As I worship leader, I was excited about the idea behind "The Red Letters Project" (despite, perhaps, the theological mis-step of highlighting certain parts of Scripture and not others, but I digress). I love "Scripture songs" and find that the closer a lyric is to the Biblical text, the more profound that songs tends to be. (For example, check out Psalm 62 by Aaron Keyes). So, if that had been the case thus far in my experience, why not for the “Red Letter Project” as well?
For those of who don’t know, “The Red Letters Project” was a project by Tyndale to take the whole of Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Matthew (NLT) and put them to rock music. Sound like a good idea? Sure, why not. Right? Well, the problem was that there was little to no artistic license with the songs. If the words of Jesus don’t happen to rhyme, neither does the lyric. If the words of Jesus don’t seem to have a particular rhythm to them, neither does the song.
You can begin to see the problem immediately.
What is the purpose of a song that doesn’t rhyme or have lyrical rhythm? I mean, even Eminem understands that! Perhaps this project is a meditation on “Christian art.” Though we may call a certain piece of art “Christian,” it doesn’t automatically make that art good. I mean, here we have the actual words of Jesus, every single one of them, and yet this projects fails to impact, it fails at its grasp for beauty.
Conclusion: I cannot recommend “The Red Letters Project” at all. It is unenjoyable to listen to and tends to be grating rather than graceful.
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