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12/04/2005

GLORIA TALK

I'm on the road at the moment, in Michigan this afternoon, on the Gloria Christmas tour, a tour my label, Rocketown Records created and put on for the first time last year. Me, Ginny Owens, Michael Olson, Watermark, Taylor Sorensen, and a killer band and veteran crew are crisscrossing the country right now spreading Christmas cheer and what not.

One of the best parts of this tour, last year and this, however, happens not on stage but around lunch tables and in bus lounges. The conversation on this tour is historically weighty and entertaining. I've never been around so many people who wind up talking about such deep and sometimes uncomfortable and controversial matters - and always do so productively and with gentleness and large amounts of humor. It's mostly me, Brian, Taylor and the band getting in on the conversation but others sometimes join the circle for a few minutes too. There's no TV watching, no small talk. We know each other well and speak freely, confident that we can't offend or disappoint, knowing we're cared about and released then to be honest and stupid and knowing and confused openly. Here's just some of what's been discussed so far:

FREE MASONS: This is a topic from last year. Are they a cult? Where and when did they start and why? Is it true that they secretly run the country? George Rowe, not on the tour this year, last year actually brought a folder full of research he'd done on them over a two day tour break and "taught" us about this odd group. Seemed uninteresting to me at first but turned out to be geekly fascinating. And George is a great teacher.

REFORMED THEOLOGY: Every Christian tour has it's reformed folks and reformed folks like to convert other Christians to their brand of theology. Interesting I think. Our resident reformed evangelist is Jeff Pardo, band leader/keyboardist, and he's just fun to mess with. We don't disagree with him but we enjoy getting him to talk in circles like a dog chasing his tail. But who wouldn't get turned around with a bunch of mean spirited fast talking friends like us ganging up on them? The tail chasing begins when he says God is sovereign and therefore can do anything. Then we ask him if God can limit Himself in any way, say, limit his knowing or his controlling or his omnipresence, if He can contradict His own nature, disobey His own commands, make a rock so big He can't lift it etc etc.. No, the answer comes back. Well, we turn the screw, if God CAN'T then we can't say He CAN do everything can we? This is meaningless of course but we don't tell Jeff this, we just enjoy the stream of smoke spewing from his ears as his brain sputters and spins. That's a good time. (Seriously, Michael Olson and Brian AND Jeff have great insights on this brand of theology. And we're slated to talk about it's opposite, Open Theology, sometime soon.)

PACIFISM: We haven't hit it this year but last year it was a good little discussion. I'm obviously a pacifist - obvious if you've read much on my blog and message board over the last two years. But few folks in CCM circles are I've found. There were some pretty hard core Republicans last year on this tour who were arguing heavily for war. But they couldn't make a very strong biblical case for it. Practicality and self-preservation were their guiding principles. This year when politics/war came up those folks were more reserved, even saying that maybe we shouldn't have gone to war at all, but we all agreed that now that we have gone to war it's more costly to human lives to pull out now without cleaning up some of the mess. Of course we're musicians and have no idea how that mess gets cleaned up and who who should do it.

CANONIZATION: We have a Greek Orthodox guy out here, Brian and I grew up Southern Baptists, Jeff is Presbyterian, and there are some undeclared folks in the circle as well. And, being Gen-Xers and younger, none of us give a rat's what denomination we belong to as much as we do about what is lived out and emphasized in our respective churches. The one thing we all have in common is a concern or curiosity over canonization. We've talked at length about Constantine and how he jacked up the Christian faith by marrying it to the government and how under this new theocracy of his canonization took place. So we have questions about things like the Gospel of Thomas and the differences between the Orthodox Bible, Catholic Bible and the Bible most Protestants use. Brian and the Orthodox guy are the resident experts on this.

BOOMER CHURCH/CHURCH MARKETING: There's one guy out here who'll say anything, calls it like he sees it and he started this discussion by asking why Baby Boomers have to name sermons after TV shows or movies. He went off in fact about how false and fraudulent it all seems to him to market Jesus and church as if that's going to make him show up. He said it all so well that I wished I could have recorded it all and sent it out in a mass e-mail to every megachurch in the US. Unanimously, none of us wanted our churches to "chase culture" as one person dubbed the tactic. It was obvious that if other folks our age think and feel this strongly and this way the Willow Creek Association is in big trouble. But, I'd argue, if marketing doesn't matter to us, if we just want the truth and depth and challenge and community and service, then we'll show up in spite of the slick marketing. And I do. So maybe the Association isn't doomed after all.

