Music is surely among the most baffling of the arts in its power to move people profoundly whether or not they have any technical expertise or intellectual understanding of it. If a few combinations of pitches, durations, timbres, and dynamic values can unlock the most hidden contents of a man’s spiritual and emotional being, then the study of music should be the key to an understanding of man’s nature. Music is a code in which the deepest secrets of humanity are written...
I'm quite sure I agree. And while listening to Sufjan Stevens and Over the Rhine this week, I was moved to write something on how frustrated I am with Christians who think that writing some trite, souless phrases about how much they love Jesus, and setting them to a few three-chord progressions is timeless songwriting. It isn't. Good songwriting is just that, good songwriting, and if a Christian thinks they have the gift of songwriting, they should attempt to write good songs, not songs which are explicitly Christian.
I was excited a few months back to find Jeffery Overstreet, a reviewer who thinks on these same lines. His blog is here, and here's a bit of what he had to say while reviewing the top albums of 2004 (ok, I was reading the archives):
"Many of this year's most impressive releases came from Christian artists composing music that the whole world is drawn to. Sure, there are still those fooling themselves, living in fear of what they perceive as "secular," and yet jealously plagiarizing "secular" styles and trying to "save" them with un-poetic, cheesy, elementary, propagandistic lyrics. But the wall is down now, and when compared to other artists easily identifiable in the mainstream arena, they're shown up for the mediocre and misleading "artists" that they are."