Thursday, April 21, 2011

#214 The Dove Awards

If a Christian tree wins a Dove Award in the forest and only Christian trees are there to hear it, did it make a sound?

The Dove Awards are Christian culture’s version of the Grammys. Grammy Awards are given to secular artists and Dove Awards are given to musicians in the Christian music industry®. But as we’ve discussed in previous posts, when Christian culture makes their own version of something secular it turns out a bit gimpy. It kind of hobbles around like a clone of a clone of a clone.

If people within Christian culture think the quality is inferior, they don't say it out loud. But non-Christians are baffled by the quality and content of contemporary Christian music. My atheist friend said today, “I just never understood why contemporary Christian music has this weird slick sheen over just always sounds so sterile and soulless. Seems like an odd way to express spiritual hunger. Jars of Clay should be called Plastic Jugs of Urethane.”

Sometimes Grammy and Oscar winners refuse their awards because they don't believe in ranking beauty and art. Maybe that is more spiritual than Christian culture award ceremonies. Because in the kingdom of heaven, my worship song about God is no better than anyone else’s song about God, because in the end it is about God, right...? Why are they ranking and awarding each other?

This is a Sears commercial, right? Not professional enough to be JCPenney, but A for effort, gang.


Meghan said...

I admittedly thought the Dove Awards were for acceptance of women's bodies in all shapes. Um. Yeah. I thought it was to do with the soap company.

Unknown said...

Hah, Jars of Clay is the only Christian band I still listen to because they aren't the shallow, cliched, boring kind of band like everyone else. Their lead singer has been talking about the inspiration for some of their older songs over at The entries for Portrait of an Apology and Whatever She Wants are particularly good.

stephy said...


Ryssa said...

Haha, Jars of Clay is one of the few Christian bands I still listen to, also. I got no hate.

I agree about the Dove Awards though. Even at the height of my involvement in CC, I don't think I ever watched it, because it was boring and lame. And perhaps also because we rarely ever had a TV that got more than 3 channels.

guy said...

So what about bands that a clearly Christian in content but don't embrace the label "Christian band"? Is it a desire not to be associated with this poorly fabricated and strained sub-culture? Or is it just another gimmick?


Unknown said...

And I see he posted an entry on Tea & Sympathy were he talks about getting drunk in France. So that happened.

Zachery said...

Jars of Clay made 3 good albums - before they were "Christian", or labeled as such.

Honestly, your blog has hit the nail on the head so many times you've driven the nail through the center of the earth.

Although I have to say, I'm still an evangelical Baptist, but all of this is so true.

Kari Ann said...

Well, if CCM is a crappy, 5-year-delayed imitation of mainstream music, it only seems fitting that there should be an award ceremony dedicated to it. And really, comparing the Grammys and the Dove Awards is like comparing the Olympics to the Special Olympics.

KarenM in NC said...

There's a church here in Charlotte, Mecklenburg Community, that is heavily promoting the group "Need to Breathe" as their Easter entertainment tomorrow. Their venue is the rather intimate Verizon Amphitheater with 18,000+ seats.

The church sent out an e-mail yesterday that this group had won an award as part of the 42nd Dove Awards.

I don't know what part of their Easter service is more compelling: "Need to Breathe" or the multiple moon bounce houses!

stephy said...

They've got to compete with Elevation Church's 3-D Furtick Fest somehow!

KarenM in NC said...

Definitely a battle of the churches here in Charlotte for Easter while so many are homeless and hungry.

Chrissy said...

There is a reason they were not nominated for actual Grammy's. Jesus is not that reason.

Cassie said...

The "Dove" awards. I mean, I assume the title is inspired by the whole Holy-Spirit-descending-like-a-Dove thing? Just kinda odd. Never was a big fan of JOC. Basically all I listened to during high school was Christian Contemporary (oh yeah, I was a "good girl" not listening to any of that "worldly" music!) and I can't stand it anymore. Just about the only band I'll still voluntarily listen to is Switchfoot.

sarah.hennagin said...

yeah, if we're gonna hate on bad Christian music Jars doesn't really seem like the most obvious place to start. There are plenty of easier targets...

I agree that the whole idea of ranking and recognition seems to be in conflict with Christian values. I'm also terribly curious about what the qualifications are for consideration in the Dove awards in the first place. Is it just based on music label? Do they have to pass some other test?

Annabelle said...

A friend is just breaking into the CC music industry. I hear tell that in Nashville most of the CC artists don't even like the Dove awards and it's most likely on its way out.

Billy said...

Ya know Steph, I'm surprised no one has brought up Steve Fee's 4 year long affair that was brought to light last year. Don't know if he ever won a Dove, but he was the leading worship writer for a while. Seriously though, I'd like to know if he confessed first or if he got busted. Knowing that goes a long way in showing the sincerity of the remorse, IMO.

Hollan said...

Christian music comes off plastic and soulless because they have to try so hard to censor their content. What will an Omnipotent Being approve of? What will He disapprove of? The pressure of these weighted questions confuse and re-focus the potentially good musician on WWJD? (or sing about?) instead of their own creative power (because it's just so secular to do anything creative that isn't entirely for the glory of God) and the result sucks the life out of anything interesting the artist might produce. Constrained and flat creativity at its finest. And that just works so well, doesn't it? Express yourself, sure - but only within these boundaries. Bah.

Jeff Pulice said...

wow. I was going to comment on 4 blog posts on this ONE PAGE, but here, I just gotta. You summed up everything I love about this blog. Ranking the devotion to God in a song.
and rejecting Rachel for O-LIE-lly, an all the rest. You are awesome.

Yo merengues said...

My two cents: If "normal" christian music gets you bored, check out Woven Hand. Their music tend to fall outside of all those plastic cliches.

Great Blog Stephy!

JDM929 said...

My dad plays Christian radio a lot, though thankfully only the music. Some of them are thinly veiled ripoffs of "secular" songs that I'm surprised the original band doesn't sue.

Patricia said...

So, I'm a Christian, and I've started telling my Christian friends that I don't like Christian music, and that I shut down or stare out the window. I love the reactions: blank stare, shifting uncomfortably, visibly nervous like they're not sure how to react. One person said "That's fine, you're just not into music, right?" (LOL wrong) Another person got defensive and asked if it was OK that THEY listened to Christian music, as if I was criticizing their taste in music. Yet another person said "That's so weird!"

My husband says I'm brave, and is equally amused at the reactions. He calls it a reaction to a taboo. I suppose it is.

I'll ease them into WHY I don't like it when they get used to the fact.

Patricia said...


"Shut down or stare out the window during worship at church"

paul said...

Many Christians are into awards and ranking... it's one of the few things they actually have, but the whole process can be kinda confusing. Lets see: "the first shall be last..." but only on earth. In heaven there's a big feast, and the really good people get to sit next to Jesus. If you were a bad Christian and accepted your award on earth, well, you "have your reward," and you'll probably have to serve tables in heaven... which would make you the "first" because the "first shall be last and the last shall be first." Does it all make since now?

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Amy said...

I heard a song on the rock radio station recently and loved it. It was hard in a way that rock hasn't been in a while. Then I got their album and heard lyrics that sounded..different. Not explicitly Christian, but different from regular rock. I looked them up on Wikipedia and found they're on a Christian label.
So, I'll give a point to Christian music.

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