Christian Radio

During my morning drive to work it is my routine to soundly seer my conscience. I am a morning radio junkie, and I listen to Adam Carolla, Mancow Muller, and Bob and Tom. For the most part this is not a problem. Sometimes, however, perhaps more than I care to admit, the show I’m listening to unshackles the Id and ends up becoming an all out romp for the baser aspects of human existence. This then puts me in conflict between my desire to continue listening, and my sense that I am subjecting myself to influences that will have a negative affect on my soul.

Accounting for my actions at the surface level, I listen to these shows because they are entertaining, but deeper still I listen because they give me a sense of belonging. By tuning in I vicariously become a part of the banter between the hosts, co-hosts, and the various call-in listeners. In attempts to detoxify my soul, I have often tried to satisfy my desire for entertainment and belonging by listening to Christian radio, but it never quite hits the mark. Honestly, Christian radio seems scripted, overly polished, thoroughly commercial, and very sanitized. Moreover, I generally get the feeling that the hosts and co-hosts don’t have a genuine chemistry or connection with one another. It comes across as if they are emulating the formats and performances of secular radio, but try to make it Christian by stripping it of all the “ungodly” elements. In doing this, however, they remove the grit that characterizes authentic and genuine human existence.

If I am anywhere near the truth in my above assessment, then ironically Christian radio isn’t very Christian, since it misrepresents reality in some fashion. In its attempts to provide a clean version of what secular radio offers it falls short of genuine creativity, and it comes off as being disengaged from the real world. It’ as if Christian radio exists in an alternate universe that is closely parallel to the world, but doesn’t quite connect with it. In doing this, Christian radio also misrepresents Christ, who fully connected with and entered into our world by becoming fully human. Over the years, as I have thought about Jesus, and as I have made numerous changes in my understanding of him, I’ve found myself stumbling over his humanity more than his divinity. As a true human, Jesus was like us in every way, which means that he struggled, was tempted, and wrestled with his desires. In short, he was gritty. Of course, as a Christian, I believe he was righteous and gritty, that he was gritty without sin. It is this incarnational reality that should be the guiding principle of Christian radio, and I think if there was a radio station like this, Adam Carolla and those others wouldn’t be so tempting for me. Of course, this could all be just an elaborate and deluded self-justification for my fallen desires.

9 Responses to “Christian Radio”

  1. Chris "Lefty" Brown  

    Besides playing the awful music with it’s C.P.S. requirements (that’s Christs Per Second), the problem with Christian radio is that like everything else, it depends on money to run itself. So in order to please donors they have to play to their financial base, rich white conservative Christians. That’s why you’ll never EVER hear a Dj on the Christian radio bringing up a war protest or chatting about how funny last’s night Office was (It has a -SHOCK_ gay character).

    For me, I just listen to Air America in the morning.

    Last week I actually went into a Christian bookstore looking for cheap good music but couldn’t find either. And I had this overwhelming urge to start swearing: “Pardon me sir, I was was looking for this f-ing great CD by The Choir…but all I could find is this g-ddamn Caedomon’s Call.”

  2. Anthony Velez  

    I understand what you’re saying Chris, but I think you set yourself up for frustration. I mean, why should the Choir be in the cheap bins, particularly since it’s good music. Didn’t you say that they recently released a new disc. If so wouldn’t it be in the Christian Alternative section, or the recent releases? Actually, I’m sure you checked, and they didn’t have it, which reinforces your point that Christian culture seems to be shaped by the same forces that secular culture is shaped by, market forces, which is a cousin to Mammon,.. isn’t it?

  3. tom  

    Here in the Florida Bible belt Christian radio is beyond crap!!! First of all I know there are more than three artists making xstian music. I think Tony you are right to say that it’s a market thing. While supposedly Christian the inudstry is all about money making. The $ comes first. For some companies it’s about staying in business and for others it’s about shear profit. Either way I stoped going near xstian book stores years ago. Berean used to make me want to form a whip and turn over some tables. The result of the market driving this is that we lose out on so many good artists with real things to say. My buddy Jason Harwell runs a Non Profit recording label. I give him props for it, but it sure is the narrow path.

    As for morning Radio, I had to give up on the Bob and Tom types a long time ago. There’s something disconcerning about starting the day with multiple mentions of the word “penis”

  4. Anthony Velez  

    Tom, I recently gave upon morning radio as well. I was particularly prompted to do so in response to an episode where I heard an interview with a young lady who recently signed a deal with Hustler incorporated to embark on a porn movie career. Talk about theater of the mind. The things I listened to stirred my imagination in a way that I didn’t think was possible without visuals. At that point I figured it was time to make a change.

