I was listening to some song from some sample of some magazine. I’d never heard the artist or the song before, but suddenly recognized part of his lyrics. I guess maybe he sampled them from another band. I don’t know how that works. In the writing world, we call it “plagiarism.” (Like when Jesus Culture’s song suddenly sampled a pre-chorus from David Gray. The song? Babylon. Feels strangely like a conflict of interest.) But I digress.
So, in searching, I recognize the lyrics from Mumford & Sons Sigh No More. Funny thing, though, I came across all these blogs proclaiming Mumford as this incredible “Christian band.” Wait a sec, record scratch, back up a bit. Mumford’s first single from their debut album is Little Lion Man, which, in case you’re not aware, drops the F-bomb every chorus.
Now, maybe I’m not the only Christian who cusses or maybe Mumford is a Christian band or maybe they sing Christian music or maybe they just like the rhythm of the lyrics or, hell, maybe it really doesn’t matter one way or the other.
About a day later I was talking with my BFF about my momentary music obsession, Elenowen. She asked, “They’re a Christian band, right? I mean, that’s a Christian song.” I said, “No–I don’t know. Maybe. I mean, I guess it could be, but I don’t think so.”
Then all these quotes are popping up on the internet by the insightful Matt Chandler, who apparently at some point said something like, “There is no such thing as Christian music because music can’t accept Christ.” I have no idea the context of his statement but it’s been looping through my head for a while.
And then I enter into this self-righteous state of, “Ol’ Matt C is right. I just like music and won’t feel the need to classify something as Christian or secular.”
Enter Josh Garrels. I downloaded his free album (which, if you’re around me on Twitter or Facebook, you already know I’ve been plugging it nonstop for several days). Three songs in, I realize his album is completely and totally badass. Not only that, he was singing about Jesus. And not some abstract faux-religious concept of Jesus. He was singing about the Jesus I know. I literally stopped in my tracks and stared at the speakers and said, “Wow, this is Christian music.”
Ha. Back to square one.
My previous gauge of “Christian music” was solely dependent on whether or not Air1 has ever played it or if it was recorded by the worship band at a church. Now I’m wondering why we seem to have an overwhelming need to classify music and musicians as “Christian” or “non-Christian.” Some people say Lifehouse is a Christian band. Some people think they aren’t. Does it really matter? If I look at a car wash and see a symbol of how Christ’s sacrifice washed me clean, does that make it a Christian car wash?
Fact is, God uses all things for his glory, and we know that. Sure, not everything I say throughout my day is all about Christ, but that doesn’t make me any less of a Christian. So if Mumford has some members that love Christ and passionately seek him, good for them. I’d love to be hanging with them in heaven while they sing praises to God, because I imagine it’d sound pretty fantastic.
All I know is, if God wants to speak to me through a “non-Christian” song by a “non-Christian” band, he’s going to do it.
What are your thoughts? Is there any significance in recognizing a band or song as Christian or non-Christian? Or should we ignore that label altogether? Does it limit us at all to classify music in such a way?