Ryan Tedder on Christian Recording Artists

I had no idea who Ryan Tedder was before reading a piece on him and his band in last Thursday’s Houston Chronicle.

Tedder heads up the band OneRepublic whose single Apologize is apparently a big hit.

Chronicle reporter Joey Guerra’s piece is basically a Q&A between him and Tedder.

In it is revealed that Tedder was raised in a family of missionaries and pastors and is a Christian.

This is that part of the interview,

Q: You were raised by an extended family of missionaries and pastors. Has that played into your music?

A: I got offered a Christian record deal. I’m Christian, I grew up in the church. But I’m not going to tour churches. I was raised in Oklahoma. Tulsa’s like the buckle of the Bible Belt. I grew up in that environment. I was in Nashville for two years, (and) I quickly became friends with probably half a dozen of some of the biggest Christian recording artists. Every single one of them was absolutely miserable with the fact that they were “Christian” recording artists. I saw some stuff in Nashville that turned my stomach. Some of the most pretentious, insecure people I ever met were Christian recording artists.

(emphasis mine)

Pretentious? Insecure? Ouch, I do wonder how accurate these comments are.

How do you feel about so-called Christian music?

[I wonder if Local H (if they’re still around) will write a song including the line, “If I was Ryan Tedder Would you like me any better?”]

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Everlast Lyric and those Judgmental Christians

And then she heads for the clinic and she gets some static walkin’ through the doors
They call her a killer, and they call her a sinner, and they call her a whore.
–Everlast from “What it’s Like”

This song by former House of Pain member Everlast was huge back in my college days. No doubt about it the tune is catchy and well vastly different from anything that came from Everlast during his House of Pain days (wincingly I recall dancing to “Jump Around”).

When I first heard the song I was not a Christian and naturally assumed that Everlast was referring to them in the lyric above (the girl in the song is going to get an abortion). After all I was certain that all Christians were about, was looking down their collective noses at all the sinners right?

How could I not think that when the villain in one of my favorite movies, “The Shawshank Redemption”, was a hypocritical prison warden who had the Bible in one hand while laundering money with the other. Then there was the religious fanatic of another favorite of mine, “Se7en”.

It’s easy to set up caricatures of people you are naturally inclined to dislike, and who naturally likes those who are proclaiming that the only way to realize our purpose is to die to self and to live for God?

Unfortunately, many Christians (or at least those professing to be so) give folks plenty of ammunition to formulate and nourish this stereotype. Admittedly, in my worst moments I will do so as well, only to go rushing back to seek God’s forgiveness for besmirching the Name of His Son.

Speaking of whom, there is something Jesus said which is a favorite of people who dogmatically hold that Christians are nothing but hypocrites,

“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” — John 8:7

Of course this is defensively cited anytime Christians assert that some particular vice is prohibited by God. The list of vices seems to shrink with the passage of time, and one can only wonder when people will start killing their children because they’re an inconvenience, oh that’s right, they call that choice.

When such people cite Jesus I’m sure they have the best intentions but it seems to me that they take the phrase out of context (I did) and omit the last thing Jesus told the adulterous woman, who was being treated unfairly and thus led Jesus to make the above statement.

Here’s what happened after Jesus uttered the bit about casting stones,

Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court.

Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?”

She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either Go From now on sin no more.”]

Yes, Jesus did not condemn her, leaving us the model for treating the “adulterous woman” of our times (like the girl in the Everlast lyric). Yet Jesus, while not condemning, told her “From now on sin no more”.

I wonder if the omission by the good-intentioned folk mentioned above is on purpose?