“Why should the Devil have all the good music?”

February 17, 2011


My apologies to all who will need it, but I’m on something of a musical rant today…

A little bird told me that Switchfoot’s album “Hello Hurricane” won a Grammy earlier this week.  What did they win?  “Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album”  What does that even mean?  What is a “Gospel Album”?  I’d love it if Grammy.com had some description of it.  How do the Grammy people define “Gospel”?

I was washing the dishes while all this was running through my head, when out of nowhere Larry Norman hit me like a freight train!  You know the “Why should the Devil have all the good music?” guy?  (Well, maybe you don’t.  Anyway, here’s a video of him performing that song.  Sorry–back to the freight train…)

What does it mean for the Devil–the one from whom no good thing comes–to “have good music”?  What are we doing crediting the Devil with ownership or authorship of anything good?  How ridiculous!

Please do not take me to be poking holes in Larry Norman’s theology here.  He played an extremely important role in challenging the church of his day.  My concerned is more tied up in the habit of the church to downplay both the power of God and the singularity of God as the one source of good.  “God is not powerful enough for us to credit him as the source of beauty coming from people whose lives are not beautiful.  We must create a ‘Christian alternative’ and condemn everyone outside.”  Can those actions be speaking anything else of God?  Oye…

What will it take for the church to get back to good art making, good culture making, good literature writing without the requirement?

[In related news, Jonathon Dodson of Austin City Life put up an excellent post today (see here) on why institutional church can’t renew the city.  Its a long post–in a microwave world–but press through!  Super good stuff!  BTW – let me know if you checked it out!  I’d love to hear what you thought.]

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