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Source: (consider it) Thread: Fuck off, popular Christian music
Latchkey Kid
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I don't know if there is a way to hear popular Christian music in Australia. I don't think we have Christian music stations here, not in rural Australia anyway. You could find Hillsong songs on YouTube, but I don't know if they count.

I am still back in the land of Jethro Tull's Aqualung and Carol King's You've got a Friend sung in Aretha Franklin's church.

John Tavener's Prayer of the Heart sung by Bjork may not count as popular Christian music, but I found that very sustaining when my SIL was dying of cancer.

[ 05. May 2017, 06:09: Message edited by: Latchkey Kid ]

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'You must never give way for an answer. An answer is always the stretch of road that's behind you. Only a question can point the way forward.'
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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I want to know if there is anything like a biblical lament in modern Christian pop,

I would like something singable to growl at God occasionally.

Much of CCM is crap both musically and lyrically, but its lack of laments and ragings against God are scarcely peculiar to the genre.

This absence has always been common to practically all hymnody.

For example, I recently made a search (admittedly not comprehensive) of the lyrics of the twelfth century Hildegard of Bingen and could find nothing confrontational in her opus.

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Schroedinger's cat

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I'd also like to know why 80% of the songs appear to be sung by the same (male) vocalist. The songs are credited to different names, but it's like the old romance covers where no matter who the protagonist was supposed to be, it was always the same bloody cover model with deeply improbable hair and pecs.

That is a good comparison, I think. There is a lot of pressure to produce a very specific style - and so everyone conforms to that single style, and the stations play that style, because that is what pays.

If you listen to chart stations, they have much of the same problem - so many of the artists sound the same, so much music sounds the same, because that is what makes Simon Cowell money.

I think Christian Music has become so narrow, like Mills & Boon, because that sells well to a particular audience. But against a wider view of all the books available, they look/sound weak and tacky. But then, it is incredibly hard to write good, life-affirming romance that doesn't then conform to the stereotypes. And so the gap between "M&B" and "Everything else" widens.

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take out this broken heart and renew my mind.

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Golden Key
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Re Hildegard of Bingen not being confrontational with God in her lyrics:

Whereas St. Teresa of Avila yelled at God--not in a song, AFAIK. She and a younger nun were going by a carriage to start a new convent. There was an accident, and the carriage went off a bridge into the water. I think the driver was killed, and possibly the younger nun. Teresa, coming out of the water, yelled at God "If this is the way You treat Your friends, no wonder You have so few!"

I've found that helpful.

Lamb Chopped--

I'm sorry for what you and your sister are going through, and the other folks who've shared their situations.

Best possible outcome for all, and a safe way to get out anger, fear, grief, and pain.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Much of CCM is crap both musically and lyrically, but its lack of laments and ragings against God are scarcely peculiar to the genre.

This absence has always been common to practically all hymnody.

For example, I recently made a search (admittedly not comprehensive) of the lyrics of the twelfth century Hildegard of Bingen and could find nothing confrontational in her opus.

It seems to me that the problem is a general one - that too often Christian music has a single upbeat tone and emotion which are shoehorned into every occasion. It seems a truism that modern Christian music sung in church or heard on "Christian music" channels is relentlessly upbeat.

I don't think this is quite the same with the hymnody. Whilst it might be true to say that there are few laments, there is much more variation in the way that they're sung than is generally possible with most guitar-and-singer pop-style CCM.

Abide with me comes to mind. Horrible dirge if sung in the wrong context, but can be a very powerful song of mourning.

Rage is a difficult thing to pitch, I think.

[ 05. May 2017, 08:44: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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arse

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:


This absence has always been common to practically all hymnody.


I suppose that's why those of us who are still singing (or at least using) the psalter liturgically don't seem, potentially, to miss the lack of rage/lament as much as others. Lord knows I've used it that way. I'm guessing that religious orders who chant or recite the offices must use them all the time?

However, in the psalms themselves there is a very clear poetic balancing act. For the first seven verses you might get the awkward questions: why do the wicked succeed/why is the righteous man being plotted against/why have you forsaken me - but it's always balanced by the riposte: the wicked fall into their own snare/the Lord will be my rock, kind of thing.

Hymns, so far as I can see, are similar. There are numerous hymns highlighting death, illness, decay, the sins of mankind, but with the gospel message of 'but over it all God is going to redeem all this' somewhere. I guess it's the nature of the Christian faith, even though the Christian faithful might not feel it at times (including self occasionally!).

