Friday, February 29, 2008

Larry Norman 1947 - 2008

Christian Music lost its pioneer this week. Not one of its pioneers, but the pioneer. A huge distinction. Larry Norman is widely credited with starting this whole genre before it became a genre. Back in the 70s, it was more an outpouring of the faith of the Jesus Movement through music, as opposed to the crappity crap crap that's being mass produced today.

This brings me to a larger point. What happened to honest music? The stuff that Keith Green, or Rich Mullins, or Steve Camp (Justice) used to sing? Music that sounded good that didn't sound like the Christian version of a "secular" product? Music that caused you to worship, not becaues of the catchy tune, but because of the convicting lyrics?

Caution, this has all the warning signs of a developing rant! Exit now!

It makes me laugh that everything today with even a spiritual undertone in its lyric is classified as "worship" music. Take Leeland, for example--one of the few bands that I think is good in CCM today--they're classified as worship, when the lyrics of most of their songs are not. Petra, and White Heart, the bands of my childhood, was never called a worship band, even though most albums had one or two songs that would be classified as such. Eg. "It is finished" or "Desert Rose" on the same albums as "Beat the System" and "Independence Day".

Incidentally, I blame Petra for the whole rock band praise thing. Their "Petra Praise" was a ground breaking album--the first for a CCM band to do a whole disc devoted to praise. It was a great CD too. Since then Integrity Hosanna, Maranatha, Vineyard, Hillsongs, have made the worship song a factory assembly line. Yes Lord! Yes Lord! Yes Yes Lord! Every band and their dog has a worship album with the same songs rehashed. And we miss the point of worship. Worship is a conscious outpouring of apprecation and love to God. Key word here is conscious. The feeling I get now, is that if we mention God in a song we're worshiping.

Of course there have been some fantastic modern worship songs, but, honestly, a good chunk of it is trite and repetitive. I love a lot of Chris Tomlin and Stuart Townend

Anyway, I'll shut up now. But I'll shut up with an old hymn out of the small "Believers' Hymn Book" hymnbook:

Glory to Thee Thou Son of God Most High

1
Glory to Thee;
Thou Son of God most High,
all praise to Thee!
Glory to Thee,
enthroned above the sky,
who died for me;
high on Thy throne,
Thine ear, Lord Jesus bend
as grateful hearts now to Thyself ascend.

2
Deep were Thy sorrows,
Lord, when heaven frowned
-Gethsemane!
Bloodlike Thy sweat,
Lord, falling to the ground
so heavily;
dark was the night, but heaven was darker still,
O Christ my God,
is this the Father’s will?

3
Thorns wreathed Thy brow
when hanging on the tree,
man’s cruelty!
Why lavish love like this,
O Lord, on me?
Thou lovest me!
Would that my soul could
understand its length,
its breadth, depth, height, and everlasting strength!

4
Thy precious blood was freely shed for me
on Calvary
to save me from a lost eternity;
glory to Thee!
Nor death, nor hell, nor things below - above
can sever me
from Thy eternal love.

5
Like shoreless seas,
Thy love can know no bound;
Thou lovest me!
Deep, vast, immense,
unfathomed, Lord, profound,
Lord, I love Thee!
And when above, my crown is at Thy feet,
I’ll praise Thee still for Calvary’s mercy seat.

(Thanks to Leo for the lyrics)

1 comment:

mrutterson said...

Yes sir, yes sir, yes yes sir! Great blog Jaby, I agree with your ranting observations almost completely. The answer to where is the Christian music today that glorifies God but doesn't cash in on that glorification can primarily be found in metal/hardcore. Bands like NIV, Figure 4, As I Lay Dying, and Jesus Wept are all putting out quality music respective to their genres, fronted with God-honouring (not God-profiting) lyrics. Also look to labels like Facedown Records and other such independent labels who support bands who seek to honour God and produce quality music.

Love the blog, and I've added you to my favourites. Thanks for the post, and my mom hates KimChi.