A Conversation with Mark Heard
What should Christians write songs about?
"Songs dealing with truth, whether it is truth about God, about man, about the universe, whatever. Most Christians would say that the music should in some way glorify God. Obviously, one assortment of notes on the scale can't glorify God more than another. Neither can certain assortments of words. Most Christians seem to think the words themselves do the glorifying, because so many Christian songs contain theological words. If you are an up and coming Christian singer and you have to sing for a Christian audience, you'd better throw as many words like "saved" or "hallelujah" or "sweet Jesus" as you can, otherwise your spirituality will be discussed behind your back. But anybody can say the words.
Like Groucho says, 'Say the secret woid, the duck comes down, you win a hunnid dollas.'"
How can music glorify God?
"Music cannot; but people can. Glorifying God means that He really gets something out of what is being sung, regardless of what people think. It's the attitude of a singer or songwriter, it is important that Christian songwriters love God, but are free to write songs about anything they want to. He only has to answer to God for his choices, not other people. I like to write songs about things which cause me to glimpse the worth of God. Sometimes that might be the ocean, sometimes it is love for my wife, sometimes it can be absurdly simple things. After all, we shouldn't search for a spiritually symbolic rationalization for ever activity we enter into. It is not evil to enjoy a good laugh or a hike in the Sierras for what they are. The more we understand these "ordinary" things, the more we see that they are not ordinary at all, but great things, created as such and simply taken for granted by us to the point that we call them ordinary."
How can we as Christians communicate our faith to the world effectively?
"We must learn to understand the worldviews of those around us and not be so smug in our separatismm especially in education. We must understand why the world believes the things it believes. We must go beyond the point of simply confirming the sin of every man - we must get specific, and use our minds like never before. We must care for people. If we don't do these things, we can't really offer any good criticism in their eyes -- we will only continue to condescend. Any parrot or chimpanzee can mimic what is heard or seen, but we as Christians in the 80's need to learn how to think for ourselves. When we begin to see God's Truth as the actual TRUTH, not just as something we know because we wrote it down in our notebooks, we will be able to carry our faith on to its proper conclusions. We will learn how to really love God and our neighbors, and ourselves."
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