THEOCRACY: The role of religion in culture and politics. Last night this came up because of the war discussion. I wondered out loud if Falwell-esque conservatives who've been very much for this war in Iraq in part because it would establish democracy and physical freedom (two things presumed to be inherently good and godly) regret their support of the war now that it is resulting in the establishment of an Islam based theocracy. In other words, to Christian conservatives in America, does the good of physical freedom and democracy outweigh the evil of establishing a government around a false God, Allah? Because that's precisely what we've done. Good discussion, no conclusion.

MUSIC: Have you heard...? I think___________ is a better guitar player than ___________blah blah blah

CHRISTIAN MUSIC: ALl but one person on this tour does not listen to Christian music on a regular basis and all but that one don't buy it either. We talked about why that is. Why be in something you don't support? Do we think we're better or different from that which we don't like? Are we arrogant? What is it we don't like exactly? Is it musical, lyrical or philosophical? Can it be changed? Should it be? How did it get this way? What was it's purpose when it began? Do we want to stay in this industry? Is there an alternative? Good honest talk that made us all feel better but really solved nothing in the end. It did get us asking better questions though.

LEGALIZATION OF DRUGS AND PROSTITUTION: I wasn't in on this one and can't really believe there was so much support for every side of this debate. I can't believe there's a debate. But there was and it yielded lots of inside jokes and revelations about each other. You'd never guess in a million years who was for legalizing prostitution. Wow. Things CCM magazine should never know...like they'd even ask.

More topics as they come. Feel free to pick one of these and discuss amongst yourselves.

39 Comments:

Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

Hmmm let's expound on music a little bit. lol Just kidding. Actually the whole legalization of drugs and prostitution was something that we discussed in 9th grade during my World History class. Someone brought up the point that their mom's rules were not really rules at all. For example she could smoke weed if she did it in her house. She could basically do whatever she wanted as long as her mom knew where she was. And this led the student to not want to do any of the things that she was allowed to do. It was interesting to think that maybe if drugs were legalized no on would wanna do them any more because there was no risk involved, there was no risk of getting caught. And those that who were addicted would eventually kill themselves and therefor in the long run totally destory the world of drugs. With out consumers you have no need for a business and the same thing goes for prostitution.
However, prostitution is a little bit more in the dark about the out come. True more than likely STD's would sky rocket as well as abortion rates. There could possibly be more dnager for women if prostitution was legalized. Like kiddnappings and pimp daddy's rates goin up and what not because of legalization.
Then again what's the fun of being a prostitute or druggy if when caught there are no consequences?

12/04/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Then we ask him if God can limit Himself in any way, say, limit his knowing or his controlling or his omnipresence, if He can contradict His own nature, disobey His own commands, make a rock so big He can't lift it etc etc.. No, the answer comes back. Well, we turn the screw, if God CAN'T then we can't say He CAN do everything can we?"

this question seems to be literally meaningless. a weight that an omnipotent being cannot lift is as complete a contradiction in terms as a four sided triangle. In either cas the words are English, but do not mean anything because they cancel each other out. There is no point in piling together a lot of words, regardless of their meaning, and then asking triumphantly "can God make that?" God can do anything, but a contradiction in terms is not a thing at all. It is nothing. God Himself could not make a four-sided triangle or a weight that Almighty power could not lift. They are inconceivable, they are nothing; and nothing-to give a slightly different emphasis to Scripture-is impossible to God.-Sheed


Seth

12/04/2005  
Blogger Nick said...

I'm glad people in CCM are discussing these things and that there are actually multiple sides of the conversation. I'm on the other side of the marketing fence, so it makes me smile to imagine people like Watermark or Ginny Owens possibly having opinions on the topics you mentioned that deviate from the mainstream Evangelical status quo - that's not a commentary on these artists as individuals because obviously I don't know them, but that's just how the music and image is packaged by the industry, I suppose. Squeaky-clean, safe, and comfortably familiar for the American family.

12/04/2005  
Anonymous anna said...

now i wanna know who that one person is who doesnt buy/listen to christian muzac cuz i dont think you need to listen to it to be a christian or a christian singer or what have you.........so now im reallyy curious.........guess thats one more question i have to write down so i can ask God when i meet him :) no really....

12/04/2005  
Anonymous Tunz4jesus said...

Christian Music? For the most part, it bites. I heard Freebird at a DC*B concert a while back and that rocked. But not everyone is in the same place and some people enjoy ccm, no name calling please, so maybe it's not about the music but about God getting the glory regardless of our vocation. Please keep stirring the pot, and posting discussion topics, wish I could paartipate,
Tunz

12/04/2005  
Blogger Thomas said...

Shaun, I am happy that you all are taking the time to disscuse these topics. If we as Christians blindly live our lives and fail to address these subjects, how can we as followers of Christ be able to answer such questions when asked by someone who does not know God or his love.

I will admit that I am one of those strong rebulican Christians who supported this war that we are in. I just wished that we were better suited for the war that we are in. The difference between the beginning of the war and now is that I wished that I had listend to more people who took your position Shaun. Since joing your message board and reading your blog , I have begun to examine where I stand on such topics. We might never agree on everything, but you are helping me to open my mind on such matters.

One last thing, I want to thank you and all the Rocketown artist who are on this concert. A friend who attended saturdays 12-3 concert said that she felt blessed to be there and have the chance after the concert to spend time with you all. God bless you Shaun.

Thomas

12/04/2005  
Blogger Daniel Konold said...

very well put.

12/04/2005  
Blogger Toby said...

now i wanna know who that one person is who doesnt buy/listen to christian muzac ...

You misread only one does listen.

Concerning the open theology, Shaun ya'll are daring if your gonna go there. I like that. Personally, I'm developing some open leanings, but I just can't walk through the door. I think there must be some willing limitedness for intercessory prayer to truly be meaningful, but I believe God is all powerful and can do whatever he judges best, but I probably shouldn't open the door to my heresy here. Keep thinking big and have a good tour.

12/05/2005  
Blogger Magnanimity said...

I love Christian radio. I love not having to hear questionable ads, DJs, and media advertisments.

There may be some good stuff over there, but I can't afford to go fishing in those holes for it for long.

I'm just too vulnerable to my compass being shifted...but, that's just me.

I love Christian radio. There are amazing and creative artists and songs our there that drive me to dance in my room with the door close, to pray on my tub step with the lights out, to cry in my soul. There is more than I can possibly digest.

As compared to secular? I don't know...I enjoy it, but I get tired of the overwhelming message that unfaithfulness is the norm...and can be rather humorous if you just paint it in the right light long enough. Get ready...your day with come, and then you'll sing my song. No! I won't sing the songs or let my kids hear them.

I love Christian music. I love the consecrated air spaces we have, less professional as they may be. I love that I don't have to hear a lot that taints the good I just heard.

I wish there were ways to make it more profitable for those who pour themselves and their lives into it.

Me

12/05/2005  
Anonymous keith said...

Free Masons: I don't believe they're a cult. There were a few men in my first church in the group, and I believe they are/were sound Christians. Besides, don't you have to claim to be a church or religious group to be a cult? I don't think they can be categorized as a religous group although Christianity is a part of some of their traditions. No expert here, though. I only know a few Masons and have been to a couple of Masonic funerals.

12/05/2005  
Anonymous Jeff Pardo said...

Okay, so mean old Shaun did drive me around in circles a bit.....

Just wanted to let all of you know, that after spending some good time with Shaun both last year and this year, he is one of the most gifted thinkers, musicians, and teachers that I know, and you'd all do well to keep supporting him. He loves Jesus and people, and we need more like that in the world.

Of course, he is from Texas, and I'm from Chicago, which is WAY better, but we'll leave that alone.....

12/05/2005  
Anonymous Stephen said...

"When you listen to black gospel music, you go “Maybe there is a God.” Then you listen to white gospel music and go “No, there’s not”.”
John Hiatt
Paste Music Interview

12/05/2005  
Blogger methy said...

Keith, a cult can also be an obsessive devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing. We just don't know how far "obsessive" the masons are because we aren't one of them. (If you are one please feel free to just in any time...)

I do know that there are levels of the free masons (due to friends and family) and my guess is that there are some people that don't get as obsessively caught up in the mix of things. But then again I think that there probably are.

I would love to get more information on them though. All I have are a few first person stories of those involved with masons, no masons themselves (and a couple of books I have read at Barnes & Nobles).

