Have I mentioned before that I was a “Cultural Discerner” in college? Ha. I still have the nametag to prove it. One thing this experience did was instill in me a love of good music and the opinion that good music (or movies, or design), whether or not its about Jesus, is usually a whole lot more Christ-honoring than bad “Christian” music.
That said, sometimes the music I like is pretty Jesus-y, as you’ll see from the three tracks I chose today. Relatedly, I wrote a review of Susan Werner’s album when I was a CD, and I saw both Over the Rhine and Sufjan perform while I was at Calvin. Without further ado, then:
Over the Rhine, “All I Need Is Everything”
Over the Rhine is my very most favorite band, and “All I Need Is Everything” is possibly my quintessential song about faith. It’s true, “there’s nothing harder than learning how to receive.” And how often don’t I “feel the slip and the grip of grace again”?
Susan Werner, “Our Father (The New Revised Version)”
I first heard this song on NPR early in my college years. I thought it was hysterical, and I still do. Werner, brought up in the Roman Catholic tradition, calls this album—The Gospel Truth—an agnostic gospel, an idea hatched at the 2006 Chicago Gospel Music Festival, where Werner’s friend wondered whether there was a way to “get all this joy, but without the Jesus.”
Sufjan Stevens, “Vito’s Ordination Song”
This is a beautiful song. It’s also from Sufjan’s Michigan album, which might make me a little partial. Something I also think is interesting and worth knowing is that this actually was a song for Vito’s ordination. Vito Aiuto, a friend of Sufjan, is a Presbyterian pastor—and, with his wife, Monique, is The Welcome Wagon.
What are some of your favorite songs? Artists? Are there songs that mark or describe your spiritual journey? (One of my colleagues introduced an assignment where his students put together a playlist and wrote “liner notes”—wouldn’t that make a cool spiritual autobiography?)