It’s another Starflyer driving video. I have a bunch of them on YouTube where I record my driving, speed it up and add Starflyer to the video. The first one I did was “I Drive A Lot” with a small Kodak camera. Apparently, it’s the 2nd most popular Starflyer video on YouTube. Now I use a Canon ZR800. Someday when I get rich I’ll make HD videos.

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I thought it was Keith Green with the beard for a moment. This was Rich Mullins’ band Zion in 1982. Someone who worked with Amy Grant heard this song and decided to get Amy to record it. I find it kind of funny because it’s almost as though Rich has backup singers.

Rock music is primarily singing about being young or pretending like Peter Pan to be eternally young. The problem is that even the biggest pretenders have to face the fact that they have families and responsibilities and they can’t just live the rock and roll dream forever.

As a fan, listening to Christian bands as a kid in high school I felt part of a community, whether it was at church or at concerts. But as I’ve grown older I’ve lost touch with most of those people and many of my favorite bands broke up years ago. Going to a show now I feel out of place standing for 3 hours and I only want to show up for the band I want to see. Forget the openers.

As everything in society seems to get more and more competitive, so too there are more bands trying to make it big in a sea of mediocrity. For example, if you look at Tooth and Nail Records the music from 1995 to 2000 is better than anything since.

Not only does most of the new music not appeal to me, but it doesn’t feel as genuine as it used to when I first starting going to shows. Throw in the scenester kids with their tight T-shirts and jeans who seemed so bored by every band. When I was younger kids loved concerts so much they could watch six bands and couldn’t wait to see six more. Some of the kids now just seem to have a glazed look in their eyes like nothing is exciting in life and nothing a band could do could really excite them. I guess the downside of technology is that it makes people impatient and constantly bored when they don’t get something really sensational to hold their interest.

The purpose of this blog is to focus on bands from the past in the Christian industry. The nice thing about the past is you can always look back to the glory days without dealing with the present. And as far as this blog goes I don’t mind being older because it gives me more perspective and I can remember a scene that no longer exists, but it is very much alive in the entries of this blog.

The Truth About Rock was a ministry started in Minnesota to educate Christian young people about the negative influences of secular rock. There was a seminar that they taught about music called “What In The Devil’s Wrong with Rock Music?” With bands such as Kiss and the more edgier metal bands of the early 80s there was more obvious anti-Christian sound compared to something you might hear off the top 40 station now.

Since that time the Christian rock scene kind of took off until what is today, which very much blurs the lines between what is mainstream and what it is music from the Christian market. There are some other anti-secular rock guys like Jeff Godwin who are also very anti-Christian rock, but he appears to have dropped off the map.

There are the anti-rock videos such as Hell’s Bells and Sounds of War. While they are fascinating videos, I don’t know how effective they are in convincing kids not to listen to secular rock.

In high school I got involved with a chapter of Rock for Life. While they didn’t get into the evils of rock and roll, they make a direct link between top 40 artists and their support of abortion and Planned Parenthood. In essence saying that if you’re supporting those bands you are indirectly supporting abortion.

I think music can be a gray area for Christians in a lot of ways, although in many ways it is less gray than people think. There are those who decry that all music that isn’t on the Christian radio is evil and there are those who don’t believe in Christian music and don’t believe that any music can be evil.

As Christians I think we need to look at the lyrical message of the songs we listen to and the type of spirit the music carries. For one Christian the Beach Boys might be a fun mix tape for the car and for another their lyrics are a subtle form of lust. Whereas someone like Marilyn Manson shouldn’t be something that any Christians listen to. Any song that the Spirit convicts us about should be avoided immediately. It doesn’t benefit you at all to listen to music that is anti-God and music like that is a negative influence. And I’m not entirely sure that adopting Marilyn Manson’s sound with Christian lyrics is the way to go either.

The type of music you listen to is important because Christians are called to make a new song to God. That doesn’t mean you have to be in love with KLove, but it does mean that you need to have a desire to worship God with music. If you think music is just for your own personal entertainment and that its ultimate purpose is not meant to be sung for the Lord, then I think you may need to re-examine your faith.

If we honestly love rock music more than Jesus it’s time to re-evaluate whether perhaps the music is an idol. And it doesn’t just stop at music. We have to look at sports, TV, food, the Internet and the other idols of Western culture and decide to put Christ first. So what you listen to is just as important as what you do with your time, your money and who your friends are. We have to look at the areas of our life and determine whether we have compromised our faith and our values as a follower of Christ. Are we truly surrendering all of our lives to Christ or are we just keeping some parts for ourselves?

When you talk about Christians and art, there are always people who are very critical of Christians who make music and other art forms such as movies. Somehow to these people they feel a need to criticize the artwork of other Christians. I do agree that Christian music and art can always be better and there is always room for improvement, but I disagree with this constantly critical attitude that some take.

