Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Contemporary Christian music: God honoring, or Christian entertainment?


If you follow Christian music at all, you will have heard the latest song from TobyMac called "Steal my Show".  "Steal my Show" is a catchy song, like most of TobyMac's songs are, but to my ears it rings somewhat hollow. The chorus goes:
If You wanna steal my show, I'll sit back and watch You go
If You got somethin' to say, go on and take it away
Need You to steal my show, can't wait to watch You go
So take it away

Now let me explain why this song rings hollow to me. To do this, let's take a quick lesson in grammar, using the sentences from the chorus of TobyMac's hit song to do so. In the first sentence, "I" is the subject, "will sit"  and "watch" are the verbs, and "You" is the direct object. That "I" is the subject means that at least this one sentence of the song is focusing on the singer, TobyMac. The next four sentences are called imperative sentences. An imperative sentence contains advice, a command, or an instruction given to a person or thing. To find the subject of one of these sentences, you have to insert the person or thing the advice or instruction was given to. Thus, in the second sentence the implied subject is "You", in the third and fourth sentence the implied subject is "I", and in the fifth and last sentence "You" is the implied subject again.  Out of the five sentences, "I" is the subject three out of five times.

Why did I bring this grammar lesson up? Well, I wanted to show you that if anything, this new song by TobyMac seems to focus on himself (A.K.A. "I") at least as much as it refers to Jesus (the subject "You"). This is the problem I have with this song.

"Whoa, hold on a minute!" you say. "This is a song about TobyMac letting Jesus take over. He focuses on Jesus, not himself!" Oh, really? I have already shown you that TobyMac seems to refer to himself as much as Jesus, but let us take another look at the chorus. The lines "Need You to steal my show, can't wait to watch You go" seems to imply that Jesus has not been a part of TobyMac's "show", and that He needs to "steal" it.  As a Christian who loves my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I believe that from the moment He became my lord, He owns me and every action I make. I live for Him! He shouldn't ever have to steal "my show".  This is another reason why TobyMac's song annoys me.

Now please don't get me wrong; I am not spewing hate on TobyMac. He is my brother in Christ! His song "Steal my Show", is not a bad song. However, it is the first song that comes to mind as I purposed to write this article. You see, in my opinion many contemporary Christian songs have taken the "Steal my Show" path. they seem to glorify the singer as much as the God they are intended for! This is a real problem.
Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with trumpet sound; praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe. Praise Him with loud cymbals; praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!
Psalm 150
We are to praise the Lord, and it is a beautiful thing when we do. Our own pathetic little beings should never be praised in the same breath as that of our wonderful God. That is why songs like Chris Tomlin's "Indescribable" are so powerful and moving. I love singing songs like that! It stirs within my heart a great longing to praise my God, which can't exactly be said for "Steal my Show".
So, in conclusion, has contemporary Christian music fallen to a state of complete uselessness in praising our all-powerful God? No, far from it! But could it more fully fill its role of praising the Lord? Now that, my friends, is a good question. 

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