Regular readers of my irregularly-written blog will remember that I have on occasion expressed my frustration with the several different forms of “Christian media”, and today’s post is no exception.  The most popular Christian radio station here in Atlanta, as best I can tell, is 104.7, “The Fish”.  It plays on our radio from time to time, and it’s passable, I suppose (given the definition I read recently of Contemporary Christian Music: “bad music written about God by white people”).

What annoys me is the advertising campaigns that The Fish chooses to employ.  First, their motto is “Safe for the Whole Family”.  Understand, they play “Christian” music, in the sense that the majority of their playlist consists of songs that either overtly or subtly refer to Jesus in some way, shape, or form.  I feel pretty certain that the majority, likely 100%, of their staff would profess faith in Christ.  That’s great, of course…but I am reminded of a short passage from C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:

‘If there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than me or else just silly.’

‘Then he isn’t safe?’ asked Lucy.

‘Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver. ‘Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.’

Given that Aslan is a Christ-figure, I think Lewis has it right: Jesus is anything but safe.  Ah, but the music we write about this domesticated God-man is “safe for the whole family”.  OK.

Now, in a pitch for their morning drive-time “Kevin and Taylor in the Morning”, they describe what goes on as “Good, Clean Fun”.  OK…we sing songs about Jesus, and then reduce the experience to “good, clean fun”.  Hmmm…Jesus isn’t “safe for the whole family”, and for goodness’ sake, is He “good, clean fun”?

Such is the banality of much of contemporary Christian discourse…

10 responses »

  1. Jack Brooks says:

    I think “safe” is intended to communicate “No dirty stuff or bad language”.

    • Byron says:

      Yes, I KNOW that’s what it’s intended to communicate. But I’m just not keen on describing songs that point toward Jesus as being “safe”, no matter the reason.

  2. Laurie says:

    This kind of thing is what I think of as “watered down” Christianity. It focuses on being seeker-friendly rather than letting the Spirit do His work on the hearts of men.

    To whom do you really have to explain that Christian songs are good and clean? And unless it’s a Christian song for children, since when is the primary purpose of a song with Christian lyrics “to have fun”?

  3. Jack Brooks says:

    I also don’t believe they’re referring to the songs as “fun”, but to the on-air banter. Most of the songs K-Love plays are simple but fairly earnest. It’s a radio network for teen-agers, and adults with adolescent tastes.

    • Byron says:

      Agreed again. But it still all strikes a wrong chord with me when we seem afraid to say, “we’re playing songs that point people to Jesus”; instead, we focus on the “fun” and “safe” aspects of it all. Just doesn’t sit well, Jack.

  4. Jack Brooks says:

    I don’t think youth ministry was your major.

  5. Laurie says:

    I still think “Safe for the Whole Family” and “Good Clean Fun” are redundant, to say the least, statements about both Christian music and on-air Christian banter. Would anyone think it was a good idea to hang a banner on a church with these statements?

    Just seems to me it should go without saying that anything for/about Christianity is good and clean. And it seems to have become a marketing tool to use the word “fun” when speaking of Christian activities, as if that is what’s needed to draw people – I agree it just doesn’t feel right. Shouldn’t there be a better reason, a higher purpose, for listening to Christian music/banter/teaching – than having fun?

  6. Derlin says:

    If I was atheist or even theistic to a non-Christian god, I would likely consider songs praising Jesus as God to be offensive and potentially damaging to children about spreading lies about a god who doesn’t exist and has no impact on their lives.

  7. Derlin says:

    Being a Christian, however, I fall into the God as good, but certainly not safe. (Though I do have to admit that there is a degree of safety in being a Christian in the USA that does not exist in certain other countries.

  8. Laurie says:

    Even if I was an atheist I don’t think I’d go so far as to be upset about songs that praise a God I didn’t believe in as somehow being dangerous to children, because then I’d have to be offended by songs about Santa. 🙂

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