Forum addresses Christian music

Dr. Jeff Keuss, professor of Christian ministry, theology and culture, said he thinks many evangelical churches are afraid of silence.

“Fearing if we do not fill every space of the sense, filling our ear, our vision, even our touch to the breaking point, that some will not feel engaged and will wander away,” said Keuss, reading out of his book, Your Neighbor’s Hymnal: What Popular Music Teaches Us About Faith, Hope, and Love.

Last Thursday Lingua hosted a forum on how Christians engage with music. The forum featured readings from Keuss and Seattle Pacific alumn Joel Heng Hartse.

Hartse read an excerpt from his book, Sects, Love, and Rock & Roll. With the audience laughing frequently he read much like Daniel Stern’s narration in The Wonder Years about his teenage years, the awkward years of finding love and music beyond the realm of “Christian contemporary.”

Beyond the memories, Hartse also addressed the issue of Christian music as a culture, particularly in youth groups. Hartse, who said he grew up listening to only Christian music, shared the story behind him finding “secular” music.

While at an Audio Adrenaline concert, he recalled the instance when a band member admitted to believing that their music didn’t matter, that only Christ did.

“It’s the most insidious kind of marketing,” Hartse said, reading an excerpt of his book.

Keuss echoed this when he read from his book, Your Neighbor’s Hymnal. In his book, Keuss goes through 40 songs that have spiritual significance.

Keuss said he spent some time working in the Christian music industry and said that it’s just another marketing money making outlet for large music labels.

“One thing I found when people talk to me where they met God, where they’re deepening their sense of God, some of it comes out of the evangelical machine, but more and more, it’s a rare thing,” Keuss said.

“It’s almost like they put aspects of evangelicalism as a condiment. They want to put it on for flavoring or legitimize,” he said. “The real sense of God for them is coming in places that have not been baptized by certain industry’s like Christian labels.”

Following the readings, a question-and-answer panel between the two authors and junior Gabriel Much of local band The Cellar Door was set up for the audience to ask questions.

The night concluded with an acoustic set by The Cellar Door.

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Title: Forum addresses Christian music | Author: Unknown | Section: Features | Published Date: 2013-02-27 | Internal ID: 8589