Christian Music Makeover Pt. 3

The Christmas break delayed the continuation of the ‘Christian Music Makeover’ discussion started here and continued here. But Brian responded last night with this email:

Hello James,

Your contention that music-based reality television shows focus only on surface aspects of the industry has no factual basis. “American Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson is not your average stick-thin bombshell, and Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken hardly fit the superstar mold. “Nashville Star” selected a middle-aged songwriter. Shows like “Star Search”, “FAME” and “America’s Most Talented Kid” have solely focused on talent and musical ability, going so far as to draw fire from the industry for not selecting more marketable talent. And let’s not forget that Christian music finally got it’s own show with “Gifted”, which aired in November on TBN.

The Makeover campaign which launches in January is highly evangelical and seeks to promote health and self-esteem, especially in young women, while tying everything into a spiritual lesson. The group will be under pastoral counsel throughout the campaign, and fans will have the opportunity to be involved with a daily interactive devotional right along with the band.

I would ask you not to rush to judgements and false claims before the details of the campaign have even been released. I understand the basis for your assumptions, and appreciate your concerns. But watch the campaign as it gets underway, and I believe you will be pleasantly surprised.

You also claim that “the press release seemed to suggest that spirituality is something that can be ‘judged’ or that audience participation is a good way of ‘improving’ a band’s spirituality.” You go on to state that the “implication was very clear” yet you cite no example. The press release says no such thing. The campaign is not a competition – and there are no judges – or judging for that matter. Again, your assumptions are incorrect.

With all due respect, you are attempting to write a review of a car before having the opportunity to take it for a test drive. And for that, you own your readers an apology.

Thank you for the opportunity to address your concerns.

There is much to respond to here, but I decided that perhaps a next good step would be to get a little clarification on a couple of issues, so responded with the email:

Hi Brian,

Thank you for taking the time to reply. I’d like to discuss this a little further if I may. I have a number of observations to make on your detailed response, but to help clarify a few things before we proceed, perhaps it would be useful if you could answer a few questions for me?

Firstly you state that the campaign is “highly evangelical” and I was wondering what exactly that means. Do you mean it is very strongly based on an evangelical worldview, or that it is highly “evangelistic” in the sense of reaching outside of the “Christian” community?

Secondly, the press release that triggered all of this contained the section (which I quoted in my original blog entry):

“The transformation is not only designed to emphasize the physical, but the spiritual as well — a complete makeover, from the inside-out.”

Could you perhaps explain to me what this means? What is involved in such a ‘spiritual makeover’ and how is it managed?

I am not sure if I will be able to watch the show as I have a very busy few months coming up and rarely get time to watch television as it is. But this subject is of immense interest (and no little concern) to me, so I really appreciate your time in responding to me.

thanks. James.

There has been a further reply, but rather than make this post ridiculously long, I will continue in yet another!

The previous sections of this conversation are here and here. It continues, here.


  1. James, I have been following this one with interest. I completely understand your concerns. I am at least comforted however, by the fact that Brian seems sincere. Sincerity isn’t everything, but its something. I’m looking forward to seeing this develop.

  2. Thanks Jamie. That is a good point. The sincerity does seem to argue against one of the key critiques of the CCM industry, which is that it has become far too financially orientated, but I don’t know whether to be more worried or less that people actually think this is a good idea!

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