In the evangelical world though, it was expected that the bands had evangelical reasons for whatever we did…. But really, we were all just playing the way we enjoyed playing, inspired by and building on the work of those who were already playing that way. We said that a lot, but some folks still kept wanting to paint it as a calculated evangelical strategy. Oh well, OK… My, what brilliant evangelical strategists we all were!
-Ric Alba of 80’s evangelical punk band The Altar Boys, in an interview.
The Altar Boys – Against the Grain
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m writing my thesis on Contemporary Christian Worship Music, so I’ve become both knowledgeable and opinionated on the topic. I like Alba’s quote because it really confronts the language of “strategy” that evangelism has become so couched in – everything is discussed as though its the latest marketing move by a business. If this all seems unfair, why not check out seminal megachurch Willow Creek Community Church’s fall catalog?
There’s this weird way that this language is trying to keep the “business” of the church both legitimate and separate from its “spiritual” goals. In that way, Christianity could unproblematically appropriate punk – because, hey, it’s the same message. And we need to convert punks too, right?
By the way, check the interview with Alba out – it’s interesting. Alba came out in the 90s and cut his ties with the evangelical world.