Anything anyone wants to pass along would be great. More fact than fiction would be nice though, I have enough hearsay for now.

Btw, I'm Meredith and a lurker (I read but don't usually post). Thought I should introduce myself after making everyone read that much of comment. ;)

12/05/2005  
Blogger Amy said...

the christian music thing is interesting to me, perhaps because all the others I have heard many sides taken, but I haven't much communicated with Christian artists about why they don't listen to Christian music.

I am thankful that God can use anything. I am thankful for the way He has used music, a tool often used by the enemy for a harvest of bad things in my life, as a positive thing that points me back to Him. I can't blanket all Christian music but there is some that is used time and again by the Lord in my life.

but it is troubling to me that Christian artists that I listen to, don't listen to Christian music. I can't exactly put my finger on why yet. If you told me you listened to a mix, that would be totally different. Like I said, I can't put my finger on why. maybe it's nothing but surprise.

anyway, thanks for the great post.

12/06/2005  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

Freemasons are a cult imho. They have many secret ceremonies, and private meetings for the top eshelons of their membership too. Mormonism has many Masonry ties too although they don't admit it. Joseph Smith was arrested many times for "money digging", using divining rods, etc. was a Mason before inventing his own cult. Many Mormon ceremonies have great similarities to Masons. They use some of the same symbols in their meeting places, etc. Just because a group calls themselves Christian doesn't make it so. Mormons believe they are the only True Christians too. Newer Masons (those at the "lower levels" of membership), like Mormons have no idea what their cult REALLY teaches until they've been in awhile and indoctrinated more thoroughly. Ask a new Mormon convert about their eventual rise to "godhood," ruling their own planet, baptisizng the dead by proxy, etc. and they are most likely clueless. Freemasons, like Mormons have no one in their ranks with professional theological degrees. They purposely stay away from it because it would prove them wrong. There are many good books out there and websites too. Do some reading and be informed so you can arm yourselves also be prepared to be a proper witness for the TRUTH.

As for artists not listening to Christian music, that's kinda strange. I guess it's kinda like an automaker not driving a car to me. I would think they would listen just to know what's out there. I see nothing wrong with listening to secular music as long as the listener is mature enough to discern while doing so. I listen almost exclusively to Christian music now just because I enjoy it more. The secular scene to me is much more repetetive and lacks substance musically. The Christian scene can too depending on the artist, genre, etc. I don't hear much indie music just because I have such a limited choice of stations. I wonder if when they say they don't listen to Christian music, they mean as a casual listener, when I'd think they probably hear a great deal of it just because of the business. I heard MWS say in an interview once that he listens mostly to classical (a lot of John Williams) because that's what he likes.

Beth

12/06/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think if Christian artists aren't listening to Christian music, they are only hearing what WAY FM is telling them to hear. I am not a fan of Christian music as a whole, but I am a fan of music, and there is no denying the artistry about writing life situations from a Christian perspective (assuming it is done correctly). To refuse to "buy/listen" to Christian music, just seems silly to me. It almost seems like it is out of principal. There are "groundbreaking" Christian artist out there that, in my opinion surpass "secular" music in content, talent (in lyric and music) and have pin holed them selves into the "Christian" world simply to praise Christ and not "be cool" in the secular music world. Anyone who has a hard time listening to Christian music needs to check out, Derek Webb, U2, Don Chaffer (Solo as well Waterdeep), Pedro the Lion, and Jars of Clay (not the WAY FM stuff but the actual CD's), just to name a few. Don't get me wrong, I know they are few and far between, but there is something about an artist connecting with its "audience" on a spiritual level that cannot be equaled to the "secular" world of music. There is power in a talent that communicates the things of Christ, and how lives can and have been changed, and personally I would rather hear that, over music that I have to say, "I like the music, but don't buy into the content". I am very rarely offended by secular music, but there is something refreshing about spiritually agreeing with what I am listening to. My collection of music consists of about 2/3's "secular music, and most of my Christian music is less "talented" than some of the other stuff, but I never have grasped the concept of separating them so much. You have good music or bad music, Christian and secular fall into that category. I love music, I love good, talented music, rap, country, rock, pop, if it's good, it's good, and just because it's Christian doesn’t automatically make it less skilled. As Christian artists, no one says you need to listen to Christian music, but shouldn't an "artist" in general be a fan of the "arts" no matter which god it serves?

brody

12/06/2005  
Blogger Nancy Tyler said...

