The purpose of Christian Radio...


One of the first ministry experiences I had where my creative freedom was let loose was in Christian radio. I was a DJ for KSJY 90.9 [although now it's 89.9] and for better or worse, I learned a lot in that experience. Even after I was out of the scene I had hopes to one day start a Christian radio station myself. In our very first conversation, Kristy and I both talked about opening up our own Christian radio station/book store. It was going to be beautiful!

But here was the question that killed it all for me: why start a Christian radio station? That question took me down a long road - questioning Christianity in the marketplace, the mixture of a bottom line and spiritual significance - and led me to a place where I've been for quite some time now. I don't think the purpose of Christian radio amounts to much.

But this morning might have changed my mind a little bit. I've been reading Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster and I got to the Inward Discipline: Study chapter where he talks how things that we subject ourselves to, even if we don't believe it or acknowledge it, can have a profound effect on our thought patterns with much repetition. In other words, I could have all the conviction in the world against violence, but if I sit there and watch repeated violence, my mind will be affected by it.

Caution is in order when agreeing with this because it could be taken too far. The spirit of what he's saying is that our thoughts can be conformed to God's Kingdom reality when we spend time repeatedly reciting or reading through God's Word. Hence, the importance of studying God's Word and reading through it over and over again.

After I finished this chapter this morning, I hopped in the car and turned on my radio [tuned to 89.9 this morning, but I often switch between secular and Christian radio stations]. It hit me that just by listening to Christian music, my thoughts could over time be conformed to ideas expressed in the music.

Even with this new information, I still question the importance and purpose of Christian radio stations. Besides the fact that some of the theology and missiology expressed in Christian music is very whack, the opinions of the on-air personalities sometimes veer even further away from God's Kingdom reality. On top of all that, many times the message spread with Christian radio is the idea of someone thinking of God for you, or being "evangelistic" for you in your workplace. To me, it smells of too much consumerism to be welcomed in my heart as good. Well-intended maybe, but not good.

So, while Kristy and I might not open up a Christian radio station any year soon, I will have a slightly different attitude towards their existence.

4 comments:

Sandy Mc said...

I definately agree with most of your observations, however I try to be careful when evaluating someone else's ministry calling trusting they the way they are perfoming it is how they feel God calls them to do it (and recognizing I may not agree with positions on doctrine and such).

I also KNOW God reaches different people different ways, and honestly Christian radio/music's influence played a large part in my becoming a Christian as a 34 year old(and my early spiritual growth). Drew, if at any time God CALLS you to start a station I hope you say "YES!"

Drew Caperton said...

Sandy,

I actually believe my calling is just for ministry, and there's a lot for me to figure out from there. So far, He's led me to start a church, we'll see where He goes from here.

About radio, I don't disagree with doctrinal points [i.e.- they're more free will, I'm more predestination], I carefully [after many years of wrestling and observation] point out that it can easily promote trite and shallow Christianity, and that there's some value in it when it comes to ingraining our minds into the mind of Christ. The real trouble there is still that what we're using to ingrain our minds is sometimes very far [if not opposed sometimes] from God's Kingdom Reality.

I repeat, this stuff might be well-intended, but it can be very dangerously bad.

Sandy Mc said...

*sighs*

Drew said "I repeat, this stuff might be well-intended, but it can be very dangerously bad."

I guess I am hearing you saying *I* am a potentially a *bad* Christian since the well-intended stuff you speak of influenced me to make a decision for Christ at the age of 34...that helps explain a lot:( *sadly walking away*

Drew Caperton said...

Sandy,

Back up, slow down, take a deep breath. Remember that I spent years working at a Christian radio station. I have prayed with people who called [in one instance, a soon-to-be-widow who called after they took her husband away in an abulance], and seen first-hand the good that can be accomplished.

This is not a commentary on you.

Also, please note the absence of absolutes in my comment ["...*sometimes* very far... *can be* dangerously...]. I left a lot of room for good to be accomplished through Christian radio, and for you to suggest what you suggested in your comment is immature, if not manipulative.