On our local Christian radio station's message page
(which was subsequently removed a couple of weeks later), several people expressed
objections to specific artists or songs being played. I find that fascinating for a
couple of reasons.
Even today, some still argue about styles of music and what is appropriate - in church, on radio, in general... Music is part of the fabric of our lives and literally everywhere we are. Just as lighting, smells, and visual effects enhance a play or film, music contributes richness and vibrancy. it can also be overused, misused, or even abused. Sometime the message is lost in the mix. And when the music is really good, we may even find ourselves singing trite or objectionable lyrics.
Music is an emotional language. It can transcend language, culture and time; communicate joy, melancholy, or angst. Like the rhythm of Poetry, or the colors and textures of art, music can stand entirely on its own.
There is a time and place for all styles of music. Gregorian chant and compline encourage a time for reflection and quiet worship. Many hymns still have a place in modern worship too ("if thou but suffer God to guide thee' brings me close to tears still) in four parts with piano, 12-string guitar, clarinet, violin, and bass - though some of the standards are a bit trite lyrically... Contemporary music brings exciting new ideas and thoughtful reflection to worship, fellowship, and celebration. Like some of the hymns, there can be an over-reliance on catch phrases and Christian-speak that diminish the message and may induce nausea. Compare many of the superficial worship songs sung weekly with the insightful, moving words of Charlie Peacock, Kerry Livgren, and Plumb. Alternative music may even find a place in corporate fellowship in moderation, with a genre and message that can reach deep into your soul to emphasize a point or challenge mediocrity - One Bad Pig's '6' and Blackhouse's 'Hope Like a Candle' for example.
Music cannot be good or evil until you insert words and ideas. It may not fit the message, time, place, or purpose. There is nothing to reclaim. Nothing to apologize for or to defend. Taste is subjective. We limit our very ability to reach others when we label some music good and other music bad - like a twisted take on George Orwell's 1984.