Christian Rock

Growing up, I thought I was supposed to like Christian Rock music.  I remember two band names – Petra and Avenue G, but mostly I was and remain completely ignorant about the genre.  I might even be wrong about Avenue G.  Petra was huge – the U2 of Christian Rock.  I think Avenue G performed at my church one time – I think they brought a soundstage with lights and fog machines.  I think I had one of their cassettes that I perhaps listened to a couple of times.  But I just couldn’t get into the music.

As I’ve aged, I’ve developed a bit more of an appreciation of the sounds of various musical genres, but “heavy metal” is one I have never really been able to get on board with.  When I was at the age kids started appreciating music on their own I had a bit of self-consciousness about not liking the music of my peers.  While I honestly don’t think too many of the kids I grew up with in church liked the Christian Rock Metal either, my peers in school definitely had an appreciation for what I always called the “black t-shirt bands” – Metallica, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Slayer, etc.

Of course the many Christian powers that be have always known that the road to hell is paved with rock music, so they wanted to offer us kids a sanctioned alternative; they were trying.  They were trying hard.  Maybe they were trying too hard.  For a while there the Christian Rock market was fairly lucrative, and more than one case emerged of interlopers – “mainstream” artists trying to cash in on the Headbanging for Jesus crowd.

But it’s not surprising that I was not too into Christian Rock.  As a young person the only music I was ever very passionate about was the “regular” church music I grew up with – the Great Hymns of the Faith, as well as what I found to be inspirational Contemporary Christian Worship music.  And I liked my dad’s “Oldies” a lot too (and still do).  I guess those last two are genres for posts to come.

Thanks for reading.



  1. Derek Hale · · Reply

    Oddly enough, I just saw this one today as well. This article by Peter Leithart dovetails nicely with what you were saying about “Christian rock.”

    I hang my head in shame that me and my generation pushed so very hard the notion of “whatever I love to hear on my Walkman/Discman/iPod better be the music I hear in church or I’m outta here.” We were all in the grip of a frightening amount of hubris and chronological snobbery.

    C.S. Lewis was exactly right: “All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.” The musical traditions of the church–handed down over centuries–should be respected and built upon thoughtfully, not jettisoned simply because they are “old.”

  2. Derek Hale · · Reply

    Ouch! It’s late. I should have said “my generation and I pushed so very hard…”

  3. Those pesky “that” clauses…objective and nominative case confusion is something I, for one, forgive in internet comments! Thanks for the read. I do think Leithart oversimplifies culture when saying it’s “a gift from the old to the young.” For my part, the lesson I needed to learn was to embrace the music I love!

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