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Gamaliel
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I'm not sure if this helps, but it's interesting that my wife feels a lot more comfortable with traditional hymnody and the Psalter than she does with contemporary worship songs - other than the very few that possess any range and depth ...

She was pretty much of that view already but even more so now she has cancer.

I'm not saying it's 'wrong' to praise God with upbeat songs and so on - but if that's ALL you do ...

I agree with Anselmina, we need the Psalter.

I've heard RCs and Orthodox lament that their own Churches don't use it in the way that more traditional Anglican parishes do.

A late - and much lamented - RC priest here used to bob in at the back of one of the Anglican churches here when they were more given to using the Psalms so he could bask in the Psalmody - which had all but disappeared in his own RC parish.

At the conference of the Fellowship of St Alban & St Sergius last summer, an Anglican bishop led us in antiphonal reading of the Psalms during one of the services. The Orthodox laity (and some of the clergy) were delighted and later began to harangue one of their own bishops and some clergy as to why they didn't also chant the Psalms that way ...

'There's nothing to say that we shouldn't,' came the response. 'It's something that has lapsed and could be revived ...'

Meanwhile, I'm not sure that looking for loopholes in Hildegard of Bingen's ouevre gets us very far ...

What is Kaplan trying to say?

'Look, Hildegard of Bingen's lyrics aren't very challenging either, so that let's CCM off the hook ...'

Well, sorry, no it fucking well doesn't ...

That's like saying that because some mass-produced UK ales and lagers are piss it excuses some mass produced ales and lagers elsewhere in the world from being equally dire ...

Besides, comparing Hildegard of Bingen with CCM is hardly comparing like with like ...

Comparing popular medieval folk ballads with CCM might be more appropriate.

But even then, it's like comparing apples with oranges.

Shit is shit is shit. Most of CCM is shit.

When it comes to contemporary worship songs and choruses - as opposed to Christian radio pap pop - then the situation is not as clear cut - but it isn't all crap. Some contemporary worship songs and choruses are very good.

But I don't want to be exposed to them, thank you very much. I'm not that interested in them any way. That doesn't mean nobody else should sing them.

Just don't bring them anywhere near me. Particularly not now. Particularly not when my wife has cancer.

If you do then I will tell you to fuck off, to fuck right off.

--------------------
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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

Just don't bring them anywhere near me. Particularly not now. Particularly not when my wife has cancer.

If you do then I will tell you to fuck off, to fuck right off.

Wooo there soldier, nobody is saying you have to listen to them, are they?

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arse

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Meanwhile, I'm not sure that looking for loopholes in Hildegard of Bingen's ouevre gets us very far ...

What is Kaplan trying to say?


Simply that whatever the distinctive faults of CCM might consist of, lack of lament and confrontation is not one of them, since this particular absence is common to practically all Christian music, and always has been.

Loopholes?

[ 05. May 2017, 10:52: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]

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Erroneous Monk
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I'd be happy to find a popular song (specific genre doesn't matter) that one might hear on the radio and that could be classed as a lament (by a faithful Christian--pissed off is fine, atheistic is not).


Australia by Manic Street Preachers is a howl of pain, but somehow consoling too.

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Barnabas62
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Modern songs of lament are rare. The most poignant one I know is Song for Kim (From Heartcry, by Nick and Anita Haigh), written after the loss of a child in the womb. Not to be confused with a song of the same title by The Wellingtons.

In the Northumbria Community Evening Prayer, I find "Expressions of Faith" very helpful in troubled times. It's not a lament, more a reflection on where faith is to be found in the tough places of life.

Matt Redman's beautiful lament over the trivialisation of worship (When the Music Fades) has, unfortunately, become a part of the genre it criticises. People sing it and don't always "get" it.

In the (more or less contemporary) musical world, I think the best lament is Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms. One Tree Hill by U2 is also excellent. And there are some beautiful songs in the Simon and Garfunkel collections (Sound of Silence, Kathy's song, For Emily) which speak during raw and hurting times.

Sometimes positivity, and always looking on the bright side of life, can be very hurtful.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
In the (more or less contemporary) musical world, I think the best lament is Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms.

[Overused]

In the more contemporary hymn genre, I like John Bell's "There is a Place" and "We Cannot Measure How You Heal." Neither, I guess, is a full-on lament, as both balance the lament and acknowledgement of pain with hope and assurance. But I cannot sing the latter without it catching in my throat a bit.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Brenda Clough
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What about Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah? A stupendous effort, praising in time of trouble.

