Making music, following Christ

There seem to be more and more Christians who have been able to perform their art in the mainstream circuit. By mainstream, I just mean that their music is played for a broader audience and is promoted for the masses in more of a secular venue. I think this is awesome, though I may not have said this six years ago.

Kevin Embleton (middle) along with band mates (left to right) John King, Matt Kurtz, Nate Netti, Dave Judy. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Embleton).

When the word on the street was “Relient K sold out!” I didn’t really know what to think, except that some form of righteous anger was in order. They said that they were Christian guys in a rock band. I didn’t really understand the point. After all, weren’t we supposed to stand out from other musicians? The same thing happened to Switchfoot around the same time. I still liked their music, though. In fact, I liked it even more. I still liked their lyrics, but everyone seemed to have something against them. It was as if they had somehow betrayed the church.

Self-righteous anger turned into understanding as the years went by. Whether or not you think Relient K or Switchfoot sold out is your own prerogative. They were able to do something that most musicians only dream of doing, but they had to first understand several key concepts. They understood, in the words of my band mate Nate Netti, that “Christianity and music are two autonomous things.” They must first work independently of each other before they can be interdependent.

Christianity never required music for salvation or day-to-day practice. Nor did God only give Christians the ability to make good, uplifting music. God instilled in us the ability to create, and music is an outpouring of this gift. He does not dictate that every song be written about his Son. Music can be an outpouring of one’s faith, the beauties and hardships of life–the journey. This freedom allows music to be heard and accepted on a broader scale because music is for everyone. These labels of “Christian” and “secular” serve only to confine and restrict.

Jon Foreman of Switchfoot asserts that the moment we use our music to sell our faith, or our faith to sell our music, we have lost sight of what being a Christian and a musician means. Coming to this understanding has been paramount for my development as a musician and in my faith.

I am a musician. I am a writer. I am a student of theology. I am a believer. I could be a student of theology but not be a believer. I could be a well trained classical musician yet not have the ability to compose or put words to music. Music would exist in my life even if I weren’t a believer. The fact that I am a believer influences how I write and my motivation behind why I do what I do.

I am often asked if I play in a Christian band, to which I reply, “no.” A Minor Bird consists of a brotherhood rooted in Christ. We write music that is a reflection of our lives in hopes that through vulnerability and transparency we can build lasting relationships with people across faiths and around the world.

Kevin Embleton is a contributing writer to The Aviso.

Categories: Opinion

3 replies »

  1. Kevin your thoughts run in the stream of excellence. Hold the ground your on, keep moving forward, and don’t look back. We are light, and we are meant to shine in the dark. A candle has little effect in a room already full of light. But put it in the dark and it becomes a beacon for the lost who wander. Shine for Him!


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