In an effort to keep my writing structured, I've decided to blog at least three times a week. Mondays will be Monday Morning Musings, Wednesdays will be a part of Life: Unmasked, and Fridays will be The Friday Five. I hope this works.
This may come as a surprise to most of my readers, but I'm actually a huge Johann Sebastian Bach fan. Yes, I still love my hipster indie folk, but there's nothing like relaxing on a crisp autumn day while drinking a pumpkin latte and listening to the Brandenburg Concertos! Plus, as a Lutheran, Bach kinda comes with the territory, along with the Small Catechism and Book of Concord.
The interesting thing about Bach is how prolific he was. Not only did he do string concertos and keyboard pieces, but he also composed some of the best worship music ever written: "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," "Sleepers Awake," "St. Matthew Passion," etc. And I can't help but wonder--did anyone criticize Bach for doing both secular and sacred music?
'Cause if Bach were alive today, I'm sure he'd frustrate CCM audiences! I can see it now. The fundamentalists would accuse Bach of selling out, and the hipster evangelicals would write endless articles for Relevant defending Bach's secular pieces.
Me, I honestly don't care. I think all music is spiritual, whether or not it's explicitly about God.
One of the most spiritual records I've ever heard is Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago, and it doesn't mention anything about God. But I don't think it needs to be about religion in order to be spiritual; the spirituality is in the record's emotional vulnerability. You can tell by the way Justin Vernon sings that he's reaching into the deepest part of his heart and confessing whatever pain he can find there. The spirituality comes from the catharsis.
What do you think? When it comes to music, do labels like "sacred" and "secular" mean anything?
4 weeks ago