Most CCM makes me gag. Part of it is because I’m a music snob. I prefer Haydn to Hillsong. Rachmaninov to Matt Redman.
Also, Kimball hits on something here:
…all the different Christian pop songs seem to basically have the same lyrics over and over and over again. Mostly about Jesus dying on the cross. I fully and absolutely believe the substitutionary atonement is at the heart of the gospel. But the Bible is filled with so many things, not just all verses on the atonement. I wish there were more lyrics in songs that sang about other things about Jesus and the Kingdom and following Him.
While I DON’T believe that the substitutionary atonement is the heart of the gospel (substitutionary atonement is just ONE way of talking about how Jesus’ death and resurrection gives us salvation, but that’s a whole other shrimp to boil). Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God arriving among them, not his own death and resurrection as good news. That was Paul.
Also, like Kimball, I find the lyrics waaaaayyy too shallow. I know some folks are going to jump on the “some people need a simple message to understand the gospel” truck. But there’s a difference between being simple and simplistic. These love songs to Jesus leave out the cost of following him.
Where I find God in music, it’s usually in folks like Arvo Part, Canadian composer Christos Hatzis, and many other little known composers who work their fingers to the bone to create an experience of their faith that honours the depth of our tradition.
That’s just where I am.
UPDATE: The Wittenburg Door makes my point for me:
For many years, one of the most popular party games in the U.S. has been Mad Libs, a fast-paced exercise where participants must insert common words into a series of pre-set phrases. Have you ever wished there was a Christian version of Mad Libs for your next religious get together? Now there is! Here's a sample:
How many songs can you write?
O (Title) of my (Noun)
(Title), when I (Verb) your (Noun)
Something in my (Body Part) just (Verb)
And I can't (Verb) anymore
When I'm in the (Noun)
I know your (Body Part/Noun) (Verb) me
And I know I'm gonna (Blank) (Title) (Period of Time)
(Title), You're so (Adjective)
(Title), You're so (Adjective)
(Title), You're more (Adjective) than anything I've ever (Verb) before
And I'm gonna (Verb) You (Period of Time)
I'm gonna (Verb) You (Period of Time)
Because you're (Adjective), you're so (Adjective)
I wish I had the words to say
That I'm (Reaction) by Your (Divine Attribute)
I'm (Reaction) by Your (Divine Attribute)
I can't (Verb) that You would (Verb) for (Title)
And even if the (Noun) can't (Verb)
And I can't (Verb) Your (Body Part)
I'll still (Verb) You with all my (Body Part/Noun) for (Period of Time)
(Verb) with all my (Body Part/Noun) for (Period of Time)....
see, hear, feel, touch, taste, realize, acknowledge, praise, comfort, run, hold, forgive, live, accept, die, shout, sing, dance, tell, bleed, cry, call, stand, believe, trust, say, take, abandon, forsake, wash, live, dwell, find, rejoice, proclaim, walk, clothe, smile, tremble
hands, feet, face, eyes, heart, spirit, lips, ears, wounds, tongue
wind, nails, cross, hill, mountain, valley, stream, sea, river, lightning, tree, stone, grass, bird, field, child, shelter, throne, angels, world, storm, thunder, tears, temple, sake, might, power, above, deaf, dumb, shadow, presence, sins, grief
I, You, Your, His, Lord, God, we, Savior, Redeemer, Messiah, Lamb, Lion, King, Shepherd, Keeper, Alpha, Omega, Beginning, End
Period of Time
always, now, forever, tonight, tomorrow, yesterday, never, thousand
amazing, wonderful, bigger, mighty, righteous, holy, clean, powerful, loving, merciful, full of grace, kind, caring, good, worthy, just, incredible, small, weak, alone, tired, angry, peaceful