Today, I drove along curving, green back roads and took the long way home. I just breathe better when I see houses and farmland dotting the horizon instead of various bits of car wreckage remaining on the shoulder of the interstate. Naturally, I wanted to listen to some good, soul-soaring music.
I turned on the local Christian channel and heard a song that, despite having great lyrics, has been played so constantly in church and on the radio that I wanted to punch the “Search” button through the dashboard to get a different song to play.
Thus, I switched to The Legend, a channel from iHeart Radio that plays all of the songs from The Big 98 that were popular around the turn of the century. It’s like a time capsule for music! The station became really invaluable to me as I started to write my book, but I also enjoy hearing the first several chords of a song and still being able to sing every word from twenty years ago.
Country music has its roots in Gospel music, and that connection shows up more often than you’d think. Songs like “That’s What I Love About Sunday” (Craig Morgan), “Where Were You” (Alan Jackson), and “Jesus Take the Wheel” (Carrie Underwood) all talk explicitly about the places where faith and life collide. Even songs that don’t mention God explicitly often have Christian values like love and concern for others at the heart of the lyrics. And that connection to faith hasn’t diminished over time– Old Dominion’s “No Such Thing as a Broken Heart” parallels Matthew 5:38-40 with the command to turn the other cheek. Even John Mayer’s new song In the Blood, played on Sirius’ The Highway, reminds me of the hymn, “There is power, power, wonder working power/ In the blood of the Lamb!” (Lewis E. Jones, 1899).
Regardless, there are enough Country hook-up songs on the radio that I don’t need to listen to the genre all the time. I do feel calmer and generally more even-keel when I listen to only Christian music. But why does it have to be so boring? It shouldn’t be a struggle for me to choose Christian music; I should want to listen to it because it draws me closer to my Savior!
In the meantime, I thank God that He shows up in Country music, too, and reminds me of His grace in the beauty of a pastel sunset over rolling cow pastures.