sacred space invaders

26 03 2010

What space is who’s and who‘s space is what’s? I mean, what space is ours and what is theirs, whoever they are? And whoever we are.

There’s a new viral Facebook campaign called Invade the Airwaves, a campaign to get a Christian song to number 1 for Easter Sunday. It follows from the success of the Christmas campaign in 2009 to defeat the evil Roman chart occupation of Simon Cowell.

I think this is quite interesting. Despite some reservations about the idea, I have signed up for it. After all, it will only cost 79p.

Reservations? Well, it is only a good idea as part of a whole-life being transformed, that means a whole life with God having invaded our space, rather than us invading everyone else‘s. It is only a good idea of we don’t think that people will hear it and be converted. It is only a good idea if we recognise it won‘t get played by major radio stations except maybe once in the chart show, and that we don’t mind if that is the case. It is only a good idea of we hold it loosely and don’t expect it to make Tinie Tempah suddenly live a very very very holy lifestyle, and have so many Bibles he keeps some at his aunts house. Musical Jesus-bombs may be easy to lob, but won’t change a lot.

I have to hold it loosely because there are some underlying assumptions I am a bit uncomfortable with. That the airwaves are ‘theirs’, and ‘we’ must reclaim them. That to grow the kingdom of God we must invade, rather than transform. That there are no songs in the charts that speak of love and hope and fear and pain and death and spiritual realities. Ok, they may be few and far between, but for every pointless 3 minutes of Cheryl Cole (except Fight for This Love, that was ok…) there’s a Mumford or a Lady Gaga or a Robbie or an Athlete or a myriad of other people who say profound things. They may just be a bit harder to find. So try. Everything is spiritual.

So join the Facebook campaign, buy the song (the right version!), give Reggie something to think about on Easter Sunday at 6.50pm. But make sure it doesn’t make you feel like you’ve done your bit, that this is all we need to do, and that being a part of transforming and redeeming the world costs only 79p. And this song should make us especially clear about that. It is lives changing that make lives change. A change of fast, a loosening of chains and a release from oppression. Jesus overthrew the human empire not by invading but by sacrificial and painful and incarnational love. Maybe we should do the same with the Simon Cowell and the demons of bland sex-obsessed pop. Take up our cross. Not just our downloads. But at least together we can start there, because joining together for something is a point in itself. And there’s money in it for CompassionArt.

And we can be grateful its not a Michael W. Smith song.

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5 responses

26 03 2010

How many more viral Facebook campaigns will we have to endure before everyone gets bored and we move on to something else? What next – lobbying Fabio Capello to pick Phil Neville as Egland’s left back for the World Cup?
I have very mixed views about this latest campaign. On the one hand, I love Delirious and I think the world would be better if more of their songs had graced the airwaves over the years. But aren’t Delirious the group who wanted to compete against chart bands on their own musical merits, not on some tokenist Christian ticket? Oh, the irony, that they don’t even get anywhere near the playlist for Aled Jones’ ‘religious’ R2 programme on Sunday morning. And is the current state of Christian music really so pathetic that the campaigners need to use a track that is 10 years old? Yes.
‘Christian’ is always such a dubious adjective, though. ‘Christian’ band, ‘Christian’ politician, ‘Christian writer’… we all know that’s not a strong enough recommendation. What does ‘Christian’ mean in this context? It’s the quality of whatever follows the ‘Christian’ tag that we need to evaluate. Christian politicians, unsurprisingly, have all sorts of mixed political views. Christian music, sadly, is largely pap. And that’s the better stuff. Delirious were a noble exception.
But I already own this track about 5 times. So do I want to buy yet another copy? Call me irresponsible, but I’m voting for Lady GaGa to be the Easter No.1. We won’t let her play in our churches, so why should we try to force our music into her chart territory?
Jesus doesn’t need more hits in the pop chart. We could use some in our churches though. A campaign for contemporary Christian artists to raise their game and give us something better to sing might be useful. Is anyone else struggling to find anything more recent than ‘He Has Risen’ to play on Easter Sunday morning?
Oh, and by the way, wasn’t payola a chart-rigging scandal? Don’t believe the hype!

26 03 2010

I see we share the same reservations, and then some more! I bet there’s a million bands who wish they were chosen for this campaign. Some triumphalist-sounding Christians are going GaGa over this campaign. Why?

Go here for Martin Smith himself talking about how not to write songs for a movement, and how to have a go… He’s quite wise.

30 03 2010

I’ve downloaded it…

31 03 2010
Calum Miller

Looks like you’re ministering very near me – I was born at St Helier!

31 03 2010

And I went to Tenison’s in Croydon, though I think I pre-date you a little bit! This blog is one of my ways of communicating with the St Helier parish and beyond, and getting some thoughts out there. You’re welcome to look around!

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