I’m not a musician. But I would like to be. One of these days I’ll eventually get around to learning how to play an instrument. I finally managed to start updating a blog regularly, so this might actually be an achievable dream. Until then, I have Guitar Hero.
First released in 2005,Guitar Hero is a computer game that enables you to play along with some great rock tracks by hitting the right buttons at the right time on the guitar shaped control pad. It’s like being in a rock band, except with out all the hard work and talent.
And now there’s a Christian version on its way.
Guitar Praise is a new product from an outfit called Digital Praise. Players will be able to rock along to over 50 Christian praise songs by artists such as Newsboys, Relient K and dc Talk.
My question is: why does this game exist? Is it because there is a huge demand for music that belongs to the Christian music genre that it needs its own game (Like Guitar Hero: Rocks The 80s) or are there other factors at play?
I’m not a huge fan of Christian music. That’s mainly because I have rarely found any Christian music that interests me. A lot of the time I find what I do hear either a cheap knock off of a successful, secular band, or the music is so bland it’s not worth listening to. (Please note: I’m not ripping into every single Christian band out there. I have by no means sampled everything in the market. I’m sure there’s some good stuff out there. I do enjoy the work of several Christian bands. Just over all, I find the good stuff is the exception rather than the rule.)
Does Guitar Praise exist because of the Christian Bubble? Is it all part of an ideal that would see Christians completely separated from the secular world, giving them their own forms of entertainment so they won’t venture out into the big, bad world? If that’s the case, then I’m not on board. Sure, there are many things in this world that Christians should avoid. We shouldn’t be involved in anything that will lead us into sin. On the other hand, we still live in this world. We still need to be out there, taking a stand, making our presence known, bringing glory to God. We know that God uses us as his tools to bring people to him. Through our lives and through our proclamation of his glory, people come to salvation. If we hide ourselves away in our Christian ghettos, if we only do Christian things with Christian people, then we are being negligent in our duty to proclaim God to those who don’t know him. And part of that involves engaging with culture, finding out where people are at, and using that to pitch the gospel at them. We can’t do that living in the bubble.
Or could this be a form of idolization of those who lead worship at Church? I think I might be drawing a long bow here, but could it be that by putting yourself in the shoes of Church music team guitarist, that you are longing to be more like them than the one being praised? The same danger exists with Guitar Hero but the implications with a Christian game are more pronounced. I’m often told that one of the dangers being faced by Church musicians is that the praise and encouragements they get from the congregation can be a dangerous boost to the ego. Sure, it seems like most of the songs on this game are general Christian songs, rather than the Hillsong back catalogue, but you get the point.
Is Guitar Praise something we should be vigilant about and steer clear of, or am I just being a killjoy?
Written by Joel A Moroney
Associate Minister at St Luke’s Anglican Church, Liverpool, Australia