Anyway...it's on a site I've never visited before and it looks like a great one: Colossians Three Sixteen. Here's some excerpts from the article. Please discuss amongst yourselves. If you find any other interesting posts on the site let me know:
Who says what is and is not “Christian” music? The Christian Music Trade Association (CMTA), that’s who!
According to the CMTA, an artist such as Sufjan Stevens, whose beliefs are certainly not in question, does not qualify as a “Christian” artist. In other words, you will not be able to purchase his work at your local Christian bookstore.
John Styll, president of the CMTA quips that Stevens “just doesn’t want to play the Christian music-market game, and that’s OK.” In other words, he has not sought distribution through the right channels, nor does he play the right venues. All of which makes one wonder how a group such as Phillips, Craig and Dean who deny the Trinity may be purchased at any Christian bookstore while Bob Dylan’s landmark Slow Train Coming may not. Apparently, good business means more than good theology in some circles, and God-glorifying content is not even on the radar.
It must be said, that to my knowledge, Sufjan Stevens has not sought CMTA certification. Indie artist Jeremy Casella notes that Sufjan is “not considered one of the CCMers or GMTA’ers because his music doesn’t run in CCM industry circles. No business connections or touring connections. No label connections. No affiliation really. No Nashville bloodline/money.” In other words, it’s a business decision, not a content question. Casella concludes “Its obvious as daylight that he’s a believer.”
Such discussions ought to make us apprehensive at best about what is and is not considered “Christian” music. Yet larger issues are also hinted at here; most notably the separationist tendencies of many Christians (which I am currently pondering more). Rather than be “in the world but not of the world,” many have chosen to withdraw all together, having a “Christian” version of everything the world might have to offer, both good and bad. We have our own musicians who play in our own venues that we buy in our own stores and labels are worth a thousand words; if it’s “Christian,” it’s alright by me.
We are faced with a sacred/secular divide that permeates every level of life, forcing us to label everything, regardless of accuracy. Casella concludes, “The labeling is foolishness but that’s just the way it is here in town (Nashville). I think the whole thing is falling apart though. It happening right now and will continue to happen in the coming years.” Let’s hope he’s right but in the meantime, Christians must learn to look past the cover to judge the book.