Surprise, Your Favorite Band is a Christian Band! Now What?

BuzzFeed recently posted one of their list articles titled "11 Bands You Might Not Realize Are Christian," which, as the title implies, lists several musical outfits whose faith might be a mystery to their fans. Frankly, the entire article strikes me as rather odd. For starters, if we're talking about artists that people apparently had no clue were Christians, then using U2, Sufjan Stevens, and Evanescence as examples doesn't make much sense since anyone with even a passing familiarity would … [Read more...]

Is Sandy Hook a Sign that We need a Christian Culture? Or a Savior?

When tragedies like Sandy Hook happen, everyone looks at the event to find evidence to support their vision of the Good Life. For some, it was a sign that we need tighter gun control, while for others, a sign that we need looser gun control, or better mental health, or better school security. According to Rachel Held Evans, it's a sign to Mike Huckabee that God abandons school children when prayer is taken out of school -- and she dramatically dismisses Huckabee's words as "bullshit". Only, … [Read more...]

Sufjan Stevens breathes some fresh air into Christmas music with “Silver & Gold”

Call me a Grinch, but there's absolutely no reason for getting into the Christmas spirit when Thanksgiving hasn't even happened yet (Sorry super mega-department stores with your early Christmas decorations). But I will make an exception when it comes to Sufjan Stevens' new Christmas offering, Silver & Gold. This is the second of Sufjan's Christmas sets -- his first, Songs for Christmas, came out in 2006 -- and is a collection of nearly 60 original and traditional holiday songs.By turns … [Read more...]

Music at Mars Hill: The Welcome Wagon's Precious Remedies of Healing and Reconciliation

Music at Mars Hill is a weekly column by Luke Larsen that seeks to find God amidst the newest trends in both mainstream music and independent music.The Welcome Wagon is a husband-wife duo whose rise to indie fame seems peculiar at first glance. Aside from their association with indie superstar Sufjan Stevens, there is very little about The Welcome Wagon that seems cool or hip. Frontman Vito Autio is the senior pastor of a Presbyterian church in Brooklyn and writes pretty off-handedly about the … [Read more...]

Pop music with a "spirit-penetrating totality"?

I'm still making up my mind concerning Sufjan Stevens' The Age of Adz (for the record, his All Delighted People EP is excellent) and I've yet to listen to anything by Janelle Monae, but I like the way that Joel Hartse thinks (emphasis mine): I am really no expert on aesthetics, but I’m pretty sure that [Theodor] Adorno is wrong. Or maybe not wrong, but irrelevant. I don’t know exactly what kind of popular music he was writing about -- Tin Pan Alley, maybe? -- but I do think that while we will alw … [Read more...]