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Thursday, June 17, 2010
Earlier today, I heard the Kutless song "What Faith Can Do" playing on KTIS, the main local Christian station. I've heard it before, but this was the first time I really listened to the lyrics. To put it plainly, they are terrible. Completely lacking anything resembling the Gospel. It's all "pick yourself up by the bootstraps" self-improvement crap, and if you didn't know it, there really isn't any hint that it's even a Christian song. Furthermore, at the core of it, the focus is entirely on ourselves rather than God. It's not with faith that all things are possible, rather, "with God all things are possible." In this type of prosperity gospel-esque thinking, faith becomes a magic sword that the person wields in his own power.
That's what faith can do
That's what faith can do!
Even if you fall sometimes
You will have the strength to rise
Hopefully, someone at KTIS will get a clue and drop this song (and a few others) from their daily lineup. You just have to have faith sometimes...


Chris A said...

Yeah, I don't know if I'd go so far as to call the lyrics "terrible", but I'd definitely say they're weak pertinent to Christian content. And I'd agree with you that they are of the self-help variety, so yeah, maybe they actually are terrible and I'm just trying not to be too harsh.

I hear a lot of these songs, including this one, and I think, "This is weak." And being part of our worship band, I have to play a lot of them. If people like the sound of the music, they say it is a "good song". I have a very low opinion of much of it.

I was thinking on my way to work this morning about how much human-centered theology is in our popular American Christian culture. I don't know if I would call most of it heretical, but it is definitely imbalanced, and though it is intended to "meet people where they live" and "address real life problems", it doesn't really help, unless it has some kind of therapeutic effect.

So many Christians are worried about being "relevant" and "practical" to the detriment of their being Christians. There are just too many compromises with this, and it permeates every aspect of "Christian" life in our country. I am becoming increasingly weary of this.

The other day I ministered on living a life prepared for the coming of the Lord. It completely fell on deaf ears, even though I purposely didn't make many comments, and allowed the Scriptures to speak for themselves. It seemed to me, and I could be wrong, that a steady diet of spiritual junk food had made the ears of the congregation dull of hearing. It's hard to explain, but you can tell whether or not people are "getting it", and they, by and large, did not.

Darius said...

Yeah, it's another song in a long line of Christian contemporary ones that assume the Gospel, to the point that if you took it out of its original context (written by a Christian band for a Christian audience), no one could really tell the difference between it and a "spiritual" secular song on the radio. But I think it goes beyond that in focusing so much on what people can do in their own strength, which actually isn't just assuming the Gospel, it's contradicting it! The Gospel is built around the fact that people can do NOTHING in their own power, and even their faith is a gift to them.

Kutless=Gospel FAIL

Chris A said...

I agree with you basically, but I don't necessarily see this as encouraging people to do something in their own strength. I think this could (if you really give them the benefit of the doubt, squint really hard and use your imagination) be consistent with this exhortation to continue in the faith, something Paul did numerous times. Because it is ambiguous, though, we have to, as you say, assume the Gospel in order for this to be a possibility.

nathanael said...

"Christian" music tends to be either gratingly didactic or soppy and banal. The first is partially in response to the whole "rock is Satanic" crowd back in the day. Read the liner notes for a group like Mortification; they really, really felt the need to justify playing heavy metal and putting skulls on their album covers. More broadly, evangelicals/fundamentalists are suspicious of art in general--if there isn't a sermon, they're not happy. That sermons make terrible art doesn't seem to bother them, just consider the horrible "gospel message" scenes in most "Christian" movies.
Unfortunately, the reaction by those who realize this is to produce watered-down "stealth" sermons that say little but seem vaguely "spiritual."

The Christian music industry delanda est.

Darius said...

Agreed, Nathanael.

Ever seen To End All Wars? By far the best recent "Christian" movie, yet produced well with good actors from Hollywood. Best example I know of a good gospel message joined to quality art.

It's sad to consider that Christianity used to be the birthplace of all great art. What a squandered heritage...

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The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
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