So… I read this this morning, and it’s got me down. Kind of depressing to be told your efforts “stink” without the critic even bothering to listen to it. I’m trying not to take it personally, trying to look at it dispassionately and objectively, but it’s hard.
Some background: I am almost completely self-taught as a musician, guitarist and songwriter. I do not have any college degrees in anything. After writing over 1100 songs, I still get people who will look down on me and disregard my work because I don’t have a piece of paper from some school telling me that I can do what I’ve been doing for the last 20 years. I’ve had people tell me, “You can’t write songs that way!” To which I usually reply, “I already did. You’re looking at it. See? It’s right there.”
Back to the article in question. With all due respect, I find it completely snobbish, elitist and presumptive. “Who hasn’t had to endure a Christian rock band or sit through a worship with some aging trendy strumming a guitar and inflicting folk music or light rock on everyone?” it says. “Endure,” it says. “Inflicting,” it says. Already the bias shows through and we’re only into the second sentence. “The first [problem] is that the musicians and their audience mistake a worthy message for talent.” So, because the writer doesn’t like whatever type of music, that means the artists lack talent? Is he Simon whatever-his-name-is that he can judge talent? “The second problem is that the audience are often either totally uncritical or they haven’t the ability to criticize intelligently. Too often the audience actually like the crap that is being dished up.” Now it’s not just the artist being untalented, it’s the listeners who are unintelligent because they enjoy the “crap.”
So let’s all just go ahead and redicule the efforts and members of “Sonseed” for attempting to praise the Lord the best they can. Let’s berate Christian artists for not being Mozart or Palestrina. “BOO! Queen of slime! Queen of pu–trescence! BOO! BOO!”
Sorry, I’m not doing a good job of not taking this personally, am I?
It seems to me that if we are expected to give our time, talent, and treasure to the Church for the glory of God, the Church should be able to find a place for said time, talent , and treasure, even if it doesn’t live up to the expectations of some members of that Church.
You know, I don’t make any money for my songs. I’ve literally given away thousands of CD’s to people all over the world in the hopes that my meager efforts might draw them a bit closer to God. And most of the “Christian” musicians I’ve met along the way are the same. They’re simply trying to shine a little light into the darkness of the world. Just trying to proclaim the Good News using their God-given talents and abilities, only to be told that their efforts are “crap” and “stinky, ” and just plain “bad.” Ouch!
What’s more, I’ll be the first to admit that 85-90% of even my religious songs aren’t remotely worthy for the Liturgy. But they’re not meant to be for the Liturgy! I see my songs, and almost all of the “Christian” music out there as… supplimental aids. It’s like putting religious pictures up on your walls. It’s meant to be out there in your messy lives reminding you of what’s important. It’s there to constantly nudge your heart and mind to God. If you don’t like the picture, you won’t look at it. If you don’t like the music, you won’t listen to it. Then you miss out on the “worthy message” entirely.
I’m sorry that some churches will use these supplimental aids in unintended ways. I don’t see that as a good reason to ridicule the artists. If you don’t like it, that’s fine. Don’t listen to it. But don’t call me unintelligent. Don’t call my efforts “crap.”
And all you artists out there: Keep making your music! Keep shining your light! Don’t let the critics get you down.
Only You (Tefft)
1) So many curse the darkness yet so few will shine a light. / So many people lost in the shadows of the night. / I long to light a candle to show them all the way unto You. / What can I do?
Chorus: Make my life a window, Lord, to let Your light shine through. / That anyone who looks at me sees You, only You. / Make my life a window, Lord, in all I say and do. / That anyone who sees me sees but You. / Only You.
2) So many will complain yet so few will buckle down / And take the seeds of love and help to spread them all around. / I want to be Your instrument, to help to make the world bright and new. / What can I do?
3) So lead me in Your ways so that heaven might be found. / Show me how to lead the whole world up to higher ground. / I long to be a beacon, and to show them all the way unto You. / What can I do?