Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant
My wife thinks my taste in music has changed. Can’t blame her–haven’t I always said, “If I see an electric guitar, I’m outta here”? My idea of a hymn was people in a church singing to a piano or an organ–period.
But since I’ve been posting hymns here every day, and taking readers’ requests, I’ve found to my surprise that some of the new stuff is really, really good! It moves me. It can stir my soul. And the lyrics–in the songs I like, at least–are soundly Biblical, and grounded in Christian tradition. After all, once upon a time, songs by Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, and Fanny Crosby–well, they were “that new stuff,” once upon a time.
I think the contemporary song that broke the ice for me was Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet by Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant, by way of Psalm 114. And since then I’ve encountered many that are just as good.
It shouldn’t have surprised me. Aren’t I trying to do kind of the same thing? I’m writing fantasy novels intended to give glory to God, to make my readers (and myself) more receptive to God’s Word as given in the Bible, and to claim cultural ground for the Kingdom of Christ, as Lewis and Tolkien did. I mean, why concede the whole fantasy genre to secular writers? Why abandon young readers to the moral vagaries of Scholastic Books et al?
These singers and musicians, and their audiences, are claiming ground for Christ within the music world, and we should all applaud them for it. Who knows how many hearts they change? How many spirits they refresh?
It’s not that I don’t still love the old stuff. I do! But lately it seems I have a bit more love to go around–and I think it’s supposed to work that way.