Podcast #110 - The Christian Radio Days
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23-05-2013, 06:15 PM
Podcast #110 - The Christian Radio Days

Best and worst of Ferdinand .....
Ferdinand: We don't really say 'theist' in Alabama. Here, you're either a Christian, or you're from Afghanistan and we fucking hate you.
Ferdinand: Everyone from British is so, like, fucking retarded.
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27-05-2013, 08:10 AM
RE: Podcast #110 - The Christian Radio Days
I am just listening to the podcast. I don't remember who's Mike Huckabee, but around the 30th minute I got this idea:

"If you don't believe in Christ, you're not welcome at the Christmas celebration."
"Does that mean if you don't believe in winter solstice, you're not welcome on planet Earth?"
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01-06-2013, 02:14 PM
RE: Podcast #110 - The Christian Radio Days
I listened to this episode and enjoyed it. It got me thinking a bunch about how Christian music change my own faith.

I loved my Christian music and still enjoy a lot of it. However, I think my enjoyment of the less-mainstream Christian music ultimately helped me open up my mind enough to leave the faith. Let me explain.

I was raised in a Christian home that didn't really listen to Christian music. My dad listened to pop music from the 50s early 60s and my mom would listen to old hymn quartets and trios, and stuff like George Beverly Shea. I loved playing my parents' records and grew to love a wide range of music genres. My older brothers listened to a little bit of Christian music here and there, but it wasn't really my style. I remember that my brother gave us groomsmen cassettes of Christian music when he got married in 1992 or so, and I received a copy of Steven Curtis Chapman's "The Great Adventure." I was disappointed because my other brother received Phil Keaggy's "Crimson and Blue," which is still one of my all-time favorite albums. The point is that I was a picky music connoisseur, even as a 12 year old. I even bought a best-of White Heart cassette, hoping it would get me into Christian music, but it didn't.

That all changed in 1993 when my sister came home with a CD of Larry Norman's "In Another Land." Holy shit, that album stuck with me. It was full of passion and great musicianship and had these self-aggrandizing liner notes that were a wonderful read. Not long afterwards, she came home with L.S.U.'s "Wakin' Up The Dead," and I knew I'd found my CCM niche. I wound up collecting albums from Daniel Amos, The Lost Dogs, L.S.U., The Seventy Sevens, The Choir, and my interests spread out from there. I would find wonderful albums in the bargain bins at the local Christian Book and Music Store and made friends with people who enjoyed the alternative Christian Music scene of the mid 90s. I read Syndicate Magazine and loved interviews with my favorite artists. Perhaps I idolized them, but as an aspiring musician I could enjoy their music without feeling guilty. I loved the poetry of the music and the focus on performance.

One thing I really appreciated about these artists, though, is that they didn't exclusively perform songs about God. L.S.U. and Mike Knott records were often filled with metaphor and it was often impossible to tell if the record was "Christian" or not. Daniel Amos and Lost Dogs had a tone about them that felt legitimate enough to be understood outside the Christian industry. The Seventy Sevens were such excellent musicians that the Christian elements were secondary. Larry Norman had loads of songs that had nothing to do with God. This made me feel comfortable because it helped me understand that my entire life didn't have to be an evangelism-fest. I could create my own artistic music and not feel burdened by its lack of explicitly religious content. And these artists, when confronted with these sorts of questions, would say the same thing. They seemed perfectly fine with having albums and songs that were just about life in general, with love songs and the like.

In the meantime, I started playing with a couple Christian musicians and we started up our own little high school Christian rock band. We were pretty-much a prog rock band and tried to appeal to everybody, and laced our lyrics in metaphor and whatnot. It was good fun. We were an excellent little power trio. In our last year of high school, we made a little EP that we distributed amongst friends.

I then went to summer camp, as I'd done for the previous few summers. This summer camp, by the way, was really big into promoting CCM and getting young people hooked on Christian music. They didn't like my choices in Christian music and I was often criticized for listening to too much secular music, but I didn't mind because I was a musician and most of my "Christian artists" weren't obsessed with God in the first place. I did find it odd, though, that most of the people at the camp did not approve of my music choices when the vast majority of my CDs were bought at the same Christian music stores. So I bought an album that barely mentioned God? So what, when I know the music-makers are Christians?

When I cam home from that summer at camp, however, back in 1998, I discovered to my horror that my fellow power trio members had started up a praise and worship band. they would tell me about the musicianship on those live Hillsongs recordings and I was flabbergasted. Weren't these my fellow prog rockers? What were they doing running a simple praise and worship band? Did they sell out? What in the world was going on? They were writing the praise and worship songs about rivers and glory and all that stuff, and I couldn't believe it. What happened?

I certainly wasn't going to change, but it made me look at my music even more differently. Was I getting the same sort of experience from the Lost Dogs, Rick Elias, The Choir, Larry Norman, Starflyer 59, and all that stuff? I thought I was. I knew my experiences listening to them moved my heart just as much as their worship msuci did. But what was the difference? What made my choices in Christian music so different from my choices in "secular" music? I'd always been a huge fan of The Cars and oldies stations and Neil Young. I loved collecting records. All of that was far more authentic than all that CCM and praise and worship stuff.

And what made the worship experience any different than a concert? Worship music at church was like a guaranteed concert every week, and people praised you for your entertainment value, for how much you could get them in touch with the Spirit. I learned that people wanted their emotions manipulated, and people loved worship leaders who manipulated their emotions. They would say they were "annointed" worship leaders. I thought these labels were a little contrived.

By this point, I was often leading worship at church and helped with IVCF at my university. In 2001-2002, I even led the worship music service at the IVCF meetings on campus. But my perspective on worship had certainly adjusted. On some nights I tried to 'move' people by having lots of high points and dynamics, and people would come up to me afterwards and say how blessed they were by the service. At other times, I'd pound through the songs aggressively and methodically, and a different group of people would come up to me and say they enjoyed it. Usually I'd play to the middle, but I'd figured out how to give people what they wanted.

I was still a Christian, but between seeing how some groups treated alt-CCM, and then seeing how people treated praise and worship, I learned that the chasm between experience and honesty could be pretty wide. I did not have to be in the mood to move people's emotions, and I didn't have to listen to classicly-Christian music to feel how I wanted about God.

I never got 'into' blatantly Christian music, except for my continued enjoyment of John Michael Talbot. And when, a few years ago, I admitted that I no longer believed, I saw no need to throw out most of my Christian music. I'd chosen it for its sense of authenticity and I still enjoy Michael Roe and the Seventy Sevens, Michael Knott and his groups, the Lost Dogs, and a bunch of other Christian artists. I'm happy to have been able to be honest with my music tastes through my Christian walk.

Still, I have to admit that these Christian artists, by showing me how hey were able to enjoy living in this world and how they could see the beauty all around them, helped me leave the faith. They expressed doubt and contradictory emotions. They had broken lives and less-than-savory stories. They enjoyed the pageantry of religious performance. They made fun of aspects of the faith that other people wouldn't dare. And I appreciated that and am thankful that hey let me be an authentic person in spite of my faith, and I'm thankful that I can still listen to them even after I've abandoned the faith.
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06-06-2013, 12:03 PM
RE: Podcast #110 - The Christian Radio Days
This podcast was a great flashback to my early days. I used to listen to Stryper, Petra, Michael W. Smith, Whiteheart, Carmen and Steven Curtis Chapman. Also Degarmo & Key. I used to do the same thing as Seth did, being get people in the car and put in my christian tapes, hoping to win them over with the music / message. I can't say I had many friends....haha
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