Mr. Pardo!

Good to see you. Have you had any Giordano's lately?

:)


nancy

12/06/2005  
Blogger ks said...

My dad-in-law grew up in southern california. Apparently when he was in college, they'd pack up car loads and go to church on Friday nights to listen to some cool bands who dug Jesus. That was before there were Christian labels. Before people paid thirty dollars to listen to someone sing about Jesus.
BUt I guess good things get popular, and maybe there's no way to stop it. And to quote Keith Green "there's money to be made in the name of JEsus! and the world is going to make it."

But I think it's kind of ignorant to limit yourself to only Christian music. "secular" music is such an awesome tool in reaching out to people and understanding what a life without Christ is like. People can be honest about music and relate with it more than with words. And I for one, enjoy finding "secular" songs that match my musical taste and worldview. It gives me hope.

12/06/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i like mr groves.
-mr irwin

12/06/2005  
Blogger Kristen said...

I can't believe that there are so many people in Christian music, who don't actually listen to it regularly.

Yes, I'm the first to admit that there are a lot of "feel good" bands out there, but with artists like Derek Webb, Sara Groves, Jars of Clay, and others, there is still a lot of value to be found in it.

Some Christian artists may not always do a good job of representing great art, but we can't write off Christian music as a whole because of it.

12/06/2005  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

I like Mr. Groves too.

Beth

12/06/2005  
Blogger Nancy Tyler said...

Hi Irwin!

:)

12/07/2005  
Anonymous Ardman said...

I was surfing through artist playlists the other day on itunes. I noticed that most of the Christian artists didn't have much, if anything from the Christian side of the industry in their playlists.

On one hand I find it unfortunate that Christian artists are not very good at supporting each other. On the other hand, being an artist usually means you have some appreciation for art as well, and in the Christian industry, all the art usually gets produced out of the music, so I understand.

I personally am proud to listen to Christian music. Fernando Ortega, Andrew Peterson, Shaun Groves, Jars of Clay are great. You won't find much Casting Crowns, Matthew West or Mercy Me on my playlist though.

12/07/2005  
Blogger methy said...

What does anyone think about the order of the Elks? Should they be under the same scrutany that the masons seem to be under?

12/07/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It just doesn't stun me that ccm artists dont listen to much other ccm music. One reason is that they live and breathe the stuff. they tour with these people, and are around it constantly. I bet when a highschool choir teacher gets done with her students he or she does not pop in a highschool choir cd to jam to on their way home. they probably need a break. I imagine it also keeps them from comparison. Besides there is plenty of other music that has a Christian message that isnt displayed in CCM mag.
check out Sufjan Stevens' song "Chicago" from his new CD illinois.

Seth

12/07/2005  
Anonymous keith said...

Order of the Elks? Are those African or European elks?

12/08/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Thanks Seth. You're dead on. And I will buy something from Jars of Clay, Taylor Sorensen or Bebo Norman and ANdrew Peterson, but honestly, that has more to do with having lived with those guys (not Peterson though) on tours in the past and thinking they write great lyrics or make great music in general more often than most - more than me.

CCM doesn't set trends. It chases culture, chases trends. It's always behind, like music made for TOP 40 radio in mainstream music. I like Progressive Radio and Triple A stuff and pop/rock that sounds slightly to very different from the majority of what's done. I lije the stuff that's in the majority fine but I want to learn from the trail blazers. I get such little free time to listen - without kids in the car or a list of things to do - that I want to spend that timebeing stretched mentally, spiritually and sonically by music. Not always, but much of the time. And almost nothign in CCM circles does that for me. Same old cliches musically and lyrically. Same old production styles. Good listening if you have the time, but I don't. I want Decemberists, Death Cab For Cutie, Iron and Wine, Wes Cunningham...And truly prgressive (fancy word for different from most) CCM music gets dropped from labels unless it crosses over: Taylor Sorensen, Mute Math (I predict they'll cross or drop in the next year), Chasing Furies, Sara Jahn, Sarah Masen, Kendal Paine etc etc. ANd I'm sure there's more I'd love but haven't heard about because the machine of CCM marketing (aka radio) doesn't push those artists - and I understand why and empathize.

I'm rambling and saying nothing new here but just know that I don't dislike other CCM artists. They just don't give me what I'm looking for in a listening experience - that may be because they're too much like me. Who knows? I mean no disrespect. It's just not for me and if I were a consumer outside the business of music I might not buy even my own music. That's fair isn't it?

