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Go to the bottom of this page A question for Camrillo/Uncle Terry/Tim/whoever wants to chime in 10 Votes - Average Rating: 6.20
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Eis Eis is a male
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A question for Camrillo/Uncle Terry/Tim/whoever wants to chime in Reply to this Post Post Reply with Quote Edit/Delete Posts Report Post to a Moderator       Go to the top of this page

Hey Uncle Terry,
I have a question I'm hoping you'll wiegh in on. In CCMmagazine over the last three months (yes, I read CCM), there has been a re-hashing of the old discussion whether artists work should be reviewed in the magazine. John Styll wrote an article about the time in the 80s that they took a lot of flak for giving a bad review to the Tuxedo Clad Megastar (which I'm certain he deserved) and a bunch of artists actually signed a letter saying that since their music was a call to ministry, it should not be judged/reviewed/given a letter grade. This past issue featured a letter from a reader who felt the same way--if this is an intimate call from God, who are we to judge your ministry? The problem arises, though, in the fact that artists are asking people to buy a CD; they are selling a product to a consumer.

Anyway, as I was thinking about this I've decided to try to write an article for the student newspaper here at my small Bible college, and work through the issue of how Christian music is a strange amalgalm of ministry and business. Would you share your throughts and how you've approached things in your long history with Christian music?

I'd also appreciate the thoughts of my fellow DAmbers.
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I'm obviously not Terry, but I can't help but respond.

Being a pastor, I am overseen by a body of elders who keep me accountable, and, yes, judge my job performance. As a worship pastor, I have to make judgements all the time about who sings and plays what, and whether or not they are a fit, and can play or sing well enough so that the body of Christ will be edified through their ministry. We make these kinds of judgements all of the time. And if you're going to be in the public eye, you will be scrutinized. And why not? The quality of all of our work will be tested by fire someday (1 Corinthians 3:13). Having had some experience in the Christian music industry, I know that there isn't built-in accountablity for many artists. Critics aren't church elders or anything, but at least someone is keeping them accountable (and the labels, too!) for the product they make. And, being accountable to the body of Christ is a Biblical principle.

Also, people do judge your ministry if you're a musician by simply buying or not buying your music. Music is so subjective that I wonder why people get upset over someone offering their opinion of a recording. Why do they care so much? The Christian music bubble will never be burst and actually reach people with this kind of inbred musical culture.

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people saying music is their ministry, intimate calling, etc. and they shouldn't be judged should get an automatic F. Tongue Roll Eyes

sure, different magazines would use different criteria and the same work could receive different grades based on the viewpoint of the judges

CCM magazine should have a biased slant based on CCM that would probably result in some of the best artists not getting the highest rating anyways, so I wouldn't put much stock in their ratings.

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I do believe Kemper Crabb did an entire series addressing this very subject in several issues of Heaven's Metal years back.

If we, as Christians, are going to enter into the arena of entertainment, we do the Lord and The body of Christ an injustice by putting forward less than our very best.
Having spent my entire adult experience sharing a viable music alternative to secular music with my friends and family, I can tell you personally what it's like to have it shoved right back at you.

We need more honesty in judging our art, not less.
"Judgement begins at the House of the Lord.."


I know that's stretching it, but it sure couldn't hurt.

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I'm not Terry, either, but I play him on TV. Big Grin Sorry. Obscure pop culture references are a weakness of mine.

I cannot help but weigh in on this one. If a doctor was called to the ministry of helping the sick in India or Africa is he still liable for malprcactice? Should he not be held responsible for doing sloppy or substandard work just because it's a ministry? If they want to preach the gospel, fine. But if I'm shelling out $16 for their CD or even more for a concert, I have paid for my right to make a judgement call on whether it was worth my money or not.

Musicians and songwriters who hide behind ministry as an excuse to make bad music are not doing the gospel any favors. if anything our work should be scrutinized all the more because we are attaching the name of Christ and the credibility of His message to our work.

All in all I don't believe there should even be a Christian music industry. It just invites this kind of thing. It creates a ghetto mentality and focuses us inward instead of outward toward a world that needs to know who God is. The fact that "Praise & Worship" is now a genre of music makes my skin crawl. Instead, let Christians compete with their "secular" counterparts in the world. If their music is good enough they will get heard. If not, they can "minister" locally in the church. What it boils down to is this: Whose name are we trying to make famous anyway?
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quote:
Originally posted by Jerry Davison
... What it boils down to is this: Whose name are we trying to make famous anyway?


an outstanding summary to a most excellent post! Cool Pleased

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Mad RE: A question for Camrillo/Uncle Terry/Tim/whoever wants to chime in Reply to this Post Post Reply with Quote Edit/Delete Posts Report Post to a Moderator       Go to the top of this page

I have a question for terry.............
How come you don't play country music anymore? Confused Crying

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quote:
Originally posted by Jerry Davison
I'm not Terry, either, but I play him on TV. Big Grin Sorry. Obscure pop culture references are a weakness of mine.

