Monday, December 15, 2003

I see God in The Wall 

Or, why you can still listen to Christian rock.

I know, a little off my topic, but when Northern Alliance partner Shot In The Dark decided to discuss why he dislikes Christian rock, my first reaction was South Park. (My first reaction to everything is South Park.) But I think there's a good point made by Mitch, and more than the Infinite Monkeys' claim that authentic gospel is equivalent to good Christian. One doesn't just have to listen to the soundtrack from O Brother Where Art Thou? to get the point either (though that's darn good.)

The point is that you're not so interested in what is being played but how it's being played. I've heard Isaac Stern describe playing the violin -- this was my instrument in my youth, though I later switched to bass to play rock and meet girls -- as an expression of how to play the violin. Chess is the same way; a beautiful game of chess feels as if the hands of God have created the story and moved the pieces subject only to His will and not man's rules of the game. It is the Concerto of Deliverance that begins Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged:

She sat listening to the music. It was a symphony of triumph. The notes flowed up, they spoke of rising and they were the rising itself, they were the essence and the form of upward motion, they seemed to embody every human act and thought that had ascent as its motive. It was a sunburst of sound, breaking out of hiding and spreading open. It had the freedom of release and the tension of purpose. It swept space clean, and left nothing but the joy of an unobstructed effort. Only a faint echo within the sounds spoke of that from which the music had escaped, but spoke in laughing astonishment at the discovery that there was no ugliness or pain, and there never had had to be. It was the song of an immense deliverance.
Like God, music delivers you from the mundane, transcends the earthly. At times it's been Mark Knopfler's guitar, Stern's violin, Bill Evans' piano, Coleman Hawkins' sax, Allison Krauss singing Down the River to Pray, or the spine tingling of watching The Wall torn down on stage. Sometimes it's Christian rock without you knowing it, or like my son, not caring that P.O.D. was decidedly Christian, or Evanescence once was. Just as the fact that Creed -- which I think was the inspiration for South Park -- is Christian but sucks, not because it's Christian but because I can't stand the guy's voice.

And believe me, you hear it more in live music than on a CD, so go out and support your local musician, wherever you are. God might dwell there that night, just as He did when Richard Halley whistled his concerto to Dagny Taggert.* You never know.

*--Yes, I understand Rand's atheism.