This day marks the 25th anniversary of the release of the self-titled album of the band, Jars of Clay. This debut record changed the course of modern Christian music. This band and the album paved the way for Christian acts to go to mainstream. There will be no Casting Crowns, Switchfoot, Creed or P. O. D. on the radio or music channels without Jars of Clay breaking the barrier.
Do you remember this album? Where were you when Flood hits the airwaves? What was the impact of this band, the album or song to you? What’s your favorite song in this album aside from the big hits? I don’t own a CD or cassette tape of this album. To tell you honestly, the only time I listen to the whole album was just recent and over Spotify (I’ll tell you why in a bit).
This record broke another barrier. It might not win a Grammy or top the Billboard charts. It might not even worth mentioning. But it made a lot of difference to me. Christian rock had clash my perception on Christianity. Just when I thought it’s just a musical taste that changed, it open up lots of things in me on how I walk as a Christian.
Listening to Jars of Clay opens me again with my love hate relationship with Christian music. In my book, I should avoid questionable books and music as our former church teaches. But no matter how I turn away from books and music I love, it’s easy to give in. Sometimes I indulge to it (banging away with Liquid) and sometimes I feel the guilty. This college kid who is a professing Christian (with a few backsliding along the way) listen to things that are considered worldly, secretly (I first listen it to NU 107). Now that gets me thinking. I question myself as a Christian. Can I really trust my spiritual life with this kind of music other that my former church prescribe? Am I been carried by the Spirit or persuade by the devil? Am I just being narrow minded?
Maybe this is not a big deal with you. Maybe this is out of my ignorance or immaturity. But the truth is, all of us want to do something for God. I really just want to please God in even in these small things. I want something to enjoy that won’t disappoint or snatch my attention from God.
As I look back at those things I notice that it’s not just what music I listen to. It’s more than that. I think it’s how I response to those gray areas. The truth is I want to please God not by exercising my God given conscience or discernment, but by pleasing first the church I belong to. I need to go through my church preferences to be able to go near God. I need to conform.
Now that’s not to disrespect my former church and put the blame on them. I know they are sincere in teaching to avoid worldly things to us members. I know they mean well to us. However, they fall short of not teaching for us to have a balanced view on the matter and teach us to engaged on those things a believer should do. For my part, I allowed them to areas that belongs to me and God. This is what I’m suppose to do as a individual believer. It was prescribed in the Bible on Romans 14. While I look up for their spiritual guidance (which is the right thing to do) I neglect to look at my personal nourishment in grey areas of my life. That leads me to a moment in my life of legalism and pride. The only way to save me is by cling to the grace of God.
Now it dawned to me. That Jars of Clay album or books I enjoy that might not appeal to some brethren, but they showed me grace. I may not like what they believe or what they do, but I should give them grace. Like the God who shed grace to us underserving and unthankful folks, likewise should extent grace to one another in every aspect of our Christian life.
(Now I’m listening to the debut album and other albums of Jars of Clay. Got their “Presents…the Shelter” on CD. I’m also looking forward to have a physical copy of this album on CD and cassette tape 😊😊😊😊)