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Trudy Scrumptious

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I would second the recommendation, in the soft-Christian-pop genre, of Amy Grant's Better Than a Hallelujah as a song that examines the darker side of our human experience and suggests that being honest about our feelings before God is far more pleasing to Him than manufactured happy feelings of praise. It is especially powerful when coupled with the video which I think is quite honest in its refusal to provide a "happy ending" to the little mini-story told therein. Amy's current pop-country style may not be to everyone's taste, but lyrically I don't think you'll find much better theology about the Christian experience of suffering.

Not exactly a lament, but I enjoy the theology (as well as the music) of the song American Jesus by August Rain, which I think attacks the "prosperity gospel" heresy fairly directly.

Whenever people get into one of these "ALL CCM SUCCCKKKS!!!" discussions, there are so many comments made that enrage me that I usually try to not even get involved, but to point to just one aspect of it: you have to compare apples with apples. There are artists doing fringe, edgy, risky things in Christian music just as there are in "mainstream" music. But the majority in both cases is doing bland, easy-to-listen to pop that is not particularly challenging either musically or lyrically. Don't compare the blandest of Christian music with the edgiest and coolest of mainstream music -- rather, compare it with the blandest of Top 40 pop radio.

I don't think most "Jesus is my boyfriend" songs stack up any worse than most "My boyfriend is my boyfriend" songs on Top 40 radio. But obviously if you listen widely, you can find Christian artists who are doing things a lot more interesting than that, both musically and lyrically.

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Gamaliel
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I was using 'you' in the generic sense of course, mr cheesy ie. 'if anyone' ...

So, no, I wasn't addressing it to anyone here if that's what you were suggesting.

And yes, it's highly unlikely that anyone would try to get me to listen to CCM or even contemporary worship songs as I avoid most services that are likely to contain such material.

The only time I encounter contemporary worship songs and choruses these days is in the context of ecumenical gatherings where they tend to include one or two to please the evangelicals ...

At least in such contexts they only sing them through twice rather than over and over and over and over and over and ...

[Biased] [Razz]

We'll still sort of involved with our local evangelical Anglican parish. My wife is playing the organ there tomorrow at the 9am service, which tends to be more traditional in tone but snake-belly low ...

I'll probably skip it. It's not a communion service and I know who's preaching - a lay reader - and I don't want to listen to him droning on and on and on presenting trite insights as if they are profound reflections of some kind ...

He means well, bless him ...

Meanwhile, @Kaplan, ok .. fair point ...

[Cool]

I'm not saying that hymnody always has to be challenging or edgy, nor that there aren't some more 'cutting edge' or interesting CCM artists around - I'm sure there are.

But so what? One cow-pat might look a more interesting than another cow-pat - some more whirls, a hollow with some sepia-tinted rainwater in it ... a few more flies - but it's still a cow-pat ...

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Meanwhile, I'm not sure that looking for loopholes in Hildegard of Bingen's ouevre gets us very far ...

What is Kaplan trying to say?


Simply that whatever the distinctive faults of CCM might consist of, lack of lament and confrontation is not one of them, since this particular absence is common to practically all Christian music, and always has been.

Loopholes?

Yeah, I did get the feeling that the cane swinging was more to protect the grass than any substantive difference in genre.

[ 05. May 2017, 15:22: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Gamaliel
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Au contraire, if anyone thinks Hildegard of Bingen and CCM belong in the same 'genre' then they deserve to have a cane swung at them ...

But not onto them, I'm not into retributive violence ...

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Gramps49
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I knew a guy who could not make it in secular rock and roll (back in the 70's) so he converted and became a Contemporary Christian Music star back in the day.

Someone above said one cannot connect CCM with the KKK. Well, there is a corollary between the fundamentalist churches that favor CCM and racism. I do note that anytime I have listened to CCM I do not hear anything concerning the plight of the poor or the oppressed.

About the only group that does address those issues at this point is U2. Bruce Springsteen has been known to dable in Christian Folk as well.

I agree, it the above post to encourage your son to get into folk more. There has always been an undercurrent of good folk music which comes to the surface about every 20 years. Thre are some true troubadours that are out there.

And I am sorry to hear of your sister's problems, Lamb Chop. May it go well with her, and you also.