  5. Simon  

    I’ll start listening to Christian radio when someone is brave enough to say SHIT FUCK BOLLOCKS or WANKER on the air. That way they’ll offend away all the ‘Christians’ who write in a complain about shit, and make way for the people who actually might benefit from and enjoy the reality of what it means to be a Christian.

    I’m fed up of sanitized religion polished and put on a shelf for everyone to reach so high for. ‘Christians’ seem to be in a constant state of offendedness all the time. I can’t wait to get to heaven let me tell you. I’m going to sit by the front door and watch all the newly dead Christians come through the door and nearly drop dead in shock when they see that we’re all freakin naked up there where there’s no guilt or shame. It’s gonna be a balls out heaven where boobs, bums, dick and left nipples are all on display like we’re partying back in Eden! I’m hoping that this will so offend the ‘Christians’ that they’ll all bugger off so we can live free and be who we really are instead of having to mind our P’s and Q’s all the time. :-)

  6. Anthony Velez  

    Although I tend to watch my use of language since in my experience when I cuss it comes from a lack of self-control, the same lack of self-control which undermines my ability to truly love others, I can think of one instance where the word “sh*t” may be justifiable: “All our righteous acts are as a pile of steaming sh*t!” I realize that in Isaiah 64.6 this verse is commonly translated as “filthy rags”, but I once heard that the allusion in the original was to menstral rags, which if this is true, then certainly my translation is within semantic range of what this verse means: our rightousness is abhorrent to God.

    I certainly understand what you mean by the petty things that Christians can get hung up on. In fact if my life was placed under scrutiny I am sure alot of pettiness could be identified. However, you must remember, Simon, that the same ground that allows you to “sit by the front door” of heaven also allows all those offended Christians to come in. Of course your point was that they would be offended by our naked, eden-like existence and leave, which may be possible. But honestly, I think we all are gonna be offended by Jesus in some way, shape, or form, and that if we don’t turn away as a result, it will be because of his grace and goodness working on all our hearts.

  7. Simon  

    I don’t think swearing shows a lack of anything other than the imagination to come up with something better. Around these parts all the uneducated poor people say “fuck” all the time. I remember being shocked by how much people said it when I moved here (yes me!). But I realised that they weren’t really saying it to be ‘filthy mouthed’ but just because it’s a versitile word unlike any other and that they were simply either too lazy or to dim to find something less filthy to use in its place.

    Swearing doesn’t offend me as much as inaction does. For example I get mad when I see a person get all bent out of shape over something like swearing but then feel not a shred of guilt when they use and abuse the resources of this planet with reckless disregard for the future.

    I will stand with everyone in offence at swearing when we’ve rid the world of poverty and reversed the planatary damage we’ve done. Make no mistake though, I’m not condoning bad language. If my kid started to swear I’d encourage them to find more inteligent ways of emphasising their words.

    I think maybe thats why we don’t see much, if any, cussing in the Bible. Because the people who wrote the good book were writers and not uneducated low income folk from inner city Merseyside.

    As for heavenly nudity. I will be offended if God doesn’t give old people something to cover themselves with!

    (You might enjoy the Biblical curse generator too mate :-) )

  8. Anthony Velez  

    Your point about swearing and inaction really gets at one of the big problems of religious culture, and honestly one of the big problems of my own spiritual development. There is a disparity between the values of Christian culture and those values that appear to be primary in the Scriptures, those concerns that reveal the heart of God. I know that I constantly struggle with my materialistic bent, that by global standards I live in a materially blessed culture and that I have a very comfortable lifestyle, yet I can very easily complain about what I lack. This complaint comes from a kind of spiritual rot, yet it is not typically expressed in the Church’s prophetic voice. Rather, the Church too often gets bogged down in the culture wars, spending its energy on issues like prayer in schools, how to properly refer to the holidays, making sure there is a Republican majority in the house, decrying the latest Hollywood product, all to the neglect of weightier matters such a environmental degradation, or social injustice.

    As I think further upon this matter, my guess is that what really gets to you is the kind of smugness that Christian culture tends to project regarding moral matters. In many ways I share the values of conservative Christian culture, particularly when it comes to the ethics of the body, or sexual ethics, but I tend to distance myself from the social-political actions of many Christians because it doesn’t seem to come from a comprehensive concern for love and justice, but rather from fear or anger. It’s as if they are pissed off at losing cultural hegemony and that they are going to fight to get it back. Of course, I am not a very confrontational person by nature, so it could just be that such action works against my sensibilities.

  9. Simon  

    Christians trying to fight against modern culture walk hand in hand with Muslims doing the same. Perhaps if ‘they’ could grasp that (either group) they might quit it and just get on with the stuff they can affect!