It's somewhat fitting that on the heels of Christian music's biggest showcase—GMA Week and the annual GMA Music Awards—we would post a commentary about the state of the industry. Radio personality and cultural analyst Dick Staub, in a recent blog on his website, recounted a recent panel discussion where he spoke with conviction in a rant against the Christian music business. But when he woke up the next day, he seemed to hear the voice of God, also speaking with conviction . . . in the truest sense of the word. Instead of asking, "What's wrong with CCM?", Staub found himself asking, "What's wrong with me?"

I recently participated in a panel at Seattle Pacific University on the subject of popular music, with a particular focus on contemporary Christian music (CCM).

I found myself particularly feisty in my negative comments about CCM and awoke the next morning asking myself why. Three words came to mind: cocooning, counterfeit, and commercialism.


CCM represents the "cocooning" I've spent most of my adult life trying to avoid. Anytime Christians set up a parallel universe to the "real world," we are operating counter to Jesus, who was sent into the world because of God's love, spent his everyday life "in the world" at parties and in the public square, and then commanded his disciples to Matthew 28:19-20go into the world.

CCM concerts and radio stations regularly advertise themselves as "safe" places, by which they mean only "nice" is spoken here; we will not offend you. Parents are urged to encourage their kids to listen to CCM because their kids will avoid the "nasty" music out there in the world—and yet, ironically, the format (at least with most Christian radio) is actually targeted at the 35-year-old ...

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