Being a Christian teen in the nineties was a wild ride!
The teens before us (in the eighties) had broken through a lot of the legalism regarding playing cards, pool halls, going to movies and best of all, listening to rock music!
By the nineties, Christian rock options were coming out of every major city faster than we could memorize lyrics. Christian artists were coming out of the woodwork, creating sounds that drove teen-culture; yet carried positive or at least neutral messages with every note.
Finally, after years of church-folk trying to convince youth that Jesus only enjoyed hymn-sings; we were free to believe that Jesus liked to mix it up every once in a while. We could follow Jesus whole-heartedly, yet develop their own style and character.
No longer, did our association with a particular style of music pigeon-hole us into being ‘influenced by the devil‘.
Of course, all teens enjoy a little rebellion. So of course, why choose soft-rock which might actually be semi-acceptable for the powers that be? Within our church settings, we found punk rock as an outlet for minor rebellion. Not just the music, but the look as well!
Let’s face it; coloured hair always helped turn a few heads at church on Sunday morning. We’d hear through the grapevine that the assumption was “those kids must be on drugs“. When in fact, we were signed, sealed believers in Jesus that wanted to shake things up a bit. We enjoyed ever minute!
I lived on the border of Ontario and Michigan. Within our youth group, our teen eyes were constantly fixed on which of our favourite punk (or ska) bands were visiting Detroit, MI next. It seemed like every weekend, we were pile into cars to hit up the next motor-city rock show.
At that time, Christian alternative record company ‘Tooth & Nail’ was putting out some incredible bands! A lot of the hype started with MXPX (Magnified Plaid) and their albums Pokinatcha and Teenage Politics. MXPX showed the world that punk rock could be raw in sound, yet clean in lyrics.
Soon enough, the doors were opened to loads Christian bands that promoted clean livin’ but hard rockin’.
Some, like MXPX decided to focus on neutral themes; yet others like Dogwood unapologetically promoted the Gospel with every note. Either way, the cussing, drugs, sex and general anarchy no longer had to complete define punk rock.
QUESTION: When’s the last time you listen to some Christian Punk Rock?