I cannot help but weigh in on this one. If a doctor was called to the ministry of helping the sick in India or Africa is he still liable for malprcactice? Should he not be held responsible for doing sloppy or substandard work just because it's a ministry? If they want to preach the gospel, fine. But if I'm shelling out $16 for their CD or even more for a concert, I have paid for my right to make a judgement call on whether it was worth my money or not.

Musicians and songwriters who hide behind ministry as an excuse to make bad music are not doing the gospel any favors. if anything our work should be scrutinized all the more because we are attaching the name of Christ and the credibility of His message to our work.

All in all I don't believe there should even be a Christian music industry. It just invites this kind of thing. It creates a ghetto mentality and focuses us inward instead of outward toward a world that needs to know who God is. The fact that "Praise & Worship" is now a genre of music makes my skin crawl. Instead, let Christians compete with their "secular" counterparts in the world. If their music is good enough they will get heard. If not, they can "minister" locally in the church. What it boils down to is this: Whose name are we trying to make famous anyway?


Thanks for these thoughts. I may use your doctor example and that final sentence in my article.
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quote:
Originally posted by Jerry Davison


All in all I don't believe there should even be a Christian music industry.


---I'm not Terry either...

I wonder how many of us who visit this site out of our affection for T. Taylor and the like would have ever even heard of Daniel Amos without the "christian music industry." If I'm not mistaken, until the advent of this web site, I've never purchased or found a Daniel Amos CD anywhere but a "christian" book store (other than an occasional disc at a used CD shop). Though, I have seen Lost Dogs discs at general market stores at times.

Would Daniel Amos ever have progressed beyond their humble country western beginnings...no Da, no Swirling Eddies...no Dr. Edward Daniel Taylor?

Would this logic carry to festivals as well? Eliminate the "christian" festivals and let the bands with a "christian" bent attach themselves to secular festivals. I think of all of the great memories from the Cornerstone Festivals of my youth. The exposure that I had to bands that weren't very commercially viable outside of the "christian" community: The 77s, Charlie Peacock, DA, the Choir, etc... I think it highly unlikely, that those bands would have received the kind of nation wide attention they received sans the "christian" festival, "christian" radio, "christian" print media, or"christian" retail.

I doubt that much if any of the T. Taylor music I enjoy so much would have made it w/o the CCM industry to foster it along to a degree, especially in pre-internet times.

To the point of the original email in this thread, I think that people within the christian community should be more willing to accept helpful criticism from one another, without feeling like a "ministry" is being attacked...nor should we prop up poor talent (be it artistic or otherwise) with the tent pegs of "ministry," and not expect to receive criticism. But let's not throw the baby out with the bath water.

-jolly

This post has been edited 3 time(s), it was last edited by jollyholiday: 03-22-2007 14:08.

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I'm wondering if anyone has been in it for the ministry since Keith Green and Rich Mullins died.

Remember when Keith was giving his records away if someone couldn't afford one?

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That sounds like such a cop-out to me... "it's a ministry so you have to give me a good review."

I certainly respect the artists that say that their music is their ministry... but, they can't avoid the fact that their "ministry" is also music. Music is an artform and all artforms are subject to personal taste and opinion. It also raises the question... if a music ministry is bad music, is it still a good ministry?

I've never been big on caring what regular reviewers think about CDs.. I'd rather hear what other fans think. That feeling is reinforced every time I read a review that begins "I don't listen to this band, but..." or "I don't normally like this kind of music..." But, if someone is putting out a CD for people to purchase, there should be some way for potential purchasers to read the pros and cons of the product before they purchase - whenever possible.

Thats actually why we've always collected as many reviews as we can for each title - even negative ones.. we just feel like people should be able to read something about the product. It's a little hard with new titles because there are no published reviews yet - but thats why we set up the "CD and DVD reviews" section of the message boards.. so that, at the very least, fans could give their opinions for other fans to read.

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quote:
Originally posted by jollyholiday
quote:
Originally posted by Jerry Davison


All in all I don't believe there should even be a Christian music industry.


