I have a confession to make. I really dislike Christian music.

Now, Christian music is a very broad term, so I think some defining is in order. I don't mean music that is written expressly for use in the church for praise and worship. I'm talking about Christian music that does not exactly fit in church, but has an unmistakable Christian theme in its lyrics and content, what I think is commonly referred to as CCM, or Christian Contemporary Music. It tries to cleave to some of the lyrical and theological orthodoxy of worship music, but with the musical sensibilities of pop and rock (and sometimes even hip hop), and somehow manages to mangle both. I don't like this kind of Christian music, and I know I'm not alone.

I listen to it everyday on the radio, partially because I find the lyrical content that's broadcast on other stations repugnant ("Cuz your sex takes me to paradise, yeah your sex takes me to paradise..."), and partially because as a pastor, I feel somewhat guilty if I don't. But I regularly grit my teeth while listening to the local Christian radio station. My beef is that even though the music has such high production values and is performed by such high caliber musicians, it often lacks realness and authenticity. Amazingly, it manages to sound shallow even when talking about ideas of incredible depth. The lyrics are prosaic and affected, and the themes that it covers are shockingly narrow. There are the "I'm a bad person but you love me anyway" songs, the "Teach me to love like you songs", and the "Don't give up" songs. Aaaand, that's about it. Of course, I'm being facetious and stupid, which comes as no surprise to those of ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Third Culture
Third Culture looks at matters of faith from the multicultural and minority perspective.
Peter Chin
Peter W. Chin is the pastor of Rainier Avenue Church and author of Blindsided By God. His advocacy work for racial reconciliation has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, and the Washington Post.
Previous Third Culture Columns: