I’m not much for contemporary Christian music. There’s something distasteful to me about elevating a song because it’s on the top 40. (And I suppose the same could be said for Southern Gospel). It seems so shallow to make a big deal about the newest tune that hasn’t proven it’s serviceability to the Christian family through years of worship. Further, if an artist seems more focused on his image and style than being a conduit for the historic gospel message it’s difficult for me to take him seriously. The music shouldn’t be more about the singer than the Savior. In evaluating quality Christian music I’m looking for music that has stood the test of time and remained spiritually meaningful and useful.
This hit me tonight as I was streaming some songs by a top tier contemporary Christian artist from two decades ago. Twenty years ago I dismissed most of his music as fleeting in value. Tonight I found myself drawn into worship while I was washing dishes and listening to one of his songs. I guess the songs I was enjoying have earned their keep and I am now able to see the artist as a serious minister of music not just the latest icon of the Christian pop culture. He’s grown and so have I.
Maybe I’m judgemental. I think my kids would say I’ve opened up considerably since their teen years. But I’m still convinced that good quality Christian music transcends fleeting popular tastes. It carries a substantive and spiritually edifying message. It has to retain it’s usefulness across generational boundaries to earn a slot in my worship library. And it takes more than 6 weeks on the top 40 to earn that grade.