Lastly, with all the topics I posted THIS, CCM artists not listening to CCM, is what gets the most comments. ANd that is part of what confuses me or is different from me when it comes to consumers of CCM. Handed all these topics the LAST thing I and my pals out here on the road would gravitate toward talking about is CCM. It's not a bad topic - or I wouldn't have posted - but does it really engage or provoke or stimulate you intellectually and spiritually more than the others? DO the others not lure you into thought and conversation at all? Why is that? Is it ust that this topic of CCMers and their taste in music surprised you all the most? Why the high interest level? I'd really like to understand.

SG

PS. Masons, IMHO are not a cult because they are a-religious. They make no claims about GOd or the nature of man overtly and in fact do not allow mention of God or religion in their lodges.

12/08/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, i am way more interested in reformed vs. open theology but it did not seem to be a hot topic. masons and mormons...come on. do we really believe everything that we read?

CCM is a perplexing beast. I think mainly for the reason that you just stated, I just doesn't set trends. I have to wonder...why????? it is only in the last century Music that is Christian has not been the trend setting environment that it should be, actually not true, most of motown,elvis, and early r&b got their grooves from black gospel. Now, when they do set trends like Mutemath, it isnt long until they "cross over" and distance themselves from the baptized and saved CCM industry.

you said:
"And I'm sure there's more I'd love but haven't heard about because the machine of CCM marketing (aka radio) doesn't push those artists - and I understand why and empathize."

My question is -why. why dont they push those artists. doesn't humanity ever get tired of waiting till people are DEAD and gone to recognize their genius. Yesterday, i pulled out my old Jim Croche tunes. man, what a songwriter. nobody really paid much attention until he bit the dust in a plane crash. I wonder if radio is to blame for his lack of recognition. I think that "day in the life" was rarely ever played on the radio but it is one of the Beatles if not the greatest song that they wrote. just so darn weird to me. Paul Simon's graceland, that "if you'll be my bodyguard" song is good but nowhere near the best song on the album. and thats not just me, anyone who knows that album will tell you that. anyway, it just perplexes me. maybe you've got some more insight...

seth

12/08/2005  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

Seth,

Good stuff about Jim Croche. He was a genius. As for masons and mormons, I've done a good bit of research lately because I have some close friends who are Mormon and I'm trying my best to figure out why they could be so duped. I don't know much of anything about the Masons except that they have a great many secrets and secret ceremonies. There is a lot of documentation to substantiate that Joseph Smith was in fact a Mason (and asked to leave the organization) and was criticized for his "revelations" and subsequent use of of Masonic ceremonies, (or vastly similar ones), rituals, etc. Today's mormons deny this just as much as they deny the fact that Smith was killed in a shoot-out in a jail rather than "martyred" as they like to say. He was very armed, and killed before he was killed. I doubt they'd have much in common today, but I can't say. If masons are "a-religious" how come they refer to their lodge meeting places as temples? Just curious 'cause I don't know anything about them.

Beth

12/08/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beth,

We just did a big study on mormonism at our church and a little delving into the "doctrine of the covenants" and "the pearl of great price" might surprise some of my Mormon friends. One of the oddest things that I learned about Mormonism, not poking fun here, is that if you want you can get married in the temple and you and your wife put on whats called "holy underwear" and wear it for the rest of your life, and NEVER take it off and i mean NEVER. anyway, J. Smith may have been a Mormon, but so were many great Main-line Christian men. Plenty of what has been written about freemasons is pretty much hype written to sell books. Kind of like the Da Vinci code is not a reliable reference for the history of Christendom.

Seth

12/08/2005  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

Seth,

"anyway, J. Smith may have been a Mormon, but so were many great Main-line Christian men." Is this what you meant to say or did you mean Mason where you said Mormon? Isn't the D&C and "The Pearl" just incredibly funny (in a sad sort of way)? It amazes me how otherwise intelligent people can be so deceived. The average Morman knows very little about the upper eshelons, the true teachings, the money that pours into that cult, etc. It's crazy. I haven't read anything about the freemasons so I can't comment about their beliefs or practices. I know just a bit about the secret ceremonies, etc. from a former Mason that happens to be a friend.

Beth

12/08/2005  
Blogger Amy said...

