Response to The Death of Christian Media

I enjoyed reading Phil Cooke’s article in the new issue of Collide Magazine yesterday. Phil has quite a bit of experience with both Christian and secular media (film, television, etc..). My take from the article? Phil believes that Christian media really is dying, but he calls for a new breed of communicators to stand up!

Stand up to what?
In the article it seems that Phil (and the resources he cited) believes that Christian artists have become irrelevant to our culture. Phil brought up points made by Charlie Peacock, hinting that the glory days of artists like Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman might survive, but that artists from the last decade are struggling when following in their path. Some of my favorite “Christian bands” (Red, Skillet, Thousand Foot Krutch) are writings songs about needing a hero, feeling like a monster, asking for life to be breathed into them, or suggesting that they are at war.

What is Christian Media?
Is a painting, film, website or song someone creates that doesn’t create a clear picture of the cross really Christian? Is it possible for someone who doesn’t believe or follow Christ to understand that He is the reason we live if every single thing we do doesn’t include His name? What do you think Christian Media is? If the call to go out into the world and preach the gospel is for all of us, are we jumping outside of the Christian bubble for temporary fame or profit if we just paint to paint or just make good music? Are bands like Coldplay, U2, and Mutemath more attractive (even to Christians) because their beliefs aren’t entirely clear? Are bands like David Crowder and Leeland staying clear while still sounding great?

What I would suggest is that we don’t try to jump to one side of the debate or the other, but actually start discussing this and not let it roll along too far without asking the tough questions. I applaud Phil for bringing this topic up, and doing so in an interesting and respectful way. Go subscribe to Collide Magazine if you haven’t already (once their site is back online)!

PRAYING for Christian consumers to dig deeper during confusing times. PRAISING God for speaking to others through the media we create.

  1. Tom Wagoner

    There is a lot of media created by Christians so what is Christian Media? My experience as a musician is if you say you’re in a Christian band, people assume you mean a band that sings worship songs. I do play on the worship team on Sundays but I also play in a regular band on other days. We are not a Christian band, but instead a band of Christians. Our music is not about hate or sex. It is about life, love and sometimes just for fun. If a fan builds a relationship with us, they will hear about Christ at some point in time. So we look at it as a way to maybe connect with someone that might have never heard our music because of a label put on it.

    Back to the question. It feels to me that there is actually more Christian media than lets say 20 years ago. There are more Christian radio stations. More world wide known Christian artists. More books. More websites!! Even more bands in the Indie genre. Seems there is even a push for more Christian films.

  2. A friend who’s a believer and also artist gave me a great catch phrase: ‘Christian Ghetto’, the Idea that a Christian artist isn’t ‘Christian artist’ unless he’s brought some graphic realization of scripture into sight is totally wrong. Some of the greatest works of art and culture were formed after The Reformation, when art left the church building. You see Christians didn’t stop interacting with the world, but became part of the community. From this time you see a change from Biblical art to beautiful landscapes, magnificent music that wasn’t Biblical theme but beautiful. You see the hand of the creator working through these men making a reflection of the divine. The problem with Christians and the Media, is that Christians have gone and left the media rather displaying the creativity and freedom of a life in Christ. Christians can and should influence the media, and not cower in the corner and isolate themselves from the world we are called to reach. I want to see Christians stand up and be leaders in the Media and state the philosophy from where they work, it’s polar to the perspective of the world. Thank you for being bold and stating the truth.

  3. Kevin Selders

    Great post, Gabe. To me, Christian media is anything that points to Christ. It can be subtle, or it can be bold. I think there’s a time and place for both. To use music as an example, I became a committed Christian because of U2’s lyrics. Therefore, bands like MuteMath, who are terribly creative and talented AND Christians, like U2, are exciting to me. Yes, we need Christian artists like David Crowder Band to lead us in worship and cover Christian topics in their art. It’s essential. However, there needs to be Christian music for nonChristians, too. That’s what I see MuteMath and U2 doing. Bono singing “Amazing Grace,” quoting Scripture or singing songs about God/Christ in front of 70,000 people is about as powerful as it gets. Many nonChristians describe U2’s shows as a religious experience. God is in the room, so to speak. Either way, if these artists and members of the media are following God’s will, the Spirit is there.

    I also agree with the posts above. I think there are more Christians influencing media/culture today than we’ve seen in a while. I think we’re being smarter about it too, and pushing ourselves to create art/products that are on par with or superior to what others are doing. It’s actually an exciting time. We have a relationship with our loving Creator. We need to continue to let his creative force flow through us.

  4. Hey Gabe, it’s been a while since I’ve been to your blog – it’s looking great.

    My two cents on Christian Media. I love the idea of Christians producing stuff that relates well to a general audience. I know that is a tougher proposition, but worth it.

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