The Christian Oldies Shelf

So, I have a rule: I don’t rock the boat until I’m entirely convinced the boat needs rocking. And of course only when I have the clout to get the rockin’ goin’. Because of that, I want to specify something before I even get started on this blog: No boat rockin’ intended today. I’m not here to tell you you’re doin’ it wrong, or your pastor is doin’ it wrong, or anyone who may or may not be famous is doin’ it wrong.

That said, I’m kind of beginning to detest modern Christian music. There, I said it.

Christian music is all made up of cliches, anymore. I feel like there’s this pot of Christian phrases and sentences and sentiments, and all you have to do to write a Christian song is to reach into the pot, pull out three or six or fifteen papers, and arrange them so they rhyme. Here’s a sampling: “Worthy is the Lamb.” “We praise Your name.” “You’re high and lifted up.” “You’re awesome in this place.” I’m not even thinking of any specific songs. Those are just common papers in the pot.

Everything in that sampling is hugely, critically true. Our whole eternity hinges on those truths. As Christians, we have to understand them, to believe them, to meditate on them.

But have we made them cliches? When you sing along with a worship song, do you hear it? Or do you think more of the melody? If there’s a song you really like, is it because the truth in it rings so loud and clear in your mind, or because it’s a pretty song? Do you really worship Him? I don’t.

Here I want to reiterate my boat-rocking speech. Guys, if you are deeply touched by modern Christian music, and every time a worship band gets out their guitars, God touches your heart, and you really genuinely hear the words, that is downright cool. I am glad God speaks to you in that and that you’re not missing out on anything. Keep it up. For reals.

But if maybe, as you read, you’re trying to remember the last time you even paid attention to the worship at church, or you tend to find yourself really crazy about the singer and not the Creator, or you like worship because you like to sing – or whatever – I have a suggestion.

Hit the oldies shelf.

Hymns were absolutely not written out of a hat. Consider this verse of Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, written by Robert Robinson:

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Like I said: if you’re getting a lot out of modern Christian music, I’m not going to tell you you’re wrong. But if you – like me – are having trouble hiding your yawns during worship time, consider looking into this. You could buy a CD of hymns – Jars of Clay has a great one called Redemption Songs, but there are plenty – or even just look up the words to these songs and meditate on them. Find YouTube videos of old hymns and play them in the background. Buy a few hymns on your iTunes.

Give it a shot. Let me know what you think.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “The Christian Oldies Shelf

  1. Wow… I totally love this post! As an 18 year old who grew up in a non-Christian home (I was saved two years ago) the only worship music that I’ve ever really been exposed to is contemporary. I’ve heard a hymn here and there before but only in the past month have I REALLY discovered hymns. I was totally wowed by their depth. There really are no catchy phrases or melodies that draw you in… the one thing that captivates you in a hymn is pure and unreserved truth. And this is why I now LOVE them! “Nothing But the Blood” has been one my favorites to listen to =)

  2. I’m so glad, Tola! My favorite is “It Is Well With My Soul” by Horatio Spafford. But, then, you know that, since you liked my last post! :D There are so many great ones … Be Thou My Vision … Come Thou Fount … Amazing Grace … Jesus Paid It All …

  3. A-men! You rock that boat, girl. ;-)

  4. … I miss you, Bethany :)

  5. Dad

    Brittani–I appreciate this post. I have felt that way about contemporary Christian music for a long time…which is why I rarely listen to it. I appreciate groups like the Newsboys who kind of think outside the box. My favorite cd currently is Leigh Nash, Hymns and Sacred Songs. Old hymns (and a couple of newer hymn-like songs) set to new arrangements with very simple, almost sparse, background music. Good stuff. And a great post. One whose heart is drawn to Christ will not be satisfied with shallow things.

  6. Dad

    Why, when I post a comment, does your site call me “Dad?”

    Tim

  7. That’s a really good question, Tim (who is not at all my dad)! I wish I knew the answer … I honestly haven’t a clue! I suspect one of your children hacked into my site. Although I can’t think of any opportunity Corey might have had. Hm.
    But thanks, about the post! I actually thought of mentioning the Newsboys, specifically because of “In Christ Alone,” although if I remember right they’re not the ones who originally wrote that …? And thanks for the mention of Leigh Nash. I heard her featured on a great Jars of Clay song, and I really liked her voice. I’ll have to look into this album :)

    • Dad

      The thing I appreciate most about Leigh Nash’s album is that she doesn’t try to sing like a rock star…she just sings the songs, which has the effect of putting the focus on the message instead of the artist. I appreciate that; you don’t hear it often.

  8. Pingback: Fanny Crosby on Hope | myfixedheart

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