When Larry Norman sang Why Should the Devil Have all the Good Music
in the seventies he was fighting back against a religious world-view that said music could not be ‘Christian’ unless it was played on an organ and written in old English.
Which is not to say there’s not some great music in that genre, but when it came to Christian rock, Larry was proclaiming it was time to hear some music which was ‘good’ in its own right. And the message it carried would be lifted as well:
“I ain’t knockin’ the hymns, just give me a song that has a beat.
I ain’t knockin’ the hymns, just give me a song that moves my feet”
I can still hear Larry’s nasally voice in my mind when I read those words…
Anyway, time has moved on and there is plenty of good Christian music, in fact arguably, contemporary Christian music, musicians, songwriters and singers breath much-needed life into rock, soul, R & B and all kinds of music every day.
We are still waiting to see the same commitment to artistic imagination and excellence in the realm of film and literature but there are plenty of people trying. Which is sometimes the problem.
And now a Sydney Morning Herald blog writer has opened up a whole new area of discussion with the question, “why are Christian games so often so bad?”
Now I’m not really a big fan of computer gaming – mainly on the principle that there are games that you can play for 80 hours a week for the rest of your life and never come to an end… and there are too many people trying to accomplish this.
But Ash Walmsley’s blog tackles the whole arena of faith and culture via reference to gaming (having arena and via in the same sentence is a nice Roman touch I think, they liked their games too…)
“Joshua Topolsky, founding editor in chief of The Verge writes for the Washington Post about his recent trip to E3. ‘Finally, one thing I found surprising and more than a little disappointing was the increase in graphic violence in games, as well as developers’ apparent inability to think of anything more than a gun to place in the hands of lead characters,” Topolsky wrote.
“‘There were a handful of games that explored a space outside the run-and-attack mechanics of many titles, but few tried to tell adult stories without gunshots and stabbings.’
“The world has become scared to acknowledge God. Do that, and you have to acknowledge sin and eventual judgement, which is as uncomfortable as the itchy, high-hitched trousers your mum used to make you wear to Sunday School. And yet we have greater acceptance in some areas, such as school chaplains being given the OK by the High Court (although the funding model needs a tweak).
“Could innovative, soul-searching, conscience nudging, mortality-facing games with Christian themes take gaming to another level? I shall be keeping my eyes on the Gamesmen catalogue to find out.”
Bad does get boring and once the rabid R-rated gaming fraternity wears itself out on its newly won ‘bound-freedoms’, perhaps they’ll even come looking for something more…
Read more of Ash Walmsely.
PS I love a line adaptation in Larry’s Youtube clip above: “Why should the devil have anything?”