Hi Shaun,

It's taken me awhile to get back to this, but as I stated before..many of the other things you discussed are topics I have had conversations with other people about. They are the sort of things that might come up more frequently. I attended Bible school and then lived in Japan where I knew like two other Christians. I had my mind pulled and stretched on many topics with people in both places. But since I don't hang out with CCM artists much, I didn't really think about the music they listen to. So that was new to me. Does that make sense as to why it was what I commmented on and perhaps why others commented on it as well?
Maybe people wonder too, why they support something that those who are making it can't even support. I guess and this may sound totally off base and off the wall, but it feels like "this is good enough for you but it's not good enough for me."
I don't want to be the sort of person who stays stuck in their ways, and I don't feel like I immerse myself in the Christian culture to the exclusion of all else. I am deeply grateful for what you do both with music and teaching. I have lived in the driest and darkest of places spiritually where a song about the Lord was an oasis in the desert. There was a time when the online Christian community was all I had because of crazy work hours. (the internet is always open. :-))
Christian fiction has challenged me and inspired me to see things in a new light. I am grateful for these things. Now I'm rambling. I guess and these are probably my issues, but it made me feel lesser because I like Christian music, but Christian artists can't even really and truly endorse it themselves. so...that's why. some of those other things are simply not as personal.

12/09/2005  
Anonymous Ardman said...

Since Christian radio keeps being referenced, I'd like to make a few clarifications. Christian radio has NO obligation whatsoever to market any certain Christian artist. EMI does own some of the record industry and radio industry, But for independant non-profit stations like the one my wife works at, it's a ministry to the listener, not a marketing charity to the artist.

There is a lot of research and consulting that goes into radio philosophy. Online testing is done (imperfect but better than no testing, as it used to be). Every year an auditorium test is also done.

I think testing is imperfect because the listener natually gravitates towards a familiar sound, and doesn't realize that the lack of variety they complain about is the result of their own testing. It is my opinion, for that reason, that the philosophy has to be adjusted. But the ideas I've heard so far just wouldn't work.

Awhile back, Shaun, you had some ideas. Here's what you said:

"On-line music panels don't bug me if songs are tested there AFTER being spun 400 times. Testing a song before it's been played this much ( that many spins would still only get it heard a few times by an avid listener) only tests for familiarity."

First of all, that's not true about familiarity. When an online test is taken, the listener not only rates the song, but says whether or not the recognize it. A test result rating is not taken seriously until the familiarity reaches a very high percentage (don't remember the exact number). Secondly, How is it possible that an avid listener would only hear it a few times after 400 spins? That's a ton of spins! The song would have to be played nearly 7 times a day over a two month period. Then to be fair, all the other currents would have to get the same treatment. Listeners already complain about hearing the same songs over and over again without this rule in place.

If an MD wants to play favorites and only do this for some songs and/or artists, it's possible that that after 400 spins, the song starts to test well because all the people who don't like and have been giving it bad scores get fed up and quit taking the test, or even worse, quit listening altogether.

12/09/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

interesting. what if online music panels were not so democratic. it seems strange that this is the only area in art that these judgement calls are being made. if everyone would have voted on van-gogh at the time most would have hated it. it was a select few who could recognize the beauty and inspired genius to bring it to the light. people soon after, went crazy for it. i am just saying that maybe there are some people better equiped to make those kind of judgements. in fact the whole world is pretty much run that way. WE dont even live in a totally democratic society, rather a republic. i would hate rule out the listener support altogether, so maybe their vote could still play a large part but not be the judge, jury, and verdict. i have taken some of these surveys and some of the questions seem so black and white. like "on a scale from 1-10, 1 being the worst..." or "if you heard this song, would you be more or less likely to change the chanel?" what about questions like the ones they give on psychological profiling, where you are asked a question and you think you know why they are asking but you really dont. (maybe too complicated huh? ) or just simply "is their something that draws you to listen to this song." "is this song easily understood? if not or if so, why?" "of whom does this song remind you"

dumb questions maybe off the top of my head, but again, i am not paid to come up with better questions and there are people somewhere out there who are.

seth

12/09/2005  
Anonymous Ardman said...

All good thoughts, Seth. I do think it is unfortunate that Christian radio is more entertainment and less art. It's rating driven like everyone else. Poor ratings, of course usually translate into poor income, and the risk of having to sell out to a big corperation like Clearchannel or EMI(K-Love).

