Like a House of Cards: #PlanetCCM and Your Contributions

What with how I scheduled this synchroblog around the holidays, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot. But, apparently, talking about CCM really struck a nerve with people, and a total of 16 posts were submitted, with many of you doing entire series on everything from racial disparity to pride to worship in different languages. I am (needless to say but I’ll say it anyway) thrilled with the level of participation and the quality of the contributions!

So, here we go, in no particular order, the posts!

From Charleen: “CCM.” Charleen discusses how CCM affected her relationship with her mother and how it gave her a “safe” form of pop music to enjoy.

From Ryan Ro: Ryan was one of those who did multiple posts, covering everything from his personal history with the genre to the idea of discernment to how God’s plan was interpreted through music.

h00die_R over at Political Jesus went a different direction and talked about racism within CCM, and bodily representation within cultural presentations.

Kate Schell wrote two posts – one about nonconformity and one about the culture war.

Jason Dye covered the idea of what the incarnation of God looked like within CCM – mainly white, static, and Republican, and about how purity culture imparts itself through the culture of CCM.

Sarah Moon wrote about Relient K and the soft-sell of sexism and Five Iron Frenzy and deconversion (and reconversion).

Sonny Lemmons emerged from a blogging hiatus (!!!!) to contribute “Out of the Silent #PlanetCCM” (I mean, how clever is that title) about how the generational gap between the CCM I grew up with and the one he grew up with is incredibly stark.

Toy Adams contributed a personal story about how he feels “CCM is a way to market shallow spirituality to a gullible audience.”

The pseudonymous perfectnumber628 wrote two blog posts – one about being unable to identify basic music information because of the sheltering of CCM and one about “the world” according to Christian Music.

And last, Chris Hutton contributed a post about how CCM affects and shifts our perception of the world in a fascinating historical perspective.

One common theme that emerged throughout these posts is that CCM is far larger than a genre defined by lyrics, but that CCM functions as a method of passing down values – particularly right-wing, conservative values. Convinced of the value separating oneself from the world, the culture of CCM seems bent on imitating and critiquing “the world” all at once. For many of you, CCM played a valuable role in the practice of spirituality during the formative years, only to later realize (as I did) that a spirituality based on saying Jesus in an over-emotional manner was one destined to fall apart like a house of cards.

So what can we learn from this? That spirituality, discipleship, and true Christian following isn’t about creating our very own imitation of culture that’s “safe and friendly” for the whole family. Failing to engage with the culture in which we live is a recipe for a life that fails to examine itself and follow after justice with fervor. As a result, CCM ends up ensconcing and replicating an insular culture that preserves its own whiteness and maleness.

Instead of becoming insular, we need to engage. We need to stop being afraid of what will happen if we listen to a “secular” song. We need to have enough faith in ourselves to let ourselves experience a deeper version of life, rather than CCM’s poor imitation of it.