Tuesday, January 29, 2008

MyCCM... and questions for you about "Christian music"

Check out the home page of MyCCM.org. (MyCCM is a social networking site, along the lines of MySpace, that has been built especially for Christians). I received a message today that they have me as the featured MyCCM blogger of the week! I joined MyCCM when it was brand new, back in the summer of 2006. I was quite excited about it at first, and I edited my profile a little bit and I posted a few blogs, but then for whatever reason I kind of backed away from it for a while and didn't do much with it. However, not too long ago I thought it wouldn't be too bad of an idea to begin blogging there again. Basically, what I do is I copy and paste the same content from this blog to my MyCCM blog. This, by the way, is also what I do with my MySpace blog.

Here are the links to my MyCCM profile and blog.

If you keep up with the comments that get posted on this blog, you may sense a bit of irony here! Just the other day, in a response to comments by LivingSword on my Testify To Love post, I proceeded to rip right into the CCM (contemporary Christian music) industry! :) Well, ok, I didn't really rip into them! What I did was I simply explained a few specific negative aspects of the CCM industry as I've seen it, behind the scenes.

But I do think a lot of good has come out of CCM and actually this gives me an opportunity to clear something up that I wrote in those comments the other day. My comments read, "I'm not a fan of Christian music." However, that blanket statement that I made isn't fully true. As I went on to say, "I do like some music that comes out of the music business known as CCM."

It would probably be more accurate for me to say that I'm not a huge fan of much of the CCM music that comes out, although I do think the quality of the music and lyrical content has dramatically improved over the years. I've gone through several phases in my view of CCM, including going to two extremes. At one time I remember applauding what I considered to be not only the fact that the quality of some CCM music was on par with a lot of quality "mainstream" music, but also that some CCM artists were really setting the standard in quality music and lyrics. I still believe that has been the case at times. (One example: I believe DC Talk was always way ahead of the curve). However, at other times I've been much more of a cynic and I've questioned how Christians could allow such poor quality music and lyrics to be released!

All that said, I think the very same thing is true in the "mainstream" music world! There is a LOT of cheesy, cookie cutter, low quality ear candy no matter where you go in the music world. And you will also find a decent amount of high quality, solid, well-put-together music. The "problem" for those in the CCM music world (at least as I see it) is that there is simply a much smaller pool of music to choose from when it comes to the choices program directors have when deciding what to play on the radio. They can only add a handful (or less) of songs every week. What I think that translates to is that the average CCM listener has less of a chance to find good, quality music to listen to. Perhaps if you're a CCM fan that hasn't been your experience?
Allow me to interrupt my ramblings here for a second and state that all of this is really my own opinion! If you feel the same or if you disagree, I'd love to hear from you!
As many of you who know me would imagine, another problem I have with CCM music is the terrible amount of legalism, even if ever so subtle, that I hear in the lyrics of a lot of the songs. I will say that I think this has changed for the better in recent years. I don't cringe as much as I used to when I'm listening to CCM radio. :)

The bottom line for me, as I said at the end of my response to LS, is that "I listen to all types of music, both on the radio and stuff that I have in my personal music collection. If I personally like a song, I'll listen to it. If I don't, I won't. I was once a huge cynic about all this, but now I just live and let live." :)

I spent 11 years at a CCM radio station, and we received letter upon letter (or email upon email) from people who had been positively affected by the music we played. I'm overall very thankful for the CCM industry, even if there are some negative aspects to it. As for the artists themselves, I really don't think that many of them are in it for the glory or the money or the fame, because overall there's not a whole lot of it to be found! Money... only a handful of artists can really quit their day jobs. Fame and glory... might perhaps be a little bit more accessible for some, even if they don't make a whole lot of money, but yet I've met so many artists and I've listened to what they have to say, and it really does appear to me that they really, genuinely are in this to spread the gospel and to encourage the church, and not for their own fame.

