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:
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.
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.
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.