I stumbled across this quote today on a blog:
“Contemporary Christian Music…represents for many contemporary evangelicals the sum of their theological training and discipleship.”
Apparently it’s from the book Jesus Made in America: A Cultural History from the Puritans to the Passion of the Christ, Stephen J. Nichols, (Downers Grove: IVP, 2008 p.16).
I have to say that I agree that the Christian culture has created a community where we treat music artists as the mediators of our faith. If we go to a Chris Tomlin concert and sing some worship songs, we’re somehow holier for it, because, of course, everyone knows that Christian music artists have a direct pipeline to God.
I asked Jeremy Camp once if he thought the Christian community had elevated artists like himself to celebrity status, and this is what he told me:
“Yes, and I think it’s wrong. I think that we can have people be examples and maybe mentors, an encouragement in the body, but there’s no difference between us, anyway. So to elevate a Christian artist – which is something that God has given them [to do], who God is to receive the glory – to celebrity status is something I think is not right. But I think that artists, though, need to display that in our actions towards people and how we’re involved with people.”
Despite the fact that his face is plastered on posters and t-shirts, he said he needs to display humility and always have a servant’s heart – which if you meet Jeremy Camp for even a few minutes you know is a genuine desire. The guy is just niceness personified.
Later that night he even mentioned our conversation from the stage, and encouraged the audience to remember that we’re all gifted in different ways, and we each bless each other. His gift just happens to put him on a stage, but that doesn’t make him any better or more important than them.
And yet the question remains: Do Christians think that their music artists are smarter, holier, more knowlegable about the Bible and religion? Do you think Christians live their faith vicariously through Christian celebrities?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.