Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Enough Already

I'm just about done with Christian radio. They've pushed me to my limit and I'm not sure I can take it anymore.

We have two Christian stations in Tucson: KFLT which is part of the Family Life radio network (in fact they have their headquarters here) and KLOVE, part of the national network. Many would consider our town to be blessed to have two full-power, round-the-clock stations like that--though you'd be amazed how similar the music on the two is. There have been times I've switched from one to the other only to hear the same song. But that's not what has me fed up.

I'm all for making the Gospel relevant to the modern world. The challenge is holding that fine line between making the Gospel relevant and appealing to the culture and simply buying into and becoming part of the culture. I fear that we've done the latter in far too many ways and what I'm hearing on the radio isn't encouraging me any.

What has me fed up so much? I'm deeply bothered by the contests and promotions they are running. On KLOVE in the last couple weeks I've been hearing about their contest to win a $6,000 home entertainment center (including setting it up for you!) as well as their opportunity to win a trip to New York City, including a $500 shopping spree at Macy's. What exactly is the point of either of these and what does it have to do with walking with Christ? How is either of these going to make me a better disciple? Given all the needs and opportunities in the world today, couldn't we as believers come up with something better to offer? How about a contest in which the winner would travel to visit a Compassion project in Haiti and deliver several thousands of dollars in supplies? That would be an experience worth the time and expense, one that would benefit both the contest winner and those who could really use some help. But no, we've become like the world and would rather compete for things that we want but don't necessarily need.

I won't even go into the issue that this is all being promoted by a commercial-free, listener supported radio station. Why exactly should I contribute money to enable these promotions? Someone will say that it's all about getting people interested in listening so that they can hear the Gospel message. Is that what it's all about? Or have we deceived ourselves. It's easy to cross that boundary and not realize it.

In some ways I do really appreciate Christian radio. It is nice to listen to something that is, as they advertize themselves, positive and encouraging. I just wish they didn't feel that they have to imitate the world around them so completely. And I wish they'd put a little more variety in their music, but that's another issue. I may not stop listening, because the other options out there aren't so great either. Or maybe I'll just turn the radio off and enjoy some conversation with my Father...


  1. I used to work for Family Life Radio and was forced to listen to it while I worked. It eventually cost me my job and to this day I still can't listen to or sing most Christian modern music. My church is into the same music and I finally had to change churches. Do you think there is any relationship between this kind of music and the fact that America is no longer considered a Christian nation. Think about the words in much of this modern music. They are not really about God, but about self. The clothes we wear to church and the music there, I think, reflects our shallow walk with the Lord for many Americans. A nation rises or falls based on God's people. The mess America is in I put fully on the shoulders of Christians. Just look at 2 Chronicles 7:14 and see if that is not so.

  2. Being force-fed anything is unpleasant, whether it is wholesome and useful to you or not. I can understand how it would have been difficult to work in such an environment.

    I think the question of music is more difficult. Yes, much of modern Christian music is vapid and empty. There are a lot of songs focused only on me and myself. But we can't throw out the baby with the bathwater, because there are also some truly awesome songs out there that are totally God-focused. I think of the currently popular song "How Great is Our God" as an example that I personally love. I do understand that people have different style preferences and one can find any style unpalatable for that reason. That's a matter of taste.

    If I understand your underlying point correctly though, I agree that much of what we've done to make Christ appealing to the modern culture has left us with a weak, shallow faith. We don't talk about the cost of discipleship anymore because for most Americans there isn't any real cost. They can live their lives just as they were with a few adjustments, but it doesn't really cost them anything. I agree that we need to humble ourselves, turn from our own wicked ways and then God may heal our land. I love that verse because it puts the issue back where it belongs, in the laps of those who call on God's name, not on those who don't. If we want to know why we're in the position we're in, we need to look at ourselves.