It sucks, it sucks, it sucks.
And it doesn’t have anything to do with my position on Christianity or religion; It has to do with a love of music and a hatred of bad music. And the worst music I’ve ever heard? Bar none? Christian Rock — or as I sometimes hear it called in the modern parlance — Praise Music.
Riddle me this: If there is a God — and I ain’t sayin’ there ain’t, as you’ll see if you stick with me — would any God that I care to worship really allow such terrible, contrived, hackneyed, loathsome music to be created In His Name? Surely not-eth.
Right now, the inspiration for this rant is the venerable (I know, right?) 40th Anniversary Ichthus Festival, which is going on in the rolling hills of Wilmore, Kentucky, about a half-hour from here. It’s beautiful out there. Among other things, Wilmore is situated near the Kentucky River which is spanned by the civil engineering marvel High Bridge, one of the most magnificent and historic train bridges in the country. Wilmore is also home to Asbury College, a strongly faith-based institution that also happens to turn out some of the most media-savvy grads anywhere. Asbury consistently grooms remarkable individuals and I have plenty of friends from there to underscore this.
Asbury is also an official sponsor of Ichthus and this probably has something to do with the extraordinary with-it-ness of the Ichthus web site. It’s got Flash! It’s got the Facebook! It’s got the Twitter! It just looks so very very now, so very cool.
The problem? Christian rock SUCKS. It always has, it always will.
And the reason why? It’s simple: Rock and Roll just AIN’T about Praising Him or Spreading The Good Word. You know what it’s about? It’s about rockin’. And — don’t get me wrong — there can be all kinds of subtexts to the rockin’ — there’s politics, there’s the sex and the drugs, there’s broken hearts, there’s all sorts of life-tales, there can even be Jesus. (Just look at U2). But underneath it all? It’s about rockin’. It ain’t ain’t ain’t about Jesus. And that’s why Christian rock sucks, sucks, sucks and always will.
You want proof? I’ll give you proof — Hell, I’ll give you proof that God exists AND that Christian rock (wait for it) sucks.
The proof is Ichthus itself: This year, it’s busy being rained buckets on. We haven’t had this much rain since I-don’t-know-when. Last year or the year before, gail-force winds blew down facilities at the festival. But before that? The most telling thing? There was a recent year that found Ichthus plagued by cicadas. Yes, I said plagued. And while Cicadas aren’t Locusts, I think God has a history of being plenty more cryptic than that.
Take a hint, Christian Rock.
Avoid eternal damnation and hang it up.
(Now you kids ignore me and go to Ichthus and celebrate a God who deigns that you to listen to mediocre music About Him)