When Christian music gets it right

As Christians we are called to be in the world, but not OF the world. If we are truly living the faith, we are counter-cultural.

I’ve always cringed at things like “Christian Rock” or parish bulletins that list a “Teen Mass.” Lowering ourselves to the culture’s level seldom works.

Except when it does.

Mandisa was a contestant on American Idol in the mid-2000’s. She got booted from the top 10 and went on to become a Gospel recording artist. I really liked her on Idol, she has a powerful voice. So when a music service I subscribe to listed her new album, I gave it a listen. Most of it’s so-so, but some tracks are actually good and don’t ring hollow or sound like a lame attempt to ape pop music.

This is one of those songs, “Overcomer.” I finally got around to locating the video on YouTube and it, um, made me cry. Her latest album is named Overcomer and another good song to check out, especially for the gays, is “Face 2 Face.” (Because it’s a remarkably solid dance track.)

Secondly, Jahmene. Sometimes I like to amuse myself by searching YouTube for terms like “american idol bad audition” or “x factor bad audition.” Occasionally I’ll watch good auditions too.

One that I found last night was from The X Factor UK 2012 and features a shy guy with an amazing soulful voice. Jahmene Douglas, a little Googling revealed, is also a Christian who wants to raise the bar for the culture and has committed himself to purity. He endured a terrible childhood with an abusive father. Jahmene tried to commit suicide. His brother DID commit suicide.

Lastly, I’m resharing the very first thing I tweeted when I started @TheFourMarks on Twitter. I found it on a stained glass window in a mausoleum (of all places) several years ago as I was inching back home to Mother Church. Growing up in this “feel good” culture, I’d never encountered suffering portrayed in quite these terms. It was eye-opening.

“Suffering is a nursery of wisdom and a school of sanctity. It unveils the vanity of earthly attachments and teaches us the true value of heavenly pursuits.”