Saturday, March 27, 2010


I'm not sure how well known the website, Burnside Writers Collective (BWC), is, but every so often (once a week?) they have a posting entitled Across the Universe where the author gives four or five links to interesting happenings on the internet. It's a great resource to find new corners of the web or fresh perspectives on popular topics. I suppose they could simply Twitter links every couple days but I just love how they're all grouped together in some sort of megaTweet of substantive information.

Anyways, I'm copying their idea and giving mine a snappy title: AROUND THE WORLD wide web.

Without any further ado, check out what's hip on the internets:
  • Sufjan Steven directed and scored a film about New York's ugliest highway, The BQE. It released last fall but Pitchfork has the entire film streaming for the next week. I've loved the music for a few months now and the visual side (which I'm watching now) is equally beautiful.
  • A great blog entry (stolen from BWC's Across the Universe) on appropriate responses to art.
  • I don't pretend to know anything about fashion, etc. but The Sartorialist is one of my favorite GoogleReader followings. Just stylish people shot in the "real" world.
  • March Madness has been madness. I thoroughly enjoyed filling out and following my own brackets. Here's Obama's picks.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Music Christians Love

Author's Note: When I run out of things to blog, I usually resort to forming some sort of list in some sort of imaginary category. Deal.

By now, many (/most) Evangelical Christians in the U.S. are unafraid to own "secular*" music. For a while there (I'm guessing: 1985-2005ish), it was kind of taboo to show up to church with Alanis Morissette or Nirvana blaring from your car's heathen-turned-radio. Maybe this wasn't everyone's experience, but I went through a couple "secular" music purgings in order to be sanctified from everything-not-Audio-Adrenaline.

Thankfully, many thinking Christians started to recognize that good music could exist outside of the Contemporary Christian Music market, and that music just might have some sort of spiritually redemptive qualities to it. But I won't digress any more on how I'm glad that many have started to identify truth in every area of culture (that blog has already been written).

What I really want to blog about is those "secular" artists that are Christians' favorites. Those bands or artists that, despite our demonization-through-music fear, keep us listening. Heck, it is even popular to listen to these bands even though they may not have said the sinner's prayer and subsequently signed onto Sparrow Records. Although the "secular" music stigma has diminished, these artists have and still top our iTunes play counts. Without any further adieu, here are three artists, reason why they're popular among Christians, and a personal sighting of their music in a church setting:

Artist: U2
Why: Every Christian who is a music fan loves U2. Their lyrics are often deeply spiritual and their music is top-notch. I mean, they created Joshua Tree. Even though Bono subscribes to some interfaith-ish beliefs, he's the world's largest rock star / social activist and thus, respectable.
Sighting: "Where The Streets Have No Name" in a mission trip slideshow at my old church, BCC.

Artist: Bob Dylan
Why: Well, he sort of became a Christian later on in life so this choice is kind of cheating. He's never, thankfully, been on a Christian label, though. But Dylan's beat-poet lyrics are loved by progressive Christians all across the land simply because he's probably the best lyricist alive today.
Sighting: Unknowingly sang one of his songs in my Indy church, Redeemer, as part of their liturgical service.

Artist: Coldplay
Why: Chris Martin has one of the smoothest, crooning voices. The only people that dislike Coldplay are music elitists bent on hating anything overly popular. And this is why Christians love Coldplay. Because everyone loves Coldplay. Their music is anything but raucous and their lyrics aren't even slightly offensive.
Sighting: Saddleback college group sang "Fix You" as one of their openers.

As usual, I would love to hear your input on the ridiculousness of this blog and/or suggestions for other artists to add to the list.

*I put the word "secular" in quotes because, really, it's rather absurd to label music as "Christian" or "not Christian." I only continue to use the word "secular" in order to differentiate it from music made on Christian music labels.