Creativity in Christian Music

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Sep 5, 2018
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#1
As a musician I have played in many different settings. Churches, bars, festivals, stages large and small. I've played many different styles.

With that being said, I find that there is a terrible lack of creativity in Christian music. When we look back through history to musicians like Bach and the like (Christian men by the way). They were at the forefront of music. They were doing wildly creative things! In fact, they were considered mad men. But they CHANGED music. They were doing things that revolutionized music. Where as Christian bands now are playing radio friendly 4 chord 4/4 junk.

If we are to be emulators of God, should we not try to emulate his creativity? Why are we sitting back and accepting this stale garbage?
 

TheIndianGirl

Well-known member
Nov 22, 2019
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#2
With that being said, I find that there is a terrible lack of creativity in Christian music. When we look back through history to musicians like Bach and the like (Christian men by the way). They were at the forefront of music. They were doing wildly creative things!
What type of creative things? I'm not knowledgeable of this type of history.

My favorite type of Christian music is choral music. I don't really see a reason to churn out new songs like Christian rock or Christian pop. Many Christian songs and hymns are timeless classics, I think we can just stick with those. Of course I believe we can still have new songs, if they are God-inspired. However, I believe many songs are created for commercial purposes and it shows.
 
Sep 5, 2018
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#3
Well you're exactly right, it is radio friendly, and commercial. I do enjoy choral music. However, I do believe that Christian music should stay relevant. I do not know many 18-40 year old people that love choral music and classic hymns.

Christians should be on the cutting edge of creativity.
 

TheIndianGirl

Well-known member
Nov 22, 2019
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#4
Well you're exactly right, it is radio friendly, and commercial. I do enjoy choral music. However, I do believe that Christian music should stay relevant. I do not know many 18-40 year old people that love choral music and classic hymns.

Christians should be on the cutting edge of creativity.
I prefer traditional calming choir music instead of gospel choir music (which is more lively with dancing and clapping hands). I think the way to stay relevant is to return back to the old songs.

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/ponderanew/2018/10/25/hymns-are-better-than-contemporary-worship/
 

TheIndianGirl

Well-known member
Nov 22, 2019
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#5
I'd have to think more about this, but my initial thoughts are that I don't think there should be such a thing as "Christian music industry."

The classic Christmas songs (Joy to the World, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, etc.) will always remain the best Christmas songs.
 

Subhumanoidal

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2018
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#6
"Be all things to all men" by sticking to outdated and unpopular things and calling that more spiritual.

I must admit to being rather dumbfounded that a Christian that follows God, a creator, whose creations are vastly and endlessly imaginative and mind blowing believe the best solution is to stick to old things and that creativity should be limited.
The oceans alone still hold undiscovered species and are full of awe inspiring ones and finally balanced ecosystems. And that is merely one portion of the planet. And this planet just a dot in our universe among millions of other planets, stars, galaxies and other phenomen we may have yet to discover. The magnitude of creativity surrounding our existence is beyond comprehension and is perpetually new to us with each discovery. And this is all from one creative source.
And this is just in the physical, who knows what grander things exist beyond the physical?
Creativity is a gift given by a creative God and is one of the most amazing and special gifts given. And to see that diminished is disheartening. Yet among Christians sadly common.
 

Subhumanoidal

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2018
2,401
1,976
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#7
As a musician I have played in many different settings. Churches, bars, festivals, stages large and small. I've played many different styles.

With that being said, I find that there is a terrible lack of creativity in Christian music. When we look back through history to musicians like Bach and the like (Christian men by the way). They were at the forefront of music. They were doing wildly creative things! In fact, they were considered mad men. But they CHANGED music. They were doing things that revolutionized music. Where as Christian bands now are playing radio friendly 4 chord 4/4 junk.

If we are to be emulators of God, should we not try to emulate his creativity? Why are we sitting back and accepting this stale garbage?
Because people generally Want stale, easy and formulaic. It's comfortable. It's easy to swallow. It's "safe".
And God is often viewed in the same light. The God of soul mates, church garage sales, married pastor's with picket fences and 2.5 children and who always smile. And soccer moms and dads running their own businesses. Where sins are swept under the rug or overlooked because no one wants to be shamed for struggling.
Where people hide their dark secrets behind a smile because it's not "Christian" to admit to problems.
In a culture that fake and stale and dishonest, creativity is dangerous as it may leak out sincerity.

