Excerpt from an interview with Derek Webb:
What does it mean on your new album when it says don’t label my music?
DW: It’s more of a personal liberty type comment, more than put a label on my music that I listen to so that I can discern between what is safe and right and what is dangerous and wrong. The whole secular/Christian thing, which is a total fiction, rather than just teaching me to listen to the Spirit and have the Spirit guide me into the truth and learn how to discern truth and beauty and find it in all kinds of places, which is more of the Francis Schaeffer model. Discern truth and beauty and don’t put your faith in categories.
Don’t let your local Christian bookstore do your thinking for you and believe that everything they have there for sale is good and spiritually beneficial to you. If anything, we have proven that the Church unfortunately is identified with really poor art. The Church certainly does not have the market cornered on beauty. A lot of what we do is not very beautiful. The art we make is not very good. A lot of the songs I have heard on Christian radio are just outright misrepresentations of the character of God.
I think you have to learn to discern and look elsewhere and say, “I need to learn how to engage with a God everywhere I can find truth and beauty, regardless of the intention of the maker of that art.” I really believe that is a more biblical worldview. It also keeps us from being people who live in fear. There is no room for living in fear. There is no reason to be afraid. There is no reason to be fearful of secular music. We should learn how to chew on the meat, spit out the bones, to discern the truth and beauty, to commend that rather than to be just completely fearful and put all our security in these categories that don’t mean anything. It’s a dangerous way to live.
The Christian industry, ridiculous as its existence I believe is, is an industry that literally markets records based on the worldview of the artists, which no other industry does. The one thing they do really well is get resources to Christians. I thought this is something I want in the hands of fellow believers. I think that is the audience that this content would be relevant to and so that is the avenue that I took. Providentially, I landed with a label that I had no idea was really given the freedom to go beyond that. That is what I’m trying to do now. I’m not making records specifically and exclusively for the Church anymore.
Like I said, Mockingbird, I believe, deals with much broader issues. There are many more points of connection with even our neighbors that don’t believe what we believe about Jesus but do believe it is right to care for the poor. Maybe that is our connection point. Regardless, the label allows me the freedom to do that. That is a great provision for me, but I do think it is strange that I am in Christian music.
See the entire interview at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/beta/issue_20_webb.php