Today I received some very exciting newswhile perusing my Facebook newsfeed. Go figure. I’m not used to the “news” articles I locate via Facebook being both relevant to my interests and decidedly uncharged by ignorant bigotry and contention. On this particular day, however, a certain link led me to the following introductory paragraph from an article found on none other than Time.com:
“Earlier this month TobyMac jumped to the top of the Billboard Top 200 chart with Eye On It, the first Christian album to reach the No. 1 spot since Bob Carlisle’s Adult Contemporary hit Butterfly Kisses 15 years ago. But TobyMac isn’t exactly AC. His blend of rock/pop/hip-hop—’schizophrenic pop’ he jokes to TIME—is a new sound to reach such levels of success: an overtly Christian artist who sings, talks and raps about Jesus.”
It appears that the 17th of September was a banner day and an important triumph for Christian artists everywhere, particularly former DC-Talk vocalist, TobyMac. Never mind that Toby has been one of my personal favorite musicians, Christian or otherwise, ever since high school. He is an outspokenly Christian pop artist whose album is number one on Billboard’s Top 200 chart! Billboard, people! As if that’s not enough, equally in-your-face Christian artist Lecrae is the current occupier of the number two slot. It’s all a bit overwhelming for CCM fans who have grown accustomed to the misrepresentation and sometimes totalabsence of faith-based media in pop culture, and it makes a powerful statement about what it takes to influence that culture.
I think these two progressive artists (and other believing performers on mainstream labels such as Switchfoot, Skillet, and others) are an excellent example to the Christian art and music communities. They are living proof that in order to “make it big” in the pop scene, you don’t need to sell out when it comes to your message. You don’t need to be afraid of explicit declarations of faith. You don’t need to water down your truth to appeal to the masses. You do, however, need to make good music.
Now, there’s a shocker.
I will now leave you with a quote from my favorite Christian artist, Madeleine L’Engle who says,
“Christian art? Art is art. Painting is painting. Music is music. A story is a story. If it’s bad art, it’s bad religion, no matter how pious the subject.“
With that bit of wisdom, I’m off to celebrate the victory of my fellow brothers-in-arms in this battle to reclaim the arts for Christ.