I wonder how many of us who visit this site out of our affection for T. Taylor and the like would have ever even heard of Daniel Amos without the "christian music industry." If I'm not mistaken, until the advent of this web site, I've never purchased or found a Daniel Amos CD anywhere but a "christian" book store (other than an occasional disc at a used CD shop). Though, I have seen Lost Dogs discs at general market stores at times.


It's all specualtion and "what if" but I believe an artist of Terry's superior talent would have surfaced eventually without the Christian music market. I believe the main reason you don't see Terry or DA's music in the "secular" marketplace is precisely because it has been labeled "Christian music." Who knows? Had he and other artists who are believers come up through the mainstream music industry, they may be much more influential than they are now.

But I take your point. As a young teenager looking for music to encourage my faith, the CCM scene and the local Christian bookstore made it easier to find these artists. However, at the same time, it has never been exactly supportive of those artists who make music outside of the mainstream radio pop variety. Not to mention those who ask the tough questions or deal with sensitive matters of the heart. But they will stock every Point of Grace CD ever made! Smile
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just don't anybody post any negative reviews on new projects here, well at least for maybe 6 months or something because it will affect sales

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quote:
Originally posted by Mountain Fan
just don't anybody post any negative reviews on new projects here, well at least for maybe 6 months or something because it will affect sales


now that is the mf that i know..... Tongue Pleased

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Theres also several differing perspectives on why or for who an artist makes music. Some artist may have a calling to reach the unsaved, some may have a calling to minister to the church itself, and some may just make music because they like to. I think when it comes to reviews especially in the Chritsian market, you almost have tyo keep this consideration.

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quote:
Originally posted by Mountain Fan
just don't anybody post any negative reviews on new projects here, well at least for maybe 6 months or something because it will affect sales


Its an unfortunate truth.

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Have we ever deleted a single negative review? No.

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Roll Eyes

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This post has been edited 1 time(s), it was last edited by Strange Animal: 03-22-2007 16:26.

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What? There has been negative reviews and/or comments posted about everything that DA, the 77s, and the Dogs have released in the last 10 years (in some cases, Ad nauseam)... and it's all still here. Heck, you just pulled up a three old thread criticizing Terry for making too many EPs... Roll Eyes

So there is no confusion... what we have asked folks to do in the past is simply not focus on every little negative thing once something is released. That can be hurtful to sales for the wrong reasons - probably not even the intended result of the reviewer. For example, when Via Chicago was first released, there was an unusual number of people spending an unusual amount of time criticizing it for 5 seconds of "train footage." Not only is that unnecessary negative advertisement over something that I would say doesn't even deserve to be mentioned at all, it's also all people were talking about for a while. I think I can speak for DA, the 77s, the Dogs, Lo-Fidelity, The Choir, etc, etc when I say when a new project is released - we can't wait to hear what everyone thinks. But, if the only feedback we receive is "I don't like the color of a tiny part of the back cover" or something like that.. it can feel like people are ignoring the project as a whole and going out of their way to find something unimportant to criticize which is a major disappointement to all of us.

It's also disappointing to see people try to discourage others from buying something.. which we have experienced in the past. That should never be happening on a bands website among their "fans."

A good review should focus on the project as a whole.. whats good and whats bad about it (if anything).. it should not focus on 5 seconds of unimportant footage, the color of text, or the type of font used . Those are the kinds of comments we try to discourage right as something is released. If its a published review, everyone knows anything goes. Theres no control over that.. but as fans, it seems like people should be more willing to balance their reviews with a reasonable view of the good and bad - if anything. We're also highly suspicous of any "fan" that suggests that people shouldn't buy a certain album because they don't like it (or even that they *think* they won't like it).. what kind of fan encourages other fans not to buy that bands music?

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quote:
Remember when Keith was giving his records away if someone couldn't afford one?


I've seen Michael Pritzl do this. Say what you want about him, but I was pretty impressed when I witnessed this. And, conversely, the trading that occurs which our favorite bands allow is pretty ministry and message minded to me, too.

As far as CCM goes...
I don't have a problem with some of it, but a lot of it seems to be an adventure in missing the point. And besides Tooth and Nail/Solid State, most Christian labels don't push their bands in the secular market at the beginning of their career, which, in theory, might be a better way to do some outreach ministry. How about a Christian label that makes music for the secular market? It would have to be darn good and relevant. And that there is even a debate about the appropriateness of negative reviews gives you a clue at how the CCM industry and culture has propped up mediocrity.

And, finally, I think Terry might have been more well-known if he started secularly. But, maybe that wasn't what God had in mind.

Phew! I need a break, some lemonade and 4HIM on my stereo! Cool

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