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Don’t Ask. Don’t Sell. February 27, 2012

I had a “conversation” with a Greg McCaw, a former CCM insider (he was “no longer needed” after he came out). He estimates that as many as 35% of those in the Christian Music industry are closeted gay.
Based on his experience, Mr. McCaw suspects most who work alongside them within the industry know of their orientation. Just not the general public.
So in reality, people like Marsha Stevens-Pino (For Those Tears I Died), Clay Aiken, Jenifer Knapp, Tonéx, Ray Boltz, et al, were not outsted from the industry because they were gay, but because they admitted publicly they were gay.

According to Greg, “It is OK to be LGBT privately, as long as you don’t say that you’re LGBT.  This is especially true if you have a talent that is quite marketable.”
Privately pro-LGBT thinkers keep quiet because they know most of their buyers are fundies.  It’s easy to become victims of the hypocrisy of religion.

There are many who make their living from selling “Christian goods” who are sincere believers that do valid ministry.  But, as Greg also says, Christian events and “the Christian music industry and the Christian publishing industry… are not primarily about ministry, they are primarily about sales.”

That’s all good and fine, I suppose.  Most of us probably already know that anyway.  But when people become less than who they are, or must be somewhat decietful concerning their views just to ensure their paycheck…
well, that’s not very Christian at all.
Making your money “off the gospel” is usually a dangerous thing.  It’s easy to end up being an ear-tickler.  Especially, I believe, in fundamentalist circles.

You can justify your cowardice because, in the words of Frank Schaeffer, “there are bills to be paid, because you are booked up for a year, because this is what you do.”

Yes, the livelihood of many gay Christians, as well as their straight allies, is tied to the CCM industry’s “Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell” policy.
Thank God, the tide of public opinion is turning, brought about in part, by the many Christians and denominations who are taking a stand for equality, consequences be damned.  This has happened time and time again throughout history, in relationship to various issues of human rights.
These people are those to whom, in my opinion, true ministry is more important than the Christian Money Machine.

-df

 

My Review of “Raised By Wolves” January 10, 2010

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“Raised By Wolves:  The Story Of Christian Rock & Roll”
by John J Thompson

I’ve been listening to “Jesus music” for about 35 years, and this book has brought back many memories.  It’s also brought to light many new (to me) stories.  This is the most complete coverage of “Christian” music and its history I can imagine.

Everybody is here:  From Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Andre Crouch, and Barry McGuire (who was very encouraging during my participation in the “2009 Aids Walk”), to Petra and Rez, to Amy Grant and M.W. Smith, to DC Talk, Daniel Amos, and Steve Taylor (who loved making “hamburger out of sacred cows” and guided the music and careers of The Newsboys, Sixpence, and others), to Keith Green and Rich Mullins, to Alice Cooper, Sixpence None the Richer, and Creed, to Delirious? and Sonic Flood, and Lauren Hill.

Lots of stories, behind the scenes insights, and inside information.  But more than just the artists and music, this book comments on the “Christian music industry,” various attitudes and expectations, and the age-old story of religion always fighting what God is doing.  It also comments on the down side of the “Christian” marketplace:

“The Christian community had nearly completed its total retreat from mainstream society.  It even had its own television networks.  Many Christians were able to live in a world within a world, one that would protect them from ever brushing up against non-Christians.  And the ghetto was large enough that many people made millions of dollars selling Christian CDS to Christians, Christian books to Christians, and even Christian toys, paintings, videos, and clothes to Christians.  A handful of artists, however, wanted nothing to do with that ghetto.”

In many ways, the “CCM Industry” serves to further the illusion of the separation and compartmentalization of the Christian life into secular and sacred.  But, wheat and weeds have always grown together, and will continue to do so.  There’s a lot of great music out there by people of faith.  This book, at many points, shows how the industry tried to ignore it (or lambast it), while the “church” tried, first, to destroy it, and then to control it.

There are a lot of true “success” stories chronicled here as well; Petra, Lost Dogs, and Sixpence None The Richer being among them.

This book is already about 10 years old, so the last decade is, of course, not covered.  But, I can’t think of an abundance of landmark happenings in CCM during that period anyway.  Except maybe for Stryper getting back together.  Oh, and the release of Re-Union’s “Inside Out.” 😉

If you’re a long-time devotee, this book will provide a nostalgic trip down memory lane.  If you’re relatively new to the scene, you will be brought “up to speed.”  In either case, you’ll find a fun, informative, and challenging time with “Raised By Wolves.”

 

 
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