Christian music doesn’t rank high on my radar screen even though I’m what you might call a non-denominational Christian. My faith is very important to me, but I couldn’t tell you which Christian musicians were popular right now, the names of any of the Hillsong albums, or who’s on the cover of the latest Relevant magazine. This is because, quite frankly, Christian music as most people define it really doesn’t register with me. I like music with tension, conflict, heartbreak, and imperfection. And the Christian music that seems to be popular with most Christians, doesn’t really contain that.
To me Christian music is very predictable. There is an artist singing about how bad off they were before they met God, but they don’t go into detail as to what was really wrong with them. A perfect example is the song that made The Fray famous, You Found Me (see above). It talks about being lost and now found, but never gets into the nitty gritty. So if you were to ask me who I thought the best Christian musician was, who was my favorite, etc., I wouldn’t say Chris Tomlin or Brooke Frasier. I would tell you someone everyone is very familiar with; Johnny Cash.
In my opinion, Johnny Cash is the greatest Christian musician of all time. There are numerous songs he sang about having an imperfect relationship with God. He acknowledged with that there is brokenness in the world that doesn’t go away with one little prayer. He was real; he didn’t sugarcoat anything.
I think of songs like The Man Comes Around, which acknowledges the significance of a relationship with God as well as the fact that things in this world aren’t perfect. That type of Christian music I can relate to. My relationship with God is far from perfect. I don’t always feel like I’ve found redemption. I’m not always at peace. So with that being said, I think Johnny Cash is the greatest Christian musician of all time.