I heard an interesting perspective from a devout Christian man the other day and have come around to finally closing my thoughts on the matter. The discussion began as a consequence of a friend’s comment, “my brother is a Christian and a musician, but not a Christian musician.”
Just so you understand the context of this, the intent of the statement was to demonstrate that while his brother’s religious choice is Christianity, he does not “spread the word” through his art. It was at this point that another guy in the vicinity picked up on the conversation and interjected his comments…and inspired this entry.
The Christian man’s side of the argument was that one cannot truly be a Christian and a musician, but not a Christian musician. If one is true to God, then there is no choice but to spread that Truth through everything they do. He related a story from his past where, in the military, he was asked to go and tour with a very popular military band as one of their musicians. He was flattered, but turned down the offer because he would not be able to profess his religious views through the music they created. I offered some contest to his points, but ultimately it was a question of his faith versus my logical reasoning. No contest.
The realization (days later) went a little like this:
Did you ever tell your brother that he’s a heathen for not demonstrating his religious preference in musical composition?
Because I was thinking about that just now and had a thought to the contrary…(rebuking the edification, not our own common sense)
If one is of the belief of a Christian (or nearly all spiritual paths), then one would believe that the power of the spirit is embodied within us all and anything we do is a direct demonstration of that fact. This, I believe, is especially true of creative efforts like musicianship. Therefore, if one were to abandon the creative impulse to develop a song that didn’t preach “the word,” then they would be dishonoring their own spirit, ergo god.
Perhaps it’s overly simplistic, or just missing a Biblical clause that someone else can fill in to give credence to the Christian side of the argument. And actually, I don’t think that this one person’s perspective is echoed by all Christians – perhaps not even by all of those within his particular sect. Even though religion was developed, more or less, to specify the way in which people engage in spirituality, individuals manage to shape their views of even the dogma by their own, very personal, feelings.