Monday, May 9, 2011
Why Do An Album on God's Attributes?
"Christianity today is man-centered, not God-centered. God is made to wait patiently, even respectfully, on the whims of men. The image of God currently popular is that of a distracted Father, struggling in heartbroken desperation to get people to accept a Saviour of whom they feel no need and in whom they have very little interest. To persuade these self-sufficient souls to respond to His generous offers God will do almost anything, even using salesmanship methods and talking down to them in the chummiest way imaginable. This view of things is, of course, a kind of religious romanticism which, while it often uses flattering and sometimes embarrassing terms in praise of God, manages nevertheless to make man the star of the show." (A.W. Tozer Man: The Dwelling Place of God)
As the time approaches for my new album The Attributes of God to be released, I wanted to share with you about why I did it. This idea has actually been in the works for years. Those of you who have been following my music for a while know that on Grassroots Vol. 1, there was a song with myself and Timothy Brindle entitled The Holiness of God. That song was supposed to be included on the Attributes album that Tim and I were working on. The song Humility of Christ, which appeared on Tim's classic 2005 release Killing Sin, was also supposed to be on the project. When Tim stepped away from public ministry in 2006, the project was shelved. As time went on, it wasn't clear whether or not Tim would be returning. In the same way that I was burdened to do an album on The Atonement in 2007, I began to feel burdened in 2010 to do an album on God's character. Since Tim wasn't back yet, I moved forward with it as a solo project. Thankfully, Tim has returned, and we were able to include him on a few of the songs as we got near completion of the project.
So why was I so heavily burdened to do this project? The answer may be surprising to some, but here's why I did it:
Because A Lot of Christian Music Is Not Actually About God
I don't mean for this to sound harsh or overly critical, but have any of you noticed that the vast majority of music that would fall into the category of "Christian" is not actually about God Himself? I think this is particularly the case with Christian Hip-hop, but it can be seen in other genres as well. How can I say this? Well, most of the music I hear is more about US and our response to God, but not God Himself. Don't get me wrong. There's a place for music that deals with our response to God, but when that is the overwhelming majority of the music, we slowly begin to distort the truth about who the God is that we're supposedly responding to. The Tozer quote above was written over 50 years ago, but could have been written yesterday. Our culture is extremely narcissistic and man-centered, and it seems that much of Christian music has followed suit. The Bible, however, is radically God-centered, and I believe that a radically God-centered worldview should be reflected in the songs we write. Because of our man-centered tendencies, the songs we sing about God usually deal with the things we like about Him (which are usually the things that directly benefit us the most), such as His love, mercy and forgiveness, etc. These things are glorious and we should write songs about them. However, if that's all we talk about, we create an incomplete and deficient view of God, which is not in line with His self-revelation.
So, for instance, when was the last time you heard a contemporary song that echoed the ancient songs of David about the righteousness and justice of God (Ps. 11:7)? Which Christian hit on Billboard sings along with Nahum that God is "jealous, avenging and wrathful" (Nahum 1:2-3)? Who is producing songs that speak to God's sovereign rule over His creation (Ps. 2, 115)? Can you direct me to a popular song that celebrates God's omniscience along with Hannah (1 Sam. 2:3)? God's eternality along with Moses (Psalm 90:2)? God's judgments along with Miriam (Ex. 15:21)? These things are often spoken of in Scripture, particularly in the context of Biblical songs, yet they tend to be largely missing from our songs today. That's not to say that no one is doing it. God has raised up an increasing number of songwriters who are expounding on His character. But when something so foundational and essential has been so under-done, it becomes important for others to step to the plate and contribute. The Attributes of God album is simply my attempt at one such contribution.
grace and peace,