Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Christian Music

I sometimes think I would have been a musician if I had been trained as a kid to play and understand music, because I love it...as it is, though, for me it is purely a spectator sport, where I love it, enjoy it, know a very little about it, have no time to pursue it, and couldn't create it to save my life. Does everyone always have a song going through their head at any given time? I know I do...ask me any time what's playing and I could tell you. Before I was a Christian, it was rock music, not hard rock, just the popular stuff on the radio...had a few records, a few tapes, and memorized them within hours of getting them home. When I was part of Bible Study Fellowship, they encouraged participants to purge stuff from their lives that wasn't honoring to Jesus. I took that, perhaps, a little to the extreme, such that I got rid of my secular music that wasn't really so bad but it wasn't great in retrospect either, and replaced it all with Christian music. At the time I remember thinking that there would never be many Christian songs to replace all the secular songs I knew...and yet, between the old hymns that will never fade away because of their beauty and the stories behind how they came to be written, the songs on Christian radio at the time, and my daughter's Christian songs for children (from which as a new Christian I remember learning some of my very basic theology--very basic, I had a long way to go!), really there was an abundance of Christian music, some songs better than others of course, and I never felt that it had turned out to be such a sacrifice to make the switch.
Is it my imagination, or are the lyrics to so many Christian songs much better than most of what was popular 18 years back when I first discovered Christian music? Seems like back then, in 1989 or so, many of the songs were the repetitive and shallow choruses that became the mainstay worship music of seeker-friendly churches. Now, though, there are so many songs on the radio that I just love, with thought-provoking, worship-inducing lyrics--I'm always thinking, "I want to write that one down, and learn all the words, and keep it on a list in my cupboard!" And that never seems to happen, because my hands are busy and...well, it just never happens. The alternative to this would be to upload them onto my mp3 player (after all, that's the main use most people find for those players, isn't it?), but I haven't figured that device out yet (and I mainly intended it for listening to sermons and stuff while I do things around the house--when I upload them, the sermons end up on the "music" portion of the player somehow, but that works okay because I can still listen to them. But that's another story.) So anyway, I'm still low-tech about songs.
I love to hear songs where the singer has a deep, rough voice and he's singing how much he loves Jesus. It just seems like the unexpected combination, I don't know why. The one I'm thinking of at the moment is Cry Out to Jesus, by Mac Powell of Third Day. I want to crank it up high in my car and go around with my windows down and let everyone hear it--over and over again until everyone hears it, everywhere I go, because it seems like it would be a great evangelistic tool if people would just listen to it. (I don't do this though. I think doing that might make more enemies than friends for Christ...especially if I sing along...) So instead, I sing along, with my car windows at least most of the way up, wishing in a wierd way that I could sing like him, and yet I have to be glad I can't! (It reminds me of a story...when I was little, my dad said that eating spinach would put hair on my chest, and I ate it with increased gusto, not realizing that might just be a negative...what is it about being macho that appeals to me? Ha!)
I knew there were other songs of that same description, the rough voice, with love for Jesus--and couldn't think of them because Cry Out is still running strong in my head (sort of like smelling three perfumes and then suddenly you can't smell anything)--so I went to the Third Day weblog and realized one of them is Your Love Oh Lord...(okay, I love music, but I don't know anything about it, and don't have time to really keep track and learn more about the really good songs, so I never really get a handle on who plays what! How contradictory is that?) I thought maybe liking at least two of Third Day's songs so well qualifies me as some sort of fan, so to speak. I went to their various websites for a few minutes, looking for a lyrics post sponsored by them rather than at some imposter website, and I had to be amazed at how obsessed some fans are who follow everything about Third Day. Wow, how do they have time for that? Maybe I don't qualify as a fan after all--it depends on how you define "fan." Anyway, I am thankful for all this music, the lyrics, the passion with which they're sung. And if you hear someone in the car behind you "singing" along, and find out it's me, forgive me, will you? I can't seem to help it.

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