Any thoughts on this? Also, I've been careful to use terms like "CCM Music" in this post, as opposed to "Christian music." By CCM Music, I mean music that comes from the music industry known as CCM. (It is an actual industry, based mostly in Nashville, although you will find bits of it spread all around the U.S. and the world). Do you believe there is such a thing as "Christian music" or a "Christian band?" Or is it more like, "Christians who happen to be in a band?" Or is it a matter of music that has lyrics that speak of "Christian" things? Is it a matter of artists who happen to sing about Jesus? What about a "non-Christian band" that sings doctrinally sound lyrics? What about a Christian who sings songs that have nothing to do with "Christian" things? And so on and so on. Is there a need for solid lines and definitions, or should a Christian have the freedom to sing about whatever is on his or her heart (whether it's about his love for Jesus or whether it's about his wife or his job or his car or his last vacation, or whether it's about nature or a museum or... whatever he wants to sing about), with no need for a definition such as "Christian music?"


  1. Cogratulations, Joel. You're famous!

    Your comments about CCM music were interesting. I've really done a major shift in the last couple of years regarding music. Basically, I don't listen to much music of any kind.

    I used to attend a fellowship that was really big on praise and worship music. The pastor was a musician so that was a biggie with him. As a result, I was really interested in praise music but that wasn't really me.

    As Father has freed me to be me, I've found that I just don't listen to a lot of music. I'd much rather listen to podcasts. There's a good one that I really enjoy listening to named "Growing in Grace."

    I do occasionally listen to music but I really prefer show tunes or easy listening.

    Hubby is really involved with bluegrass music. If you think CCM music is heavily laced with legalism, you should try bluegrass music. Sometimes, it's pretty hard for me to take but, when we get together, I just enjoy the people and sing along if I like the music and the beat and try to ignore the words.


  2. Hi Aida,

    My thoughts on CCM have really moved all around the spectrum over the years and I think I'm sorta kinda more settled these days but yet the biz is always changing and so I'm sure my thoughts will too. I've also begun listening to less music in the past few years, also due in large part to great messages that I've downloaded onto my mp3 player, but there are still times I crank my music up! By the way, for some reason that "Growing in Grace" podcast sounds somewhat familiar. ;)

    Bluegrass music... and southern gospel (are they the same? I don't think so but I admit I'm ignorant as far as the classifications go)... Anyway, I've heard some of those types of music from time to time and I've never been able to keep tuned in, both because of the lyrics and the style of music. :)

    I do listen to all kinds of music. Sometimes, like you, I will listen to songs I like and tune out the lyrics. I do this with legalistic CCM songs as well as some mainstream rock and pop songs that have "poor" lyrics.

  3. Bluegrass and southern gospel are different. My husband could probably tell you more than I can about the differences but I do know that the instruments and style of playing are different. Some bluegrass actually has a celtic sound to it.

    If you've heard any of the music from the movie "O, Brother, Where Art Thou?", then you've heard bluegrass.

    BTW, those "Growing in Grace" podcasts are great! I would highly recommend them. You know, it's funny but one of the hosts reminds me of you.


  4. I kinda feel a little foolish for not knowing the difference between SG and BG. :) I'm sure if I heard samples of both I'd be able to immediately point out which one is which. I began to watch "O, Brother, Where Art Thou?" a few years ago on a long airplane flight but I ended up watching a dinosaur movie with my son. There was no SG or BG music in that movie. :D

  5. Don't feel bad about not watching all of "O Brother". We've got our own copy and I've started watching it several times and haven't seen the whole thing yet. In my opinion, you made a wise decision going with the dinosaurs.

    Also, if you never know the difference between BG and SG, you'll get along just fine.


  6. I have been doing a lot of research on ccm and christian music especially rock, the problem is ccm says they want sign someone who isnt promoting christian music, look at pod they not only curse in public, travel and perform with hard rock groups, they also sport occultic symbols all over their cd covers, and some of their lyrics are most diffinately not talking about
    christian anything.This group is just one of the many others that ccm promote and play.