In my role as “pastor of the open mic,” I’ve been able to experience a number of really good artists. Because it’s often in a small environment, it tends to be acoustic-driven (which I like) and more personal (which I like as well). The artists tend to get there early and stick around after they play. Since they are much like church planters — trying to gain as many contacts as possible — I’ve had the opportunity to get to know many of them.
While it’s not true of all artists, there is a growing undertone of spirituality among younger artists in San Diego. It’s music with a message, and not the old worn-out “down with the machine” type of stuff. It’s about life, making choices, exploring mysteries, and wrestling with doubt. It’s sometimes subtle and sometimes not.
As a person of faith who believes in engaging culture rather than withdrawing from it, I find this to be encouraging. Art has a way of surfacing questions and conversations … questions and conversations that the church needs to be a part of if it is to speak to this generation. Unfortunately, we often find ourselves answering questions nobody is asking.
So what do we make of this resurgence in spiritual matters? On the one hand, we could easily dismiss it as too fuzzy and ill-defined. We could feel threatened because it’s not always from a Christian perspective. Or, and this is my preference, we can be confident in the power and veracity of our message and wade into the waters … starting with what we have in common.
A few artists
I’m not saying these artists classify themselves as “Christian artists,” but their music has spiritual underpinnings that are worth listening to.