Vision problems and NQC (II of II)

Every generation has its misty-eyed John Conlees, wearing rose-colored glasses that “show only the beauty” of the past but also “hide all the truth” of the present - in this case, mistaking the great accomplishments of bygone legends for a high-water mark that our own time will never manage to reach, much less exceed. But who cares if George Younce couldn’t pack as many people in as Toby Keith? It’s hard to believe Toby changes as many lives and has as profound or long-term effects on his listeners as George and the Cathedrals did. I’m really fond of “How D’Ya Like Me Now?” but I’ll take “Wedding Music” over a TK song every day of the week and twice on Sunday. With all the talk in sg about being not of this world but being ye transformed etc., why is it in this particular area of “star power” so many are so eager to judge “a star” by comparisons to other musical industries that have very little in common with sg? Rodney Griffin writes sg songs with different goals in mind than, say, Bernie Taupin has when writing Elton John songs, and so judging the success of each writer’s music requires a finely calibrated analytical apparatus unique to each genre. Similarly, arguing that sg doesn’t have any stars because there are no Garth-Brooks-sized legends working the sg circuit is a hugely flawed effort to create generic equivalency where none exists, nor should. While sg has more to learn from contemporary Christian, country, jazz and rock music than it has to teach (especially, as has been smartly noted, about radio presence), it’s also clear that none of those genres have events as star-rich and with as much equivalent industry-shaping magnitude as the NQC (or for that matter, productions with as far-reaching scope within their industries as Gaither’s Homecoming series, which is, I think, something like the top grossing video of all time). Though we should learn from experience, that doesn’t mean we should be trying to precisely imitate other genres’ historic models of success or be looking backward in the sg industry and trying to recreate the stars of yesteryear in a contemporary context that is radically different from the insular sg world of the mid-twentieth century. History does not lock us into an ineluctable fate or irreversible decline; instead, the past is usually prologue. And the next chapter is the 2004 NQC. I can’t wait.

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