the album because it was done by a man of faith. If Christ is in us, he’s in all that we do. Keep on keepin’ on!

  5. September 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    I agree with everyone else! When I first heard of Jars of Clay, it was on a mainstream station because they had a big cross-over hit at the time. I had no idea it was a Christian band, but it did make me go and listen to some of their other work at a time when I didn’t listen to Christian music. I think it’s a good thing to be accessible to lots of different kinds of people – you never know where or how you might touch someone.

    Sometimes the use of insider language and writing/speaking with the assumption that everyone understands the theology behind what you’re saying is confusing to us newbies and acts to alienate us rather than pull us in. I know that’s a bit different from what you’re asking, but it goes with what the others have been saying (and I also believe), that it’s more about what we are saying than it is about the words we use to convey our message. And honestly, sometimes the words get in the way.

  6. September 26, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    I’m cool with Christians not explicitly proclaiming Jesus with every song or work of art, but if they do things that dishonor Christ is when I have difficulty.

  7. September 26, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    Totally with you, Deuce. No, you mustn’t. Of course, at times you should, and if you never do one must wonder. But you (and all of us) certainly should have the freedom to enjoy the life God has given us without feeling a need to throw in an obligatory “shout-out” to God as if He’s tallying them.

  8. September 29, 2013 at 6:40 am

    Thanks for including me again, Rick.

  9. rickd3352013
    September 29, 2013 at 8:16 am

    More than welcome, Larry 🙂

  1. September 28, 2013 at 2:40 am

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