12/09/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"art" -- music that I like that my local Christian station doesn't play, or the music of my coffeehouse-guitar friends

"chasing the culture" -- CCM music that sounds like the music on secular stations, which, by the way, is almost entirely derivative-sounding of the other music on those stations

"Death Cab for Cutie", et al -- cool bands that 95% of mainstream radio stations don't play, either

"ratings-driven (sell-out) CCM radio stations" -- Christian ministries that dare to quantify the effectiveness of a broad-casting (not narrow-casting) efforts, rather than pat themselves on the back for operating an expensive personal jukebox for 14 listeners.

"CCM radio should be art" -- the expectation that the people paid $25k a year to PD a radio station should take a staff of part-timers and produce 24/7 programming that enlightens, provokes, prophesies, educates, plays high-level artistic music, and somehow still has listeners, even though the "mainstream" equivalent for this would massive require taxpayer funding to survive, and triple the salaries.

"entertainment-oriented radio stations" -- stations that realize they're there for a few minutes in someone's dashboard, they're not the Church itself. A refreshingly humble, we're-not-the-end-all-be-all position to take for a ministry.

"thank-you notes" -- the hundreds of emotional letters, handwritten and emailed, many/most teenagers, that these lame CCM stations get every single day from people profoundly touched by the inartful, derivative and highly imperfect sounds coming out of their radios.

Brant

12/09/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brant, i am in dissagreement with you on most of these points but i really want to learn more, without starting a huge CCM radio bashing discussion. mainly questions...

"art" -- music that I like that my local Christian station doesn't play, or the music of my coffeehouse-guitar friends"

-exactly


""chasing the culture" -- CCM music that sounds like the music on secular stations, which, by the way, is almost entirely derivative-sounding of the other music on those stations"

so now we are chasing culture that is chasing culture? Does this make it right?


"CCM radio should be art" -- the expectation that the people paid $25k a year to PD a radio station should take a staff of part-timers and produce 24/7 programming that enlightens, provokes, prophesies, educates, plays high-level artistic music, and somehow still has listeners, even though the "mainstream" equivalent for this would massive require taxpayer funding to survive, and triple the salaries."

no, just NOT wait until bands like switchfoot or mutemath hit it HUGE to start sharing the airtime with FFH.


"entertainment-oriented radio stations" -- stations that realize they're there for a few minutes in someone's dashboard, they're not the Church itself. A refreshingly humble, we're-not-the-end-all-be-all position to take for a ministry."

Even though you are not the church, or the end-all-be-all does that still not burn you a little that most believe is sub-par double-imitative music that no one will remember in 2 years that happens to have a good message or does the good out-weigh this evil?

"thank-you notes" -- the hundreds of emotional letters, handwritten and emailed, many/most teenagers, that these lame CCM stations get every single day from people profoundly touched by the inartful, derivative and highly imperfect sounds coming out of their radios.

this has to be the best part of your job. would it not be that much sweeter if you were playing tunes that were not "inartful, derivative and highly imperfect" and as "art" would stand the test of time- which for some reason God has made the ultimate gavelin to what has a lasting impact on humanity?

Seth

12/10/2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shaun:
In responce to your last post wondering the overwhelming "interest" in the CCM topic. I think the basis of that simply comes from the topics themselves. I happen to know alot of people that aren't interested in talking about reformed theology, but have several CD's in their car. Or people that have no opinion of Free Masonry but have hundreds of songs memorized. Music reaches everyone, and everyone has an opion on the matter. I understand and respect the other comments, but to even have an argument or opinion you have to first be interested in it, and second be somewhat knowledgable. The ratio of people that are interested in Canonization is slighlty slanted from the people that are interested in music. Beyond that, this blog is linked to your music website, and the chances of someone not interested in music at all, stopping by looking for a deep discussion about the legalization of prostitution/drugs, is not likey.

-brody

12/10/2005  
Anonymous Ardman said...

Shaun, if you haven't ditched this string of comments yet, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the last several posts. I hope I haven't made you upset. I don't get the feeling you have very many warm fuzzy feelings for us radio people. I understand.

By the way, someone mentioned Sufjan Stevens awhile back. That's awesome. I just discovered him recently, and I can't wait to by some of his music from itunes. That guy is definately an ARTIST in the true sense of the word.

12/12/2005  

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