Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What Makes A Christian Band a Christian Band?

Needtobreathe is quickly becoming one of my favorite bands. Their song Lay ‘Em Down was playing somewhere and, as I do with songs that I like but are not familiar with, I “SoundHounded” it. About a month later I was going through the songs in my SoundHound history and came across it. Often I will listen to a song and wonder why I had decided that I needed to know what song was playing. With Lay ‘Em Down there was no question that it was a song that I wanted to buy. So I have bought a few of Needtobreathe’s songs and have really enjoyed listening to them.

Just a few days ago I was listening to Shine.Fm through their iPhone app. (There are no radio stations in Chicago that actually play any Christian music that I want to listen to on a regular basis.) The DJ (Should it be CDJ or even MP3J?) read a bit of an interview with Needtobreath lead singer Bear Rinehart on whether or not Needtobreathe is a Christian band and if they ran into any conflict between faith and art.

The way we approach it with the media, I say, you know if I were a truck driver from the south, definitely that would affect my music. And so me being a Christian, that definitely affects my music. We make really honest music, and this time more honest than the last. So that means this time, it’s more Christian than the last. It’s more overt in that way. I think fans really like that, secular or Christian. I think a lot is made out of that in the media, but I just don’t think that people really do care. I mean, we play a club one night and maybe on a Christian tour the next. You can turn the dial and hear our song on the Christian station and then hear it on the secular station next. I hope that we send a positive message regardless. We definitely don’t try to fill someone’s agenda.
It is an interesting thought. I wonder if he is on to something in that we can sometimes be more concerned with the labels we attach to something rather than whether or not the shoes fit. Is Needtobreathe a Christian band because of the songs that they sing or are they a Christian band because the members are Christians? Do I believe certain things and live my life a certain way because I wear the label Christian or is the label Christian attached to me because I believe certain things and live my life a certain way? It is a chicken and the egg type of question.

Paul states in Colossians 1:9-10:
And so from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
Paul is saying that Christians are to be filled with the knowledge and understanding of God and it is to affect how we live our lives on a daily basis. That in turn is to help increase the fruit we bear and increases our knowledge of God. So on one hand when I attach the label Christian to myself it should affect how I live my life. But the way I live my life should also cause people to recognize that I am a Christian.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. A world famous band from the 80's opted to identify themselves as "a band of Christians" instead of a "Christian band." They were concerned about being pigeon-holed into a certain market. They deliberately played secular venues and steered clear of Christian festivals. Although they could have named their price to headline Cornerstone. They were something of a precurser to Switchfoot & MXPX. But by avoiding the "Christian" marketing label, it left room for them to use language from the stage that many would deem inappropriate for Christians. That was disappointing. Likewise, I have witness other so-called bands of Christans at secular venues conduct themselves in ways that would not reflect well on their professed faith.

    Back then I played in a band of Christians too. We played secular venues (CBGB's, etc.) Not all of our songs were rock n roll sermons. But we were committed to conducting ourselves in a manner that would never bring shame or dishonor on the Lord's name.

    First and foremost, I think a Christan band is a group of people who honor God in who they are. Then after that they can focus on what they sing.

    Vynnie from da Bronx

  2. "First and foremost, I think a Christan band is a group of people who honor God in who they are. Then after that they can focus on what they sing."

    Vynnie - That is a really good point. Are you guys battening down the hatches in preparation for Hurricane Irene or is it going to stay south of you?

  3. The city took a lot of precautions including shutting down Mass Transit, bridges and roads that are prone to flooding. The mayor simply told everyone to stay home. With transit down, that's what everybody did. We decided to postpone church. That is something we do lightly. I guess it is better to err on the side of safety.