Go Ahead. Ask me!

Over the past few months, I've had interviews with several different churches for positions in youth ministry and/or Christian education. This post isn't really about that, but I wanted to let you know I'm jobless and that you should pity me, unless, of course, you are also jobless. In that case, we should commiserate. Or, if you're a church that's hiring, you should check me out. I'm thoughtful and articulate. Anyway, on with it.

Most of the questions interviewers ask are pretty standard fare (as is to be expected).

"Describe your call into Christian ministry."

"What is your vision of youth ministry?"

"How would you recruit and train volunteers?"

There are other questions that could only be adequately answered after weeks or months of thought and would be most effectively expressed in writing (maybe 5-10 typed pages), but that I am expected to answer on the spot in five minutes or less. Then there are the clever questions: the ones that seem deep, but really offer little to no insight into me as a person, employee, or minister. Some questions, though, make me think not only during the interview, but for a long time afterward. For the most part, it's the questions that seem most innocuous that have this effect on me.

During one of my recent interviews, a fellow asked a question of the latter variety: "What kind of music do you like?" I think it was meant to be a throwaway, something to lighten the mood.

It wasn't until after I'd insulted country music, divulged my love of bluegrass, and listed a few of my favorite Indie groups, singer-songwriters, and artists popular in the 1960s and 1970s that I realized it was a trick. Okay, he wasn't really trying to trick me, but he was definitely looking for a specific answer.

After a moment's silence, he looked at me (or my image on the computer screen) and asked, "What about contemporary Christian music?"

*Gulp*

I think the next words out of my mouth may have put at least one nail in the coffin of any hopes I'd had of working with these good folks. Perhaps I shouldn't have been such an elitist prig...

"I prefer not to listen to music that's marketed to a captive audience. Too many Christian groups are successful because parents won't let their kids listen to or good church folk feel guilty listening to or buying anything not labeled 'Christian.'  And, unfortunately, much music labeled Christian is a sub-par imitation of other music."

*Silence*

I know this is not a new rant. Every audiophile Christian and her brother has told us that music bearing the label Christian is (far too often) bland, uncreative pap (just like so-called Christian art - but that's a whole other issue). So, anyway, I won't get into that. What I'd like to do is offer some beautiful, honest, creative music written and/or sung by Christians who didn't take advantage of a religious label to boost sales. And I'd like to thank that fellow, who may or may not have intended to make me think for weeks after hearing his question. This one's for you!

Enjoy!




Please offer some of your own suggestions. I love to find new music or be reminded of great old stuff!
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