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The question used to be, can a Jesus band ever not sing about Jesus? These days, the question, asked by The Denver Post’s Ricardo Baca, has become: Can a band sing about Jesus without being called a Jesus band?

Baca sympathizes with Michael Nau, lead singer for Maryland soft rockers Page France, who says he’s tired of the presumption that he’s preaching. The group’s new album does have songs titled “Jesus” and “Bush” (as in “burning”) but they are hardly an altar call. “Jesus will come through the ground, so dirty / With worms in his hair and a hand so sturdy,” Nau sings on “Jesus.” If Sabbath growled those lyrics, no one would think twice.

As Hanna Rosin points out in a round-up of recent books about Christian kids on Slate, evangelicals no longer demand a clean-cut Christian decorum from its youth culture. Neither, increasingly does the broader audience. Sufjan Stevens, Pedro the Lion’s Dave Bazan, and other rockers-who-are Christian may get pigeonholed, but it matters less and less to anyone.

But we’re still in transition. In the same piece, Baca quotes Andrew Beaujon, author of “Body Piercing Saved My Life,” about modern Christian rockers, who says, “It’s a really big choice for a lot of Christian musicians: Are we a Christian band or are we Christians in a band.” But artists like Nau are giving the lie to statements like that. The only real question anymore is: Are they good?

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