Friday, January 20, 2006

Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? -Mark 8:18

I’ve just spent a little time checking out a site called Latter Day Soul, and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve been interacting electronically with Shawn, it’s owner and chief proponent, on various internet groups for quite a while. I really admire his commitment to the gospel and his passion for both delivering the good message, and for soul and hip-hop music as his delivery method.

In fact, he recently called me and some others to task for our own more passive response to what’s happening to morality in the media. It really made me think.

But as I was checking out his site, my mind was reflecting on an interesting phenomenon that I’ve experienced as I’ve been working on my music.

In the LDS popular arts, there’s a very strong dichotomy that makes it very difficult to get your work in the eyes and ears of people who might enjoy it. On the one hand, members of the church preach to avoid the evil media of the world, and on the other hand, they reject the media produced by the church members.

The reasons are many. Some say that church art is bad. Syrupy, unreal, preachy. I agree. Some of it is. Much of it is. Even most of it. But just because I have to search a little more to find the stuff I like is, in my opinion, no reason to reject the whole lot.

Some say it is blasphemous. That it’s people making money off the gospel, or that gospel topics shouldn’t be carried in popular art forms. This reasoning frustrates me, because I hear this from people who frequent the worldly popular arts. Is a bad song by an immoral artist somehow less blasphemous? Is a PG-13 movie by Hollywood better than a Mormon PG-13 movie.

But there you have it. In many cases we’re too righteous for the world, and too worldly for the righteous. Will that stop us? I hope not! I’ll keep making music, anyway…

Mark Hansen

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