Pollyanna

Pollyanna

noun

1.an excessively or blindly optimistic person.

adjective

2.(often lowercase). Also, Pollyannaish. unreasonably or illogically optimistic:

Not long ago a well-known singer (Bono) commented in an interview wondering, “why so many themes found prominently in the Psalms—like hubris, rage, tears, searching—are missing in modern Christian music.” 

I saw his comment after it was posted on Facebook as well as another comment that I had to smile about that came after it that said, “Clearly he has a very narrow song list.”

How very true.

For me, the subject of Christian music is very much connected to some of the central issues within the modern church. For 30 plus years I have watched this play out and I have seen the fruit that has born out of the actions of many. I have listened to the stories of many artists of the past as well as many of the most recent.

Young artists with some measure of talent are quickly promoted with their names on public banners for the world to see. They are patted on the back, congratulated and told to keep producing more songs like the last one that sells. So in an effort to pay the bills and have that nice car, they feed the machine. And the machine keeps feeding the public bright and fun songs that make very little references to walking out real life when everything goes’s wrong.

Then as time passes by this continual presentation becomes the accepted norm of Christian music. People like Bono assume that is what there is because it’s what in front of them. Not realizing that you need to look beyond what the world is showing you. The invasion of the popular music has now invaded even the worship writers minds for a decade or two now. As a result, the music meant for pondering and reflection of the soul becomes something to pander to the nations for money and personal glory.

Pander

1. a person who furnishes clients for a prostitute or supplies persons for illicit sexual intercourse; procurer; pimp.

As a result of this many churches now have and promote a “Pollyanna” mindset. It has affected our personal theology and built a foundation for twisted versions of the “prosperity gospel” that the church now hands out to the crowds like candy. This, in turn, seems to bare the fruit of Hubris in their lives that Bono made mention of.

Hu·bris

noun

1. excessive pride or self-confidence.

2. arrogance, conceit, haughtiness, hauteur, pride, self-importance, egotism, pomposity, superciliousness, superiority;

{Now don’t get me wrong, God does overwhelmingly bless many people with serious funds for the Kingdom, It’s Biblical. But the key here is, it’s for the Kingdom, not you. Look at those who promote this teaching, examine the fruit of their lives. If you have eyes to see and ears to hear what do you find in front of you. Does it make you concerned, or do you want to be like them, and if so why?}

In the not very popular corners of Christian music, you will find singers and worshipers laying out their hearts in rage and heartbreak over many issues similar to the Psalms. Like;

  • Tiffany Arbuckle Lee of Plumb singing about a disintegrating marriage or the personal death of a small child.
  • Amy Grant singing the song, “Shovel in hand.” A song about her son burying a close friend who died.
  • Leeland – Follow you, I wonder, Tears of the Saints.
  • Margaret Becker – Look me in the eye, Coins, and Promises.
  • The Kry- I’ll find you there.
  • Geoff Moore – The vow.
  • Brandon Heath – Your Love
  • Rich Mullins – Brothers Keeper
  • Mercy Me – Homesick
  • Fireflight – Recovery Begins.
  • Tenth Avenue North – Losing.
  • Red – Start again.
  • Misty Edwards – You won’t relent.
  • Newworldson – Homeless child.
  • Burlap to Cashmere – Anybody out there?
  • Lacey Sturm – Impossible, Rot, (all of the Life Screams album)

These songs and many, many like them do not promote a Pollyanna life. If anything they help to cause you to reflect and think about you, your world and God’s faithfulness in it.

Why don’t we hear more music like this?

There are several reasons, number one is because reflection hurts and in our Pollyanna theology of no pain. These concepts are often foreign to our soul.

Second would be money. Songs like this often don’t sell well.

Third would be the biggest, a lack of true creativity. Worship and Songwriters are often entrapped in the thinking that Christian music is dull and flat so they often spend hours listening to the world’s music.  True creativity comes from your soul’s interaction with the Holy Spirit. From that vantage point, clarity of Vision brings new colors and sounds. Rocks speak of the Glory of God and humbleness of a broken person is seen as victors before the throne.

But due to bad teaching or the lack of any teaching at all, we wallow with the pigs in lesser forms of music allowing it to soak into our souls like pollution. Question; can a high-performance sports car really run well on old low-grade gas?

Sure some songs can be “redeemed” as some writers have done. Citing the examples of how old church hymns were taken from even older bar songs as an example of their right to do this. But consider the stage the church was in those days. Maybe, could it be that was the best the Lord could do with an immature body that was still trying to figure out what Grace was? And that He is now giving out a Higher call these days to come up here with him, Holy before the throne to listen to new sounds?

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