REACHING HURTING WOMEN MINISTRIES OFFERS FOUR THEMES FOR STUDY AND CONTEMPLATION EVERY MONTH OF THE YEAR. EACH OF THE FOUR POWER-PACKED THEMES ARE A 12-MONTH STUDY SERIES ASSIGNED TO A SPECIFIC FRIDAY OF EVERY MONTH. IN MONTHS WITH FIVE FRIDAYS I REVIEW TOUCHING, INSPIRATIONAL MUSIC, film and media.
In every month with five Fridays in 2021 I’ve been reviewing Christian music that has inspired and touched me. This third post in the Review Series is going to look at music from a little different angle. Instead of reviewing an album, I’m reviewing the recently released music documentary film: The Jesus Music.
The Jesus Music
PG-13 | 2021 | 109 Minutes
This first-of-its-kind documentary by brothers Andrew and Jon Erwin, the filmmakers behind I Can Only Imagine, Woodlawn and I Still Believe, chronicles how young hippie singers from the 1960’s and 1970’s had life-changing encounters with Jesus and became the foundation for what is known today as Contemporary Christian Music (CCM).
With the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic having locked down all the Christian artists at the same time, the Erwins had the perfect opportunity to have extended interviews with not only the industry’s top artists and bands, but the producers, managers and publishers of Christian magazines.
The filmmakers are careful to not put any one artist or group on a pedestal as some music documentaries are prone to do. Rather, they took a well-balanced look at painful issues in CCM industry. The mainstream Christian church in the 1970’s wasn’t so quick to embrace this new type of music. Ministers were harsh critics of the new music thought to be from the devil.
Without stepping on toes, the movie gently addresses how past racial bias in America and in the church still continues even in the CCM industry today. The documentary film also carefully discusses the controversial issues the artists have dealt with being in the media and limelight: infidelity, divorce, pornography and substance abuse… among others. Revealing that just because they are Christians artists doesn’t prevent them from struggling with the same demons the world does. As Bill Gaither beautifully stated:
“These are human beings who have been gifted in a special kind of way, yet they’re trying to work through these earthly bodies, and sometimes they make mistakes.”
Over the last 50+ years CCM, has grown into a multimillion-dollar industry and has changed the landscape and culture of Christian music forever. The market segments of music that have spawned from this movement is nothing short of amazing. Not only the diversity of music genres within CCM: rock, rap, metal, gospel, blue grass, pop, and worship just to name a few. There’s the incredible explosion of recording, radio, video, concerts, merchandise, and now film!
The Jesus Music is a wonderful anthology that documents the beautiful story of Christian music that has influenced the better part of my life. While the primary audience is people who are familiar with Christian music The Jesus Music is a great introduction to Contemporary Christian Music to a completely new audience.
I really enjoyed seeing the old video footage from bands I hadn’t heard of before. The interviews were touching and the music and concert clips were well chosen. The Jesus Music is definitely worth going to the theater for and I highly recommend checking it out when it releases to streaming formats.