“Christian” Music Doesn’t Have to Suck. Here’s Proof.

Most modern “Christian” music sucks.

Save Sufjan Stevens.

Sufjan Stevens in mid-flight.

A recent article in The Atlantic discusses singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens as an anomaly and rare exception. The article also considers the gloried past, painful present, and hopeful future of Christians making music.

An excerpt:

…today’s disdain [of Christian art] is a fairly recent phenomenon—an anomaly, even. For centuries, Christians dominated the arts and shaped culture, from Michelangelo and Van Gogh to Bach and Beethoven to Tolkien and Eliot. It wasn’t until the 20th century that a shift took place, specifically in the area of music.

It concludes:

…the historical presence and significance of Christians making music doesn’t have to decline in perpetuity. It’s not so much that faith is missing from culture as much as it is living and breathing within it—and the success of artists like Stevens demonstrates how music that incorporates religious themes can thrive, while inspiring even the most secular of audiences.

Read The Atlantic’s “How Sufjan Stevens Subverts the Stigma of Christian Music” here.

Listen to Sufjan’s new album Carrie and Lowell here.

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The Atlantic on Driscoll: Who’s Promoting Who?

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Pastor Mark Driscoll preaches at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. (AP)

The Atlantic:

Mars Hill Church spent $210,000 getting its pastor’s book to the top of the New York Times best-seller list. Where is the line between a pastor promoting his own career and promoting the ministry of his church?

Fair question.

I usually avoid the comment section in these types of articles. However, commenter Wendy Alsup (a former member of Mars Hill Church) astutely notes,

This statement in the article is incorrect. “… emphasizing that all profits from Driscoll’s book sales have always gone to the church.” The BOAA statement said only that profits of books sold AT MARS HILL CHURCH go back to the church. Mark received royalties for books sold outside of the church.

I’m not following this story’s every nuance, but I’d call that a serious omission.

Read the article here.