I, Presby Blue, wasn’t invited to the recent Contemporary Christian Music extravaganza that just came through town. Ms. Blue went, as did daughter Blue and son Blue, but they managed to keep it quiet right up until the day before. I’ve never outright prohibited such a thing but it’s possible they just didn’t want to see my reaction to it. Or maybe they wanted to promote the occasion as unexpected free time for me. Either way, kudos to them for leaving me out of it.
But I did get the report afterwards. I heard a story about a man chained up in water in a casket who freed himself just in time. (Yes, the chains represented sin.) Then there was a story about a motorcycle rider on stage with other spiritual symbolism. Personally, I’d like to see someone do a puppet show while riding a motorcycle but maybe that would be an insurance problem. Then, yes, there certainly was music, and there were sing-along portions, and there were dramatic personal testimonies. In other words, it was a lot like Sunday worship service in the Big Blue Jean Eeevangelical Church downtown.
But before I carry on about the concert I have a precious story to tell. The next day my wife was talking about how our irreligious foreign exchange student just hated the concert. Then Ms. Blue paused, reflected, and said “you know, instead of seeking out all that dramatic stuff maybe we should stick to what we get in church.” She continued to talk but I couldn’t hear anything over the Hallelujah Chorus in my head. It was as close as I’ll get to being a charismatic.
Now back to the concert: these modern day revivals actually make a lot of sense. In Charles Finney’s words, they are pretty, ahem, “in tune” with the “laws of the mind.” Music is powerful and a crowd in unison is powerful. A younger person is wide open for a dramatic story told by a singer whose music she’s already been “inspired” by. Add to that a certain kind of faith – the one that believes God primarily works in sudden, dramatic ways outside of church – and there’s a good chance there will be some strong emotional responses at a CCM revival.
Anyone who has that kind of faith will naturally be bored with a sermon and four hymns. They’ll be unbelieving during the salutation and benediction. The Lord’s Supper will be a musty tradition. Catechism will be a straitjacket. That, folks, is your CCM concert religion.