Friday, March 25, 2011

Scott Hahn Rocks with Matt Maher

This is fun.


The Frat Pack + Me said...

Now I love Scott Hahn even more!!

Lady Caitie in the Pretty City said...

Same here! Wow! :) These are true rockstars!

joan said...

Hope they do not do this at the Holy Mass.

iPadre said...

Rock on, Scott Hahn!

allan alquinto said...

Amen! Jesus is Rock and Scott Hahn Rocks! My 8 year old son is going to the Franciscan University of Steubenville after high school;-)

Long Live The One True Church! Praise be to God The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!:)

George said...

This aping of Evangelical culture is killing Catholicism. Surely we can do better than this.

Brian J. Nelson - Composer said...

Without any personal criticism intended toward the theologians/performers involved, this is one of many examples of something that troubles me in the Church today.

On the one hand, we have very theologically orthodox people here (performers, theologian-performers and audience alike, I am quite sure). The words of the song reflect this, albiet in a very simplified form. However, the music itself (the actual sound in the air as a communication from performer to listener) is indistinguishable from Rock, with all of its sexual, industrial, and nihilistic connotations, not to mention its overwhelming volume. The “scene” in the room is also very difficult to distinguish from a typical rock concert (i.e. the darkness, smoke, many young people up on their feet, waving their hands to the music).

What concerns me about this trend, of which this particular event is merely one example, are the unacknowledged contradictory messages being sent: an orthodox, Catholic message in the words, and an utterly worldly one in the music itself. Indeed, the presence of a Christian text does little to negate what the music itself is saying.

To illustrate this point, I would ask the reader/listener this question: If you did not understand spoken/sung English or the written English on the projection screen, and you did not already know the song being sung as a “Christian” one, would you recognize this music as Christian?

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a classically trained, Catholic composer, steeped not only in chant but in the great musical tradition that has grown out of it during the past thousand years.

In light of this, I invite the reader to consider a statement from a far greater man than myself.

“Rock” [music]. . . is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship, in fact, in opposition to Christian worship. People are, so to speak, released from themselves by the experience of being part of a crowd and by the emotional shock of rhythm, noise, and special lighting effects. However, in the ecstasy of having all their defenses torn down, the participants sink, as it were, beneath the elemental force of the universe.”

~ Pope Benedict XVI

Can we really say that the “Christian Rock,” in the music itself, is communicating something substantially different, however pious the lyrics may be at a particular moment?

Friends, let us not so uncritically accept the artistic and musical presuppositions of our culture—importing them more or less wholesale into our entertainment and even our Liturgy—because it seems to stir up the faithful (especially the youth) in the short term. This is even more important when it comes to music, since it largely bypasses the rational faculties and goes “straight to the heart” (a subject for a separate post).

My prayers for your thoughtful consideration.

Brian J. Nelson – Composer

David said...

Brian--You bring up a great point I've struggled with myself. As a "rocker" I can understand what you, and the Pope, speak of. However, could it not also be argued that music without the context of words is just notes cobbled together? When assembled a "particular" way it's rock but strung together a different way it's chant. Does not country music also contain subversive words contrary to God's Law, yet we don't seem to get up in arms about Country...? Don't we too sink beneath the elemental force of the universe during a deeply meditative chant?

In my simple mind, a note is a note and a string of notes comprise a score. Lyrics, however, provide context to that score and the message of that song--whether for good or ill. Isn't that what we should be focused on--the message? I'm afraid we're speaking in broad sweeping generalizations when we speak about "rock" or "rap"--both of which have been hijacked by messages that fall far short of the glory of God. Perhaps it's time to break the paradigm and change the message--a message that glorifies God while emmersing our senses in a powerful, positive direction.

Like I said, I'm just a simple guy and may have this all wrong so I certainly submit to the authority of the church on faith and morals. But I do believe good can come from evil and Rock can be used as a beacon of light instead of force of darkness. It's all in the message.


Tom Ryan said...

To quote that great intellect of animation Hank Hill: "you people aren't making Christianity better, all you're doing is making music worse!"