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mark_in_manchester

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LC - my awareness of any kind of popular culture is 20 years out of date. But

quote:
I'd be happy to find a popular song (specific genre doesn't matter) that one might hear on the radio and that could be classed as a lament (by a faithful Christian--pissed off is fine, atheistic is not). Preferably several, for various occasions.
When I feel like that I reach for Lies Damned Lies 'Lamentations'. On cassette (!), since Youtube seems to have tightened up its rights management. Their singer did some solo stuff too - Steve Butler, he's now a Church of Scotland minister. I'll tape you a copy and post it to you, like it's 1993, if you have a working deck - I never did learn how to upload music on a computer.

I'm sorry to hear about your sis. She might like to hear the tape, but it's maybe a bit downbeat.

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(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Someone above said one cannot connect CCM with the KKK. Well, there is a corollary between the fundamentalist churches that favor CCM and racism.

So, acceptable people don't like CCM, and acceptable people don't like the KKK, ergo there is a connection between CCM and the KKK.

Furthermore, some fundamentalist churches are both racist and appreciative of CCM (we'll assume for the sake of argument that this is true; any examples?), ergo CCM is inextricably integrated with the KKK.

This incisive analysis of CCM has got me thinking.

A lot of CCM seems to talk about an omnipotent personal power who must be trusted implicitly, which is reminiscent of dictators such as Stalin Mao, Hoxha, Kim Il Sung and Pol Pot, ergo CCM is covertly communist.

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mousethief

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May I suggest Bob Bennett? He chronicled his divorce with painful openness. (And also some wry humor in the song "Our Co-dependent Love".) Some lyrics.

Lyrics: My Secret Heart
-- Video

Lyrics: Save Me
-- Video

Lyrics: Unto the Least of These
-- Video

Lyrics: We Were the Kings
-- Video

And then just for fun (definitely listen to this one and don't just read the lyrics):
Lyrics: Our Codependent Love
-- Video

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Gamaliel
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Yeah, for all the crapness of CCM I think that link is pretty tenuous.

Some CCM is composed and performed by 'people of colour' as they say ...

Perhaps it's because it's an acronym?

CCM ... KKK ... Pretty similar letter combinations dontcha think?

I know things are becoming increasingly polarised in the US but that's taking dualistic, binary polarity to a whole new level. CCM is associated with fundies, therefore it must be racist ...

Bloody hell ...

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
if anyone thinks Hildegard of Bingen and CCM belong in the same 'genre'

Nobody thinks that Gregorian chant and CCM belong in the same genre, just as nobody thinks that Schubert's masses belong in the same genre as Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho.

All however, belong to the vast. ancient and diverse corpus of Christian music, in which all genres tend to avoid themes of lament and confrontation.

What is more, all are ultimately matters of taste, and de gustibus non est disputandum.

I would rather listen to Gregorian chant and Schubert masses than CCM, but all contain questionable theology, so the choice is personal and aesthetic rather than intellectual.

That's why it's important to temper our expressions of support or dislike for particular genres, so that we don't come across as self-indulgent, virtue-signalling snobs.

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lilBuddha
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Give me a blues version of Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho before any of those every single day of the week.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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mark_in_manchester

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Here's some more-or-less contemporary contemplative Christian lament from the 'classical' tradition, this one available not-on-cassette and without words.

It's only 6 min long. If you listen to it, give it your full attention.


If you couldn't manage that, the TL:DR version is that it pivots on what happens at 3 min dead. It doesn't happen before, nor after, though at several points it looks like it might. By the time you realise the good bit isn't coming back, it's over.

As the comedy TV vicar often observes, 'life's a bit like that, isn't it'.

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Galloping Granny
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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
Here's some more-or-less contemporary contemplative Christian lament from the 'classical' tradition, this one available not-on-cassette and without words.

It's only 6 min long. If you listen to it, give it your full attention.


If you couldn't manage that, the TL:DR version is that it pivots on what happens at 3 min dead. It doesn't happen before, nor after, though at several points it looks like it might. By the time you realise the good bit isn't coming back, it's over.

As the comedy TV vicar often observes, 'life's a bit like that, isn't it'.

I shall listen again – yes,I got it, but I can see that having been puzzled by Arvo Part I need someone to take me by the hand and walk me through it.

And after reading all the above, I still keep thinking of the sweet lady whose faith I cannot fault, who listens to praise music all day and can't understand why I might listen to, say, Bach instead.

(after talking about the unknown years in the life of Jesus she is firm in her conviction that the child Jesus would never have been smacked because he wouldn't have been naughty because he was God.)

GG

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The Kingdom of Heaven is spread upon the earth, and men do not see it. Gospel of Thomas, 113

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Gamaliel
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Fair do's.

Give me Mahalia Jackson and The Blind Boys of Alabama and The Reverend Gary Davies as well as Bach, Byrd, Monteverdi and Tallis.

I want them all.

On laments, it may have been overdone by now but Gorecki's 'Symphony of Sorrowful Songs' gets me every time.

It confronts the despair.

Don't get me wrong, I'm Welsh and prone to sentimentality. Give me a Welsh hymn tune in a minor key or a Yorkshire brass band playing a few poignant notes and I turn into a maudlin lump of jelly.

I'd probably shock and surprise those who only know me by my Ship-board rants.

I have a good friend who is a walking encyclopedia of CCM. He's worked as a DJ on various Christian radio stations and does his darnedest to play some of the more cutting-edge or better quality CCM. The thing is, unlike public service broadcasting such as the dear old BBC or even commercial stations reliant on advertising, Christian radio stations are heavily dependent on donations and sponsorship.

He who pays the piper calls the tune.

These people want to listen to crap so that's what they get.

I admire my friend's commitment to the genre but he's never, ever convinced me about CCM. Other than some of the more 'authentic' gospel acts which are at least wedded to a particular tradition - spirituals to gospel to soul to ... - it all sounds derivative to me - substandard Christian versions of secular forms.

I don't like Coldplay and I'm ambivalent about U2 - although I 'got' them before they became ginormous - but if I wanted to listen to Coldplay - I don't - I'd listen to Coldplay not some two-bit wannabe band who can only make it in the CCM sphere because they can't break it in the secular field.

It's like Christian stand-up comedians. Some are good - Milton Jones. But they ought to be judged as stand-ups who happen to be Christian not Christian bloody stand-ups ...

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Give me a blues version of Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho before any of those every single day of the week.

I would have thought that it's too upbeat and triumphalist to be blues.
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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
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quote:
I can see that having been puzzled by Arvo Part I need someone to take me by the hand and walk me through it.
If you find someone, let me know. This is the only bit of instrumental music I can think of, off the top of my head, that might have revealed its meaning to me.

Meanwhile LC I thought of someone else who is more contemporary (and American!) you might want to listen to in times like this - Sufjan Stevens. Some middle-recent stuff is very bleepy - he went on a kind of prog-rock and then electronica trip for a while - but the recent 'Carrie and Lowell' is lament, for his parents and childhood as far as I can make out, and moving.

He's in danger of being this generation's 'successful artist that Christians can claim as their own', perhaps like U2 were in my day.

For some reason some of this is on youtube at the moment for you to check out. This is prog-electronica which I wouldn't normally like, but this time (and in times like these) I do. It might be a bit raw for you.


I want to be well I want to be well i want to be well I want to be well I want to be well i want to be well I want to be well I want to be well...I'm not fucking around

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Mudfrog
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There is, of course, a difference between CCM and contemporary 'worship' music.

The problem has arisen where solo singers have been used as worship leaders and the congregation sings along to them in the style of said worship singer, which, to my mind, is not really congregational singing.

The mark of a good tune in my view is whether it can be sung acappela by a group of people without the solo voice being the guide voice.

I don't mind Christian pop and rock music for listening purposes as long as it can compete with the best secular music.

I would LOVE to be a member of a church where the congregational music is led by a heavy metal band.

How about
THIS for a different take on an old revivalist hymn?

I'd happily have these in services where I'm preaching...

[Ultra confused] [Big Grin] [Angel]

[ 06. May 2017, 09:20: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Pangolin Guerre
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Give me a blues version of Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho before any of those every single day of the week.

I'll give you an Amen!
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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
... I would LOVE to be a member of a church where the congregational music is led by a heavy metal band.

How about
THIS for a different take on an old revivalist hymn?

I'd happily have these in services where I'm preaching...

Probably proof that I'm hopelessly uncool and the wrong generation, but that does nothing for me at all. I'm even put off by having to wait through 40 seconds biffing before any of the words start.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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Martin60
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Is it just me, foul mouthed hypocrite that I am, very mainly when alone in a very inner Tourettes unleashed manner, and occasionally here, but I baulk at the Anglo Saxon title in a public Christian space? Where our best wares are on show?

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Love wins

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Pomona
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Could someone clarify the difference between CCM and contemporary worship songs? I feel like the former, if I'm right about the difference, is more common in the US. Certainly over here you wouldn't get outwardly secular businesses or radio stations playing it as I believe does happen in the US, over here it's reserved for the few explicitly Christian radio stations that exist.

I am pretty baffled by references to 70s soft rock and soft rock/country - none of the CCM/worship music I know (and I know plenty) could be described that way. Modern pop and EDM (electronic dance music) are the main influencers, not country! Hillsong/Bethel/Jesus Culture etc are just dance-pop.

As someone who mostly listens to pop music (mostly via Spotify rather than the radio, but if I did it'd be the poppy end of Radio 2 or Heart) and only tolerates classical music when it's in a sacred music context (and couldn't name any of the composers or whatever), I am getting a lot of snobbery here, along with a good dash of 'emotions are silly and unnecessary'. Yes, have traditional hymns and Psalmody - they're great. But I also think contemporary worship music is great. I want solid hymns AND emotional girly worship music, because Jesus is my Lord and Saviour AND the lover of my soul.

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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ThunderBunk

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I am on the opposite end of this issue from Pomona, being only an occasional and very unwilling visitor into the world of contemporary Christian music, but one thing I can tell you is that classical religious music absolutely does emotion, including the length, breadth, depth and height of love. The last time I felt that was listening to James Newby singing the final bass aria in the St Matthew Passion.

Equally, when singing in the same tradition, I feel the same tenderness and love when singing, for example, in Christ's voice in Thomas Tallis's setting of If ye love me.

Don't tell me that classical music lacks emotion, or tenderness, or whatever. Maybe you lack the tools to access, but that is your fault, as probably is mine to access anything other than profound banality in 99% of what qualifies as worship music by some miracle, despite its inability to inspire worship of anyone other than the singer. That's my reaction to it, born of experience of performing and a relatively lack of experience of that particular genre.

--------------------
Currently mostly furious, and occasionally foolish. Normal service may resume eventually. Or it may not. And remember children, "feiern ist wichtig".

Foolish, potentially deranged witterings

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Schroedinger's cat

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Is it just me, foul mouthed hypocrite that I am, very mainly when alone in a very inner Tourettes unleashed manner, and occasionally here, but I baulk at the Anglo Saxon title in a public Christian space? Where our best wares are on show?

Yes.

Mudfrog - I do have a copy of "Awesome God" - which is a trite piece of drivel - done in a metal style - complete with growling vocals. Far better than the original.

It would cause most people in churches I have been in to have heart attacks.

--------------------
Blog
Music for your enjoyment
Lord may all my hard times be healing times
take out this broken heart and renew my mind.

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lilBuddha
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OK. Most of the bitching back and forth, the dislike of "contemporary" Christian music is more about subjective style preference than objective content judgement.

Most worship music is shite to middling, there is a reason a DH thread exists on the topic.

Do the more contemporary genres lack in the "life is horrible" quotient? It seems so to me, though I am no expert. If so, LC's objections are fairly reasonable.

Whinging about the style or general fitness as music, not so much.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:
I am on the opposite end of this issue from Pomona, being only an occasional and very unwilling visitor into the world of contemporary Christian music, but one thing I can tell you is that classical religious music absolutely does emotion, including the length, breadth, depth and height of love. The last time I felt that was listening to James Newby singing the final bass aria in the St Matthew Passion.

Equally, when singing in the same tradition, I feel the same tenderness and love when singing, for example, in Christ's voice in Thomas Tallis's setting of If ye love me.

Don't tell me that classical music lacks emotion, or tenderness, or whatever. Maybe you lack the tools to access, but that is your fault, as probably is mine to access anything other than profound banality in 99% of what qualifies as worship music by some miracle, despite its inability to inspire worship of anyone other than the singer. That's my reaction to it, born of experience of performing and a relatively lack of experience of that particular genre.

My reference to emotions was specifically addressing the criticism of CCM as appealling to the emotions. Obviously other kinds of music do this too, but I was addressing the idea that something being emotional makes it less worthy of attention.

I struggle with a lot of classical music as my ADHD finds verse-chorus-verse-chorus and simpler melodies easier to cope with. So it is quite hurtful to be told that it's my fault that I lack the tools to find classical music appealling. I realise it wasn't intended that way, but there are many obstacles to appreciating classical music and that's worth bearing in mind.

--------------------
Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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SvitlanaV2
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lilBuddha

I´d say that most music in most genres has only a minor interest in the problem of life being ´horrible´. Traditional church music certainly doesn´t emphasise this theme, although it does appear from time to time.

However, if we´re saying that popular Christian music attempts to be considerably more positive and upbeat than traditional hymns perhaps that reflects the personalities of the people who like to sing it. Maybe it reflects their faith and theology.

