October 8, 2021
Hippie rocker turned Christian rock pioneer Larry Norman famously sang, “Why should the devil have all the good music?” The answer is, he shouldn’t, and he doesn’t! As I continue to reflect on The Jesus Music, a documentary on the roots, rise, and impact of CCM, my brain hasn’t shut down.
I struggled to get to sleep after watching it the first time (Yes, I have already gone again!) as I worshipped, prayed, and thought of the power of music and how it impacted my life. Indeed, music breaks down barriers and brings people together. It moves people. To be sure, it can do all of this in three and a half minutes, as stated by CCM “King of the Prom” MichaelW. Smith.
God uses music to speak the Gospel to new generations and rattles the Church at times—For better or for worse. God often uses music as a tool for revival and awakening. He has done it in the past, and I’m praying He does it again.
In my estimation, the documentary was done incredibly well and hit all the sweet spots you would hope. Some will criticize the lack of some of their favorites. Admittedly, I needed more Steven Curtis Chapman! And we can go down the list of our favorites who didn’t get any airtime and seemed forgotten. But, mentioning every artist of impact is not the goal of the movie. To tell the story of CCM was the task at hand, and The Jesus Music did a more than adequate job discussing the key players. We’d all love to see a CCM documentary similar to the mini-series on Country Music produced by Ken Burns for PBS. Somebody, get the popcorn!
I also appreciate the producers covering the challenging issues in artists' lives and in the Church. They, of course, could have turned over the tables to even uglier stuff. Enough was there, and it was honest.
Broken, talented people, writing and performing songs for broken people—this message resonates with me. It reminds me of my calling, in my imperfections. A world of broken people is at my doorstep, and, by the grace of God, I get to proclaim truth and share how God’s love and the message of the Gospel will bring transformation. It is a beautiful thing.
And, we are all in this together. We worship together. We pray for revival and God to move in people’s lives together.
Music is a gift from God that I rarely take for granted because it speaks to me in high decibels! I do not elevate it above Scripture, nor theSpirit moving in my life, though I see how He often points me to Himself andHis Word as He moves in my heart through music.
I consider much of the music talked about in the documentary a soundtrack for my life. You will experience the same. Nostalgia is too shallow of an idea. Some of the most significant spiritual breakthroughs, lowest points of desperation, and deepest trenches of my own discipleship repeat in my brain when I hear particular songs.
Hence, my brain wouldn’t shut off after I viewed the film. The soundtrack in my head, attached to the working of God in my heart, resonates with “Friends Are Friends Forever,” “Jesus Freak,” “Saddling up my horses,” and getting back to the “Heart of Worship.” It really is all about Jesus.
So, you need to go see it. You will learn a lot as I did, and you will be challenged as I was. And, you will leave encouraged by the prospects of what God is going to do next. He is still inspiring and creating. In fact, this whole music thing is His idea! He invented it!
“ . . . speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your hearts to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:19