I became a Christian when I was 12 years old way back in 1982, right in the beginning of the wonderful decade known as the 80’s. I was just coming into my own musically. I was right there for the MTV explosion and all the bands that came out of the video age. I was big into Duran Duran, A-ha, Culture Club and all the other new wave music hitting the scene. Then I heard about another type of music from my youth group known as contemporary christian music.
I was introduced to Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Petra and all the songs we used to sing on Wednesday nights during our group meetings. I started to mix these bands and singers into my ever-growing cassette collection. (Before the days of streaming and even CDs) If you would look into my case, you would see Sandi Patty next to the Clash and The Maranatha Singers next to Depeche Mode. I was just as eclectic then as I am now.
Last night I finally got to see the movie “The Jesus Music” about the Christian music scene from the 1970’s through to the present. I was totally digging it from the first few minutes. It really came out of the hippie scene when a ton of young adults started attending a church in Costa Mesa, California; they all got saved and The Jesus Movement was born. The musical ones wanted to keep playing music, so they kept their same beat and just made the lyrics about Jesus.
Well, as you can imagine, most of the old timers did not take too kindly to that kind of music, no matter what the words were…except for one very vocal preacher, Billy Graham. He encouraged the new music and even had a big music fest in 1972, which he referred to as kinda a Christian Woodstock. I always liked Billy, but I like him even more now. I love when someone pushes the envelope and goes against the system.
Watching this movie brought back memories of concerts I have seen, I attended a Petra concert and somehow ended up with a drumstick, of songs I have sung on stage, 3 friends and I sang “El Shaddai” by Amy Grant at a youth group talent show and numerous prayerful moments singing praise and worship songs at church. But it also introduced me to music I have never heard of, which is now in the stream along with all my other music. I found out about a couple of the early rock bands and some good punk bands, I even found some rap, which is normally not my style, but I can appreciate it.
As I was walking down memory lane, remembering the music I did know, it took me back to 1982 and what I was feeling when I first asked Jesus to be a part of my life, and something hit me like a ton of rocks, in the past 40 years I have not been a very good disciple. I have long stretches of time when I am seeking His guidance, but even longer periods when I am only going through the motions. It makes me sad to think about it, but it also brought about a desire to get back into the groove of walking daily with Jesus.
Music really does capture what we are feeling at every stage of our life. It can make us happy, sad, angry, and joyful. That’s what Christian music stirs in me…joy, whether I am singing a hymn on a Sunday morning or punking out with “Same as Sunday”. It doesn’t matter what style it is…the message is all the same.
***Question for the comments…have to ever listened to Christian music? Do you like it? If you do, what are some of your favorite bands or songs?
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