It would be interesting to consider what sort of songs a church of ´Christian unrest´ would sing. The repertoire would obviously be very different.

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cliffdweller
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What lilBuddha said.


quote:
Originally posted by Pomona:
Could someone clarify the difference between CCM and contemporary worship songs? I feel like the former, if I'm right about the difference, is more common in the US. Certainly over here you wouldn't get outwardly secular businesses or radio stations playing it as I believe does happen in the US, over here it's reserved for the few explicitly Christian radio stations that exist.

CCM is individual recording artists who are expressing their own individual experience. Most of the standard, boring DH criticisms of "contemporary worship"-- too individualistic, too emo, all "Jesus is my boyfriend"-- really are about CCM. It is heard mostly on exclusively Christian stations but those sorts of stations may be more common in US than elsewhere.

Contemporary Christian worship is songs that are written not by individual recording artists but by worship leaders, intended to be sung by congregations, and therefore less individualistic and more apt to express a fuller range of experiences. They are often drawing from the Psalter-- more so than traditional hymnody-- although like traditional hymns, lean more to the praise psalms than the lament psalms.

The problem, as noted above, arises more when churches hire Christian recording artists as worship leaders-- they're really very different genres with very very different goals. The more successful one is in CCM, the more wedded they'll be in that style, the harder it will be to move into leading corporate worship in a way that is, well, both corporate and worshipful.


quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:
I am on the opposite end of this issue from Pomona, being only an occasional and very unwilling visitor into the world of contemporary Christian music, but one thing I can tell you is that classical religious music absolutely does emotion, including the length, breadth, depth and height of love. The last time I felt that was listening to James Newby singing the final bass aria in the St Matthew Passion.

Equally, when singing in the same tradition, I feel the same tenderness and love when singing, for example, in Christ's voice in Thomas Tallis's setting of If ye love me.

Don't tell me that classical music lacks emotion, or tenderness, or whatever. Maybe you lack the tools to access, but that is your fault, as probably is mine to access anything other than profound banality in 99% of what qualifies as worship music by some miracle, despite its inability to inspire worship of anyone other than the singer. That's my reaction to it, born of experience of performing and a relatively lack of experience of that particular genre.

True. So stop complaining (not you in particular, this is a general rant) that contemporary worship is "too emotional" or "manipulative" because of it's emotive nature.

--------------------
"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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fletcher christian

Mutinous Seadog
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Posted by Svitlana:
quote:

I´d say that most music in most genres has only a minor interest in the problem of life being ´horrible´. Traditional church music certainly doesn´t emphasise this theme, although it does appear from time to time.

That's too broad a statement to be true. Most opera deals with love, its loss, separation and death. Requiems generally are not about the loveliness of extinction. Metal, death metal and prog rock are more often than not about the horribleness of life. Of course there are lots of genres in music where there is no such imputed emotional regard at all.

I'd also argue that traditional church music very much and does very often regard this theme with incredible skill. Just look at the various settings of the psalms down through the years; both ancient and contemporary, which deal with the raw emotion of life being pants in an incredibly perceptive way. The music of holy week, advent, hymns that are sung at all times throughout the year all have this theme present and deal with it with a large degree of sensitivity and emotional and spiritual care. To say such themes are not present in any significant way in the vast catalogue of music or specifically of Christianity is simply incorrect.

That said, there is a slew of very recent (as in the last two decades specifically) Christian music that does appear to move away from that theme of lament. Part of this is undoubtedly a modern proclivity and a cultural theme (whether pacific to a geographical area or a church denomination or type is perhaps a subject for another debate) and of course, churning out songs that are relatively easy to sing in a constant C Major chord is pretty easy to do. However the last twenty years or so does not amount to the vast back catalogue of Christian music.

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'God is love insaturable, love impossible to describe'
Staretz Silouan

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fletcher christian

Mutinous Seadog
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Pacific should read, specific.

--------------------
'God is love insaturable, love impossible to describe'
Staretz Silouan

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Laurelin
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[Votive] for Lamb Chopped and her sister.

Some of the criticism of contemporary worship is deserved. But by no means all. I am with Pomona, and others, on this.

LC is right about there not being enough songs of lament though.

So this may be very rare, but here is at least ONE song of lament from the Vineyard stable. It's pretty old now. I've always liked it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hujNAmtA0c

Also of note is Audrey Assad, an American Syrian (her family were refugees) who is now a Catholic. I like her music, which is thoughtful, and she has a lovely voice. Here's her song 'Even unto death':
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAfp8vg4Jz8

I also love tons of trad choral stuff from various eras, up to the present day. Love me some Byrd, Taverner (and Tavener), Tallis, Palestrina, etc.

