Much good is done under the moniker “Christian music.”  I hope occasionally to highlight some examples on The Persistence of Song.  But, as an art form, Christian music needs some refining.  The lyrical content needs to be more stirring and more poetic, and the musical production needs more creativity and less emulation.

It would be great if we tuned into Christian airwaves and did not hear key changes (especially without transition) like in “I Love You More,” by Matthew West or awkward extended metaphors like “Eye of the Hurricane,” by Me In Motion, and “Something Beautiful” by NeedToBreathe.  (Check out this earlier post on “Something Beautiful.”)

One thing I would love to eradicate from Christian music is the clichéd space-filler.  Sometimes, you can hear the song writer, wracking his creativity, to find a rhyming word or the perfectly metered phrase for a bridge.

For instance, consider “This Is the Stuff” by Francesca Battistelli.

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My first reaction to this song was cavalier dismissal.  The focus on the minutiae of losing car keys and a cell phone seemed silly to me, but the more I listened, the more I was reminded of my irrational anger in seemingly insignificant situations.  Throw in some mandolin, and I was thinking I found a CCM winner!

The climax of the song killed it for me; Battistelli blares, “It’s not the end of the world.”

Of course, Battistelli is right; the “stuff” she cites in the song is relatively unimportant, and anger towards these situations is clearly unwarranted.  But, should our patience in these situations result from their insignificance?

The cliché—it’s not the end of the world—actually detracts from the message of the song.  Battistelli sings that God uses “this stuff,” to build our patience.

So, perhaps, our reaction to the insignificant disappointment of losing car keys or a cell phone should not be, “No big deal!”  If we feel anger and frustration in those moments, we need to say with the Apostle Paul:  “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31).  Then pray that God will make us “tenderhearted” (Ephesians 4:32).

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