I’m not one who would rather lie and tell people that I think music made by Christians is the best music ever made. But I have interviewed my share of artists associated with Christian music and I do feel that some of them have a negative attitude towards other Christian artists. Somehow people think that being critical of Christian music or Christian art is their vocation in life.

I realize that musicians want to be the best in their field just as much as pro athletes or movie stars. But what we often mistake a commitment to excellence with the need to be the best. Committing to excellence should be a goal of every Christian. But the need to be the best sounds more like the Apostles fighting over who should sit at Jesus’ right hand.

Criticism is a valuable tool to help us improve our art or whatever we work at in life. But criticism too must stay in its place. God does not give us a right to be overly critical of other people. When we make judgments against them and fail to give them the benefit of the doubt we are not doing anything beneficial.

On many levels excessive criticism can cause us to be unhappy with ourselves and other people. It can also lead us to constantly question our faith and to not hope for the best. In many ways criticism leads us to believe that we are helping ourselves and others when what we are doing is hurting ourselves and others.

What we need to achieve excellence is not more criticism, but more encouragement. More people encouraging others towards excellence instead of finding faults and putting others down. More people helping others succeed and encouraging them to give God their best.

With more and more Christian artists continually pushing the artistic boundaries there is always the issue of profanity. Some Christian artists feel that it is acceptable to use profanity in their music. Fringe Christian artists like Derek Webb, David Bazan, Sufjan Stevens and others such as Mike Knott (Aunt Betty’s) come to mind on this subject.

Really there is no justification for using profanity in the same way that it’s never justified to take the Lord’s name in vain. Yet somehow these musicians feel free to proclaim their faith on one hand and use whatever language they like on the other.

How many of us would feel comfortable if our pastor started dropping verbal bombs left and right in the middle of a service? If we wouldn’t tolerate it from the pastor, why should we tolerate less from someone who claims to be a Christian artist?

If you take someone like Derek Webb for example. He is trying to use profanity to stir up his listeners to care about poverty and other problems facing people in other parts of the globe. So basically he’s using a positive end to justify his means. Now there are people out there like Keith Green who wanted to shake up the young Christians to care about the rest of the world, but he never used profanity in his music. There are plenty of other creative ways to convey that message.

It does bother me a bit that there are Christians who think profanity is an acceptable form of art. I understand there are complications that come from being known as Christian artist and being able to make art that pushes boundaries. But I see profanity in the art as a perversion that leads to the death of true art.

As Christians our worldview makes sense of the fallen nature of mankind and the brokenness that only Christ can cure. The biggest hope for a Christian artist is for the Lord to speak through their art. But how can the Lord be expected to bless art that is corrupted?

I’m not opposed to rock music. But somewhere along the line the music at some of the churches turned into rock and roll that is all about me, myself and I. Now I can’t say the music is evil, but I do think it’s distracting. When you’re trying to focus on God and someone is beating the heck out of a crash cymbal¬† it seems counterproductive.

Also the focus seems to be more on what I personally get out of a worship service. How does it make me feel? The lyrics are many times biblically off-base or semi-narcissistic. I’d like to see more music that has lyrical content like hymns. I’m less concerned with the style as long as it’s not distracting. The hymns have a certain quality where you can hear everyone singing as opposed to just one voice. And honestly there aren’t many CCM worship songs that compare lyrically with Be Thou My Vision or Come Thou Fount.

This is one of five songs that Rich Mullins performed at Wheaton College in 1997 (months before his death). From what I can tell these videos have never been on YouTube before. It’s a real treat if you were one of his fans who wished there was video footage of him out there.

I was a big fan of Imeem.com since it started. Mainly because it allowed music fans to upload their favorite songs, so other people could stream them. It was a democratic music concept if ever there was one.

MySpace initially blocked Imeem playlists and songs from its website. Of course that was because MySpace was planning to essentially copy Imeem’s free streaming model.

Earlier in 2009, when Imeem pulled the plug on uploading videos, it was “the writing on the wall”. In early December of 2009, MySpace purchased Imeem. It was the end of¬† a classic site dedicated to free music. Much like the recent acquisition of LaLa by Apple, the acquisition of smaller Internet companies by corporate beasts continues (i.e. Google buying YouTube). Now the only question is whether Imeem will have any influence on MySpace’s Music section, now that most of the site’s users have migrated to Facebook.

I found a link to this video on a message board. I just finished Mark Salomon’s book “Simplicity,” which is basically a biography of the Crucified and Mark’s life (although he tries to say in the book that it’s not). I once saw him in Wal-Mart during Cornerstone festival and I wanted to say something to him, but he just looked so intimidating with the tattoos and the shaved head. I had the Pillars of Humanity cassette when I was in high school and I bought the re-released albums from Tooth and Nail, so it’s cool to see the band back together. But I still fear Mark Salomon.