(Also adore the 1982 album 'A Feather on the Breath of God', Emma Kirkby and Gothic Voices singing Hildegard of Bingen.)

[ 06. May 2017, 16:37: Message edited by: Laurelin ]

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"I fear that to me Siamese cats belong to the fauna of Mordor." J.R.R. Tolkien

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SvitlanaV2
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fletcher christian

Ah, opera! We should all be familiar with what it has to offer, but I´m not there yet.

Your church reference was to traditional Anglican (and RC?) fare, which isn´t what I was thinking of, but you provide food for thought. Do the ancient denominations find it easier to express human suffering through music than newer ones? Are the Lutherans more open about human suffering than the Pentecostals, for example?

If so, why? Why is it ´popular´ for Christians not to sing about misery? Is it that those who are the closest to misery would rather sing to cheer themselves up?

Well, misery is all relative and we all suffer to some degree, so perhaps it has more to do with differences in personality, as I suggested before. It´s surely a good thing that ´happy´ people have churches of their own to attend. Perhaps the real tragedy occurs when they take over churches attended by serious people!

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fletcher christian

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If you can't hear lament and longing among Pentecostals you're going to the wrong shack! As for the 'fare', I was speaking of the broad spectrum of all Christian music, not just one denomination or two.

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'God is love insaturable, love impossible to describe'
Staretz Silouan

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Stetson
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Laurelin wrote:

quote:
[Votive] for Lamb Chopped and her sister.
Yes.
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ThunderBunk

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quote:
Originally posted by Pomona:

I struggle with a lot of classical music as my ADHD finds verse-chorus-verse-chorus and simpler melodies easier to cope with. So it is quite hurtful to be told that it's my fault that I lack the tools to find classical music appealling. I realise it wasn't intended that way, but there are many obstacles to appreciating classical music and that's worth bearing in mind.

Whereas I use classical music, both listening and making, as a central part of my way of managing depression, anxiety and any other mental health and/or emotional difficulties that come my way.

Classical music is not necessarily easy to access. I kind of understand that, though my personal equivalent is rock music, which I have only ever liked live. It's a language like any other, so a degree of attention to its forms etc. will help in appreciating the patterns it is forming, and therefore being able to move with them.

--------------------
Currently mostly furious, and occasionally foolish. Normal service may resume eventually. Or it may not. And remember children, "feiern ist wichtig".

Foolish, potentially deranged witterings

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by fletcher christian:
If you can't hear lament and longing among Pentecostals you're going to the wrong shack! As for the 'fare', I was speaking of the broad spectrum of all Christian music, not just one denomination or two.

I´m a Methodist. Methodists don´t normally sing the Psalms, and don´t normally focus on life´s woes.

I agree that many traditional hymns sung by Methodists and others do make mention of strife here and there. But the focus is on God´s glory, and how with him we can overcome anything. I´d guess that outlining the problems we face doesn´t take up more than a few lines in any particular traditional hymn, but I´m sure you know of many exceptions....

Yes, Pentecostals do often sing about lament and longing. But they also sing ´popular Christian music´, don´t they? Or perhaps I´m a bit confused as to whose ´popular Christian music´ is actually being criticised on this thread.

[ 06. May 2017, 17:04: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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SvitlanaV2
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There are the more modern hymns, Fred Kaan and suchlike, that focus a lot on poverty and on man´s inhumanity to man, etc. They do seem to have fallen out of favour somewhat. I don´t know how many have made it into the new Methodist hymn book, but there were a good number in the previous one.
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Lamb Chopped
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Thank you, folks, for all the great stuff to go through over the next few days/weeks. It'll help.

About modern hymns on poverty, etc.--

I've been forced to sing a few of the wretched things, and I loathe and despise them. Mainly because the only ones I've been exposed to bear a close family resemblance to those prayers that ought to start, "O Lord, Thou knowest all things, but I'm going to give Thee a sermon in this prayer now in the hopes that the congregation will hear it, and never mind any real communication with Thee, I've forgotten about Thee already."

Which sucks.

Somehow the writers of the past (some of them, anyway) managed to keep one eye on God at the same time as they kept the other on human tragedy or need. A lot of the modern songs miss this out. And give me a furious desire to commit bitch-slappery on the authors, as this almost always leads to a really nasty sanctimonious tone.

I am, perhaps, still not quite recovered from the flu.

--------------------
Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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