Just finished up another semester of seminary, which means I’ve got a lot more time on my hands than I did a week ago. I’m hoping the next few weeks will allow me to finish up the tracking on the new Satellite Soul record. We’ve got 5 songs done and mixed, another five almost done, but not mixed, and a third 5 (all acoustic) in various stages of “not done.”
I’ve been thinking lately about where this album might end up. We’ve already had some label interest – all of it in some way or another connected to CCM. I don’t really know how to feel about that. Started me thinking about something I read in Rob Bell’s book Velvet Elvis. He said that the word “Christian is a great noun and a poor adjective.” I think he’s right. If you put anything behind that word, it immediately becomes like a marketing ploy. Christian Music, Christian books, Christian poetry, Christian Candy (“testamints” I think they’re called) – all of these things are troublesome uses of the word.
What about Christian politics? What about Christian Values? If I say I have “Christian Values” does that mean I have to agree with the conservative wing of the Republican Party? I hope not…cause I rarely do anymore. It’s a bad adjective.
As a song writer I don’t really feel as though I’m allowed to speak for all things Christian, I just feel like at the age of 36 I’m finally able to speak for myself. I’ve talked so much crap in my life, jeez I’ve talked so much crap on this blog! I don’t think making the distinction of our record being “Christian Music” is really that helpful.
Other side of the coin is that there aren’t a lot of general market labels beating down our doors, nor will there likely be any. It sure would be nice to put this thing out there where people could actually interact with it in a meaningful way.
I’m hopeful that someday the word “Christian” won’t be used to clarify exactly which part of the population someone is trying to exploit through careful target marketing. I’m hopeful that someday there will actually be a place for true artistic expression in the realm of CCM. I’m hopeful that the acceptable level of non-artistry in the music associated with the Church will one day be a thing of the past.
As for me and the guys from Satellite Soul, we made ourselves only one promise when we started this record. We set out simply to create a true artistic representation of what we were dealing with in our lives at this moment – nothing more nothing less. Our resolve was to resist the urge to create for anything more than just true expression in the hope that the absense of thoughts like “is this a radio song?” will produce something that is of more value to the listener. That’s the great thing about doing a record when you don’t give a crap if anyone likes it or not – you are finally free just to be yourself. And isn’t that what being a “Christian” should be about? Isn’t the true Christian a Christian who is fully human as human was meant to be? Wouldn’t it be a hoot if setting out to make Christian music means you won’t and setting out not to make Christian music means it’s actually possible?
Don’t know where we’ll end up when it’s all said and done, but I can’t wait till it’s all said and done. I am excited to put this out into the world no matter how it is received.