Growing up I avoided mainstream Christian music for less popular variations. With Christian music that felt more creative and sincere and open. Eventually I realized that music mostly felt creative in light of CCM, but their secular peers tended to far outshine them. And still do.
Often times even the most creative Christian music tends to be lesser copies of something secular.
And after 30 years of pondering this I feel it's because mostly Christians are attempting to fit in, rather than lead. See whats being done and try to make the best copy of that to fit in and hopefully make some headway in terms of acceptance.
But in my experience the only Christian music to get anywhere, at least since I've been watching, has mostly not been in the mainstream markets.
Stryper, P.O.D., NF having been some of the biggest, but Fit For A King, Silent Planet, August Burns Red and other having some decent success. And in the early 2000s there was the Christian-core movement that blew up and took over, but then imploded.

But in modern culture creativity in music and mainstream don't really go hand in hand. And that even goes for secular. And often times when creativity is involved it goes over people's heads. Creativity is often left on the outside to be played by musicians that get labeled as having no talent Because they go beyond 4 chords and 4/4.
To find the biggest collection of talented musicians means to step outside the mainstream sounds and take a risk at what's not always comfortable or easy and to reevaluate whats good.
 

TheIndianGirl

Well-known member
Nov 22, 2019
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#8
"Be all things to all men" by sticking to outdated and unpopular things and calling that more spiritual.

I must admit to being rather dumbfounded that a Christian that follows God, a creator, whose creations are vastly and endlessly imaginative and mind blowing believe the best solution is to stick to old things and that creativity should be limited.
The oceans alone still hold undiscovered species and are full of awe inspiring ones and finally balanced ecosystems. And that is merely one portion of the planet. And this planet just a dot in our universe among millions of other planets, stars, galaxies and other phenomen we may have yet to discover. The magnitude of creativity surrounding our existence is beyond comprehension and is perpetually new to us with each discovery. And this is all from one creative source.
And this is just in the physical, who knows what grander things exist beyond the physical?
Creativity is a gift given by a creative God and is one of the most amazing and special gifts given. And to see that diminished is disheartening. Yet among Christians sadly common.
Your posts are rather incoherent. Your tangent on our creative God and that God likes creativity is not really related to my comments. Maybe you missed it, but note that I said we can still create new songs if they are God-inspired. Do you agree with my comment that that many Christian songs are churned out for commercial reasons, and it shows as the songs lack creativity? You said "But in modern culture creativity in music and mainstream don't really go hand in hand. And that even goes for secular. And often times when creativity is involved it goes over people's heads." So, you agree that mainstream Christian music lacks creativity?
 

Subhumanoidal

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2018
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#9
Your posts are rather incoherent. Your tangent on our creative God and that God likes creativity is not really related to my comments. Maybe you missed it, but note that I said we can still create new songs if they are God-inspired. Do you agree with my comment that that many Christian songs are churned out for commercial reasons, and it shows as the songs lack creativity? You said "But in modern culture creativity in music and mainstream don't really go hand in hand. And that even goes for secular. And often times when creativity is involved it goes over people's heads." So, you agree that mainstream Christian music lacks creativity?
It's quite coherent. And connects directly to your comments. Your tone was "creativity bad, old good" and to counter that I presented the creativity God possesses and used in the creation of the universe. I'm not sure what is incoherent or disconnected about that.

And I clearly stated, and you even quoted, where I state most Christian music lacks creativity so I'm not sure the purpose of you posting a question on a subject i elaborated on previously.

But the notion that music should not be made unless some clear direct appointment from God is simply another anti-creativity commentary. Humans are expressive by nature. A trait God gave us. To attempt to stifle that is to run in contrast to what God has granted people.

People doing things Unto God are not diminished simply because God Himself did not direct it. Quite the opposite the Bible teaches peoples actions, even work, should be done for God's glory. It does not say people should do nothing until God tells them to.
Motive is often discarded among Christians rather than the value that should be placed on it. God grants musical (and other) creativity to people and there is nothing spiritual or 'correct' in stating people should not use it.