Yesterday I extended to Air1 DJ JB (quick: say “DJJB” three times real fast—wait, don’t: I just bit my tongue trying) an offer to respond, via a guest post here on my blog, to yesterday’s “Why Would I Rather Listen to Belching Throat Singers Than Contemporary Christian Music?” Once he read through the comments to that post, he took me up on that offer. Take it away, DJ JB!
Dear haters readers of John Shore’s blog:
Raise your hand if you know a single Nickleback fan. Anyone?? Yeah, I don’t know one either. Yet, radio airplay and record sales tell me that they’re huge. Everything on the radio is all about mass appeal. John Shore doesn’t represent a typical listener to Christian music radio. Neither do the people who comment on his blog. So I wasn’t surprised when I read here so many negative comments about Christian music. The people who do listen to Christian radio don’t blog, don’t comment on blogs, don’t read blogs, and probably couldn’t even tell you what a blog was. (Okay, maybe the last one was a reach.)
As someone who has worked in Christian music for about ten years, I can tell you one thing: it stirs people. Still. It may not for you, me, John, and a bunch of other people, but Christian music sure does mean something to the 2+ million people who listen to our radio station. I know, because I talk to them on a very regular basis. What you might call pablum, someone else is calling a prayer that they couldn’t put into their own words. What you might call trite, repetitive, fake and commercialized, someone else uses to set the mood for worship, to line up their heart and mind to hear God’s word.
It’s funny. As I’m writing this, I’m listening to our sister radio station, which is considerably “softer” than my station. And they just finished playing the song “Untitled Hymn,” by Chris Rice. It’s an incredibly simple song, but it moves me every time I hear it.
For some, Christian music is hard to listen to. It has an ability to shine light on parts of our lives that we might prefer to ignore. It directly addresses issues that we might rather not have addressed. But I’d venture to say that all music does that. Christian music just ties it to a Savior.
If I had true disdain for Christian music, and refused to listen to it at all because for some weird reason I felt that I was better, or more “evolved” than it, then I might never have been turned on to some the really great artists that I now thoroughly enjoy. If I never listened to Steven Curtis Chapman, I would never have discovered that he was influenced by Bob Dylan. Because of Chapman I went back and gave Dylan a second chance—and now I understand. Derek Webb, early Third Day, Jars of Clay, Rich Mullins, Jon Foreman of Switchfoot, and many other such artists are not “commercialized.” They’re not fake. They’re not dialing it in. They’re very real.
To each his own. That’s all this really boils down to.
Well, with all that said, be sure to tune into me every weeknight, from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. PST!
God bless all y’all!