Monday, December 15, 2008

I may be totally wrong, but...

I'll say it anyway. I don't like going to Christian concerts and listening to an overly-long plea to get involved in a cause (like Samaritan's Purse, World Vision, Compassion International, etc.).

I know this makes me sound like a total, insensitive, selfish heel. And I am.

Still, I've been to two concerts by Christian bands recently, and both times there was a REALLY long appeal to contribute money, sponsor a child, or whatnot. This seems to be par for the course at Christian concerts. I'm going back in my mind to all the ones I've been to over the years (DC Talk, Audio Adrenaline, Michael W. Smith, Newsboys, etc.) and it seems there's always a "ministry" time during intermission or at the end. And if memory serves, it's normally way too long and guilt-motivating.

Conversely, I've been to "secular" concerts where there was no such appeal, and the time was entirely given over to the performance of great music, so that we the concert-goers could celebrate the talents of the artist without hearing one of them say, almost apologetically, "You know, it's not really about the music, it's about caring for people."

One of my concerns is that a lot of non-Christians attend Christian concerts and I'll bet they get completely turned off by this. Plus I'm afraid it communicates something we don't really believe.

A Biblical worldview says that you don't have to baptize art with a Christian message for it to be worthwhile. Now hear me out... I'm not suggesting for a moment that these wonderful Christian artists are consciously doing that. They have good hearts and pure motives when they ask us to meet needs around the world. And I sincerely appreciate what they're doing. They could have chosen to be in the music industry for the glory and fame, but they didn't. And I'm proud of them for that.

But I would argue that it would be better to give us more of their art, without suggesting (even unconsciously) that the art has to be servant to a cause of some kind. For if music or art is just a means to an end, it becomes manipulative and superfluous. For the Christian, the arts are ends in themselves, a display of the glory and beauty of God.

Let us enjoy that without feeling guilty for not contributing to a cause.

4 comments:

karin said...

Amen and amen.

Mike said...

I talked to someone today who gave me another perspective on this issue. He said that charitable organizations like Compassion International, World Vision, etc. often give money to artists to enable them to travel and perform, so the "ministry time" is something of a returned favor. Also, my friend pointed out that most of the sponsors of poor children around the world are concertgoers... so it really works when artists ask people to get involved. I agree that's a good thing.

Still, I'd like to see the plea kept shorter than it often is.

Susan said...

Mike,
I think I will have to disagree with you statement. I was so challenged by the "message" given at the concert the other night. I was reminded that this Christian life we live is not all about me, but about loving others sacrificially. It isn't about sharing the four spiritual laws but about showing God's love to a suffering world. We are His hands and His feet. I will say that some people give the challenge better than others but I think we are reminded far too infrequently about the sufferings of the rest of the world.

Erik said...

Mike,

I could not agree with you more on this. I think your thought and opinion will be misunderstood, but just wanted to let you know that I t think the same thing.

I think Christian concerts should be more about the music and let it speak for itself. God shines through these artists, and a short blurb about the ministries they support and a booth near the merchandise section would be enough. People should not give to charity because News Boys tells them to. they should do it out of the generosity of their heart and the abounding overflow of joy that God places in their heart.