Christian pop comes of age

I remember while doing my PhD in Ottawa, there was a group of Bible-based Christian guys living in a house near my apartment. To me they seemed nice enough, even if, so I thought at the time, they were sitting around loafing all day.

Turns out I later came to believe they were for real and, instead of loafing, they played a part in my rediscovery of Christianity (the religion of my childhood but one that I didn’t really practice as a kid).

One day I was talking to one of the guys about how I liked the Bible, and out of the blue he said “read Isaiah 55: 6-9.” When I later read the passage in the privacy of my home, it hit me really hard.

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Verses 6-7 summed up where I was at back then, searching every false dream and getting nowhere. And 8-9 sum up how I feel about God today.

Anyhow, to get back to the music, the Christian guys were into Christian rock and I could often hear it blaring from their home as I walked by. To be honest, I thought it was lousy back then. And I still think a lot of it isn’t that great. But after dating someone who knew about that music, I started to appreciate just what Christian pop has to offer.

So providence being what it is, I happened to come across a box set of Christian pop in the dollar store. Mostly older stuff that doesn’t have much current marketability. But I bought it and liked it. And now I listen to WOW Hits and, every now and then, streaming Christian radio.

I still enjoy mainstream pop. Unlike ultra-conservative homilists who say everything about mainstream Western culture is bad (I converted to Catholicism in 2001), I believe God works in the arts too (duh…). And it’s really nice when a song hits with everyone, not just a select band of religious believers, which can get a bit cliquey and stagnant.

One of my most exiting pop discoveries is the American singer Mandisa. I think this woman is just waiting to hit the big time. What a voice. And what utterly groovy music! Combine that with a good, sincere message, and you’ve got… My Deliverer.

I probably listen to this song at least once a day, preferably through headphones while out for a nighttime stroll. It rocks. But I don’t think it would work through cheap computer or laptop speakers. So although I’m posting it here, give it a fair chance and listen through a good sound system. 🙂

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