One of my all time favorites TV shows is The Gilmore Girls. I have watched the entire series at least three times, enjoying the adventures of Rory Gilmore and her quirky young mother Lorelai. In one episode Lorelai quips to her daughter, “Christian rock – isn’t that an oxymoron?” They both laugh, and I always laughed along – until I was introduced to Christian music.
It happened at a women’s retreat in my parish. During the course of the weekend, there was meditative music to deepen our contemplation, and at the close of the retreat, we were each given a CD comprised of all the songs. Filled with a sense of peace and purpose, I began listening to the CD in my car. I became enamored with both the traditional hymns and the contemporary Christian tunes I listened to, and I found out that there were two Christian radio stations in Chicago.
At first I listened on the sly. I didn’t want my husband or children to think I had turned into some sort of Jesus freak. But as time went on, I found myself playing a song here and there while my kids were in the car with me. It so happened that a major Christian band called the Newsboys had just written a song for the first feature length Veggie Tales movie Jonah. The song was catchy and had clever lyrics: “I’m sleepin’ with fishes here (in the belly of the whale)/I’m one of the dishes here (in the belly of the whale).” Soon my kids were rocking out to other Newsboys tunes such as “Shine” and “You Rescued Me.”
I found out that in the world of Christian contemporary music, there was the same variety that there is in popular music. There are many beautiful ballads, but there are also bubbly pop tunes, rock, and even rap. Ironically, one of my favorite songs became a rock tune with a heavy electric guitar sound entitled “Jesus Freak.” I also noticed that some Christian rock bands such as Switchfoot and The Afters had made the crossover into mainstream music. The more I listened, the more I realized that Christian music is not at all the treacle I had expected it to be. In point of fact, Christian rock is not an oxymoron.
As a Catholic, I grew up listening to the solemn hymns sung during Mass. And I do love haunting Latin songs such as “Adoramus Te” and “Ave Maria.” But when I really want an uplift in my day, I turn to K-LOVE-fm to find inspiration in the latest popular worship music.
So WWJDT? I think he would be grooving to some TobyMac, Petra, Mercy Me or Big Daddy Weave. He would be enjoying Need to Breathe’s passionate “Something Beautiful” or The Afters’ sweet “Beautiful Love.” And since I am now out of the closet about my love for Christian music, if you see me driving along belting out a tune, you can assume it’s something to the effect of “Lord, I lift your name on high.”