Turn Up the Radio . . . Just Not Near Church

As a Christian performer, I integrate some secular music into my sets. I choose songs with lyrics that reflect Christian values. Recently while interviewing a drummer for my band, the gentleman stated he was all about God and considered my philosophy to be a sell-out.

Not everyone in my audience listens to just Christian music.

In fact, I often attract audience members who never listen to Christian music or go to church. I pray my music plants a seed, allowing them to discover the awesome power and peace of God. I offer them something familiar. Perhaps they will later contemplate the lyrics of a familiar song or begin to develop a taste for contemporary Christian music.

I am currently the guitarist for my church’s worship band. Sunday mornings we perform a song or two of mainstream music (instrumental only) before the service. We have an open policy which allows anyone who plays an instrument to join the band for pre-service music, and take requests for upcoming services. We allow people to choose any genre.

Whenever I discuss upcoming pre-music (Eddie Money, John Mellencamp, Aerosmith, etc.) with church outsiders, they sometimes project a quizzical stare.

Why do so many draw an imaginary line of demarcation when relating to church and religion?

Is it blasphemy to play mainstream music from within the walls of a church?

Is it hypocritical to ostracize the world outside of a church service? Yes that is a bit extreme, but why do we separate church moments from the rest of our lives?
Shouldn’t we be the same person in and outside of church?

Some enjoy traditional music during a mass or service. However, much of the traditional music was once considered as unacceptable.

In 1737, a grand jury indicted John Wesley with “introducing into the church hymns not authorized.” Additionally, John and Charles Wesley used popular town melodies often sung in taverns.

A church is about substance. God’s words, which should never be changed or altered. It is the Bible, which should be the rock and foundation of a service. Music and times change. Yes, the lyrics of some secular music are contradictive to Christianity. Yet, we are surrounded by it. If using a melody will plant a seed for Christ then why not?

I wonder how atheists and agnostics feel about mainstream music performed in a Christian environment. My new album contained a song from Black Sabbath titled “Heaven and Hell.” Black Sabbath was a breakthrough metal band in the early ’70s with current pop icon Ozzy Osbourne.

I altered just enough of the lyrics to twist the original meaning of the song toward Christianity. Ronnie James Dio, the lead singer who owns half the publishing rights, threatened me with a lawsuit if I released the song. Go figure!


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