Why Can’t Christians Sing Some Other Songs?

other musicOn an earlier thread BuddyO suggested that I set up a page like “Some Good Books” but this time we could list our favorite songs. Soon after making an attempt, I gave up. The task seemed impossible. I initially tried to limit the list to my top ten favorite songs. Then my top 20. I soon realized that 100 would be too small of a number and even then I would likely forget one or two. My tastes run the gamut from Buddy Guy to Beethoven, Pat Metheny to Neil Young, Sinatra to Sabbath.

Looking over my list I noticed that there weren’t any Christian praise or worship songs. At that moment some popped into mind; “Amazing Grace”, “It is Well with My Soul”, “Ave Maria” and maybe one or two more. Other than maybe “He Reigns” by the Newsboys I couldn’t think of any modern praise songs that I might put on my list of 100 (or more) all time great songs.

This past weekend I got involved in a discussion over the appropriateness of using secular music in worship services. In particular some people were concerned about Bono and U2 becoming so popular among many outwardly spoken Christians. They seemed to think that this style of music is lacking in the proper decorum and respect and perhaps is even Satanic. And these aren’t old folks talking.

I was reminded of a debate I had with some friends in my old church over whether or not it was acceptable to invite secular performers to play at our outdoor fundraising events. My argument was that, if the Christian artists weren’t attracting people, what was the point of throwing good money after bad. In fact, if the secular performers could draw some of the ‘unsaved’ to our church, where they might just be exposed to the Gospel, wouldn’t that be a ‘good’ thing? Why weren’t the “Christian” artists drawing an audience? I have a few theories;

<!1 They were singing to the converted. To everyone else the message was lost.

<!2 They weren’t very original. Seems like they all use the same play list of about two dozen songs.

<!3 Their music, relatively speaking, isn’t all that good. (At least that which isn’t found on the approved master play list). Much of it is as safe as elevator music. Lyrical pablum.

On the other hand there are a number of secular songs out there that are very spiritual, if not even outright religious in nature. And they’re pretty good on top of it. Does someone need to be labeled a “Christian Artist”, devoting all their music to overt praise and worship songs, to be considered spiritually acceptable? Or is it possible that there may be some very talented people, who in their own fashion, are relating to God musically? Duke Ellington once said that every piece he composed was a prayer sent to heaven. Perhaps we could liven up some of our services by playing some of this ‘other’ music.

Whenever I say your name, whenever I call to mind your face
I’m already praying
Whatever bread’s in my mouth, whatever the sweetest wine that I taste
Wherever I lay me down, wherever I rest my weary head to sleep
Whenever I hurt and cry, whenever I’m forced to lie awake and have to weep
Whenever I’m on the floor
Whatever it was that I believed before
Whenever I say your name, whenever I say it loud, I’m already praying

Whenever I say your name,
No matter how long it takes,
One day we’ll be together

Whenever I say your name,
let there be no mistake
that day will last forever

-Sting

Advertisements
  1. #1 by Christian on October 8, 2007 - 3:02 pm

    Yes, what a nice guy. And this was always reflected in his music. Such a shame that he died so young, but what a way to go! Look at how so many successful artists sucumb to the world’s nastiness. Yet here is a guy that was living life to the fullest. I miss him,too. Thanks, Bruce. I always like to hear from the older generation. 8)

    Chris (class of ’77)

  2. #2 by BuddyO on October 8, 2007 - 3:23 pm

    Look at how so many successful artists sucumb to the world’s nastiness.

    Hey, lets not tarnish JD’s rep. He died in a plane crash. He was a skilled pilot and was flying a custom aircraft when he crashed.

  3. #3 by Christian on October 8, 2007 - 3:26 pm

    No, you got me wrong! ( Nothin’ new there 🙂 ) I was talking about Jimmy, Janice, Karen, Momma, Kirk etc etc. I admire JD for what he was doing. Wish I had the ability and the gumption.

  4. #4 by Sue on October 8, 2007 - 6:02 pm

    I was doing a blog search for references to John Denver and came to this site.

    As an Evangelical Christian, I am a HUGE fan of his music and my heart grows heavy this time of year as I recall the great gift that we all lost.

    I am encouraged that some people still know who he is..and play his music.

    John’s music may have bordered on what is termed “New Age” in some Christian circles but the overall theme of God and seeing something out there that’s bigger than all of us is relatable no matter Who you pray to.

    I find comfort that in the end of is life, his lyrics took on more blantant Christan references.

    Such as this:
    “The True King Sits on a Heavenly Throne
    ‘Never Away, Above or Apart
    With Wisdom and mercy and constant compassion
    He Lives in the love that lives in our Hearts”
    (Raven’s Child-1989)

    ..or if I may quote my all-time favorite song of his..from “Stonehaven Sunset”(1990):

    “Stonehaven Sunset the deserts on fire
    Christ on the cross again burns with desire
    They are shooting at random though they aim at us all
    Its the children who rise up and children who fall
    All the angels are weeping the sweetest of tears
    Fall like rivers of mercy to wash all our fears
    Sing a song for Old Glory and a future that dies
    Sing of Stonehaven desert home, Stonehaven Sunrise”

    There are many others but this is already too long.
    I just thank you all for just bringing his music up in your discussion.

  5. #5 by Christian on October 8, 2007 - 10:22 pm

    Thanks, Sue. That was nice. Think I’m going to revisit some of his music.

  6. #6 by lovewillbringustogether on October 9, 2007 - 2:11 am

    Great Topic!

    To me it is not about who writes or how they sing – it is what we hear through our own filters and conceptions.

    Life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone
    I hear you call my name And it feels like home

    When you call my name it’s like a little prayer
    I’m down on my knees, I wanna take you there
    In the midnight hour I can feel your power
    Just like a prayer you know I’ll take you there

    I hear your voice, it’s like an angel sighing
    I have no choice, I hear your voice
    Feels like flying
    I close my eyes, Oh God I think I’m falling
    Out of the sky, I close my eyes
    Heaven help me

    When you call my name it’s like a little prayer
    I’m down on my knees, I wanna take you there
    In the midnight hour I can feel your power
    Just like a prayer you know I’ll take you there

    Like a child you whisper softly to me
    You’re in control just like a child
    Now I’m dancing
    It’s like a dream, no end and no beginning
    You’re here with me, it’s like a dream
    Let the choir sing

    When you call my name it’s like a little prayer
    I’m down on my knees, I wanna take you there
    In the midnight hour I can feel your power
    Just like a prayer you know I’ll take you there

    Just like a prayer, your voice can take me there
    Just like a muse to me, you are a mystery
    Just like a dream, you are not what you seem
    Just like a prayer, no choice your voice can take me there

    Any guesses or do you know already?

    ‘Like a Prayer’ by Madonna – hardly someone we think of as representing ‘Christian’ values is she?

    God speaks through us all to different sections of society. We Pick and choose what speaks to us and what it says often by who is doing the ‘saying/singing’

    Be thou not a respector of persons – now why can’t i find the scriptural reference for that ( besides in Acts 10??)

  1. Singing Blog Feeds » Blog Archive » Comment on Why Can’t Christians Sing Some Other Songs? by Bruce
  2. Singing Blog Feeds » Blog Archive » Comment on Why Can’t Christians Sing Some Other Songs? by BuddyO
  3. Singing Blog Feeds » Blog Archive » Comment on Why Can’t Christians Sing Some Other Songs? by Christian
  4. Singing Blog Feeds » Blog Archive » Comment on Why Can’t Christians Sing Some Other Songs? by Sue

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: