“Feel Invincible” is a new track from Christian rock band Skillet. Perhaps you’ve heard it. The chorus goes like this:

You make me feel invincible

Earthquake, powerful

Just like a tidal wave

You make me brave

You’re my titanium

Fight song, raising up

Like a roar of victory in a stadium

Who can touch me cause I’m

I’m made of fire

Who can stop me tonight

I’m hard wired

You make me feel invincible

Earlier this year, a friend sent me the following FiveThirtyEight article: “The Sun Is Always Shining In Modern Christian Pop.” Its premise? Contemporary Christian music is “unrelentingly cheerful.” Mentions of positive things like life, grace, and love far outnumber negative things like sin, death, and fear. This hasn’t always been the case. Older Christian music was less glowingly optimistic and more realistic, embracing the reality of sin and life’s struggles. But nowadays, excessive positivity is the norm. Christian songs help us feel better, because they’re jubilant and happy and upbeat! They make us feel invincible!

But, wait a second. Shouldn’t Christian songs be about, well, Christ? Not just about us feeling better?

My mom and I discussed this very thing the other day. While listening to some Christian tunes on the radio, we both agreed that modern Christian songs focus less on us praising God and more on God helping us. Worship anthems have been replaced with cute, catchy, make-me-feel-good tunes. Think, for example, of Francesca Battistelli’s 2008 hit song, “Free to Be Me.” The opening lines:

At twenty years of age

I’m still looking for a dream

A war’s already waged

For my destiny

But you’ve already won the battle

And you’ve got great plans for me

Though I can’t always see

On my own I’m so clumsy

But on your shoulders I can see

I’m free to be me

Yes, this song is fun to sing along with or listen to. But the focus is remarkably self-centered, don’t you think?

Of course, the me-me-me mentality is common in our culture. We are outrageously interested in ourselves. When we walk into a restroom, we glance in the mirror. When we see a group picture, we first examine ourselves. When we check social media, we want to first see what reactions our posts are generating. We spend most of the day thinking about ourselves and precious little time thinking of others. As Olin Miller candidly observed, “You wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do!”

Apparently popular Christian songs are increasingly reflecting this self-absorption.

But let’s not forget what—rather, whom—Christian music should be about: namely, God. He’s the one worth singing about. Praise, worship, and adoration should be directed toward him—not toward ourselves.

“It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night” (Psalm 92:1-2).

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2 thoughts on “What’s wrong with Christian music these days?

  1. I think an important subdivision in the genre of “Christian music” needs to be made here. Worship music, like you said, “should be directed toward him—not toward ourselves.” However, Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) is a genre that exists not primarily to glorify God, but for Christian artists to write songs that communicate the story of their lives to a relatable audience, While CCM is notorious for shallow lyrics and unoriginal melodies and rhythms, there is a substantial market of people who want to be encouraged by songwriters who are close with the Lord, outside the context of direct worship. While I honestly think CCM is fairly laughable from a musical perspective, I have grown to recognize its importance to those who listen to it. Some Christians want the feel of pop music without the deplorable content.

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