Skip to content
Children learning @ Catholic Online School Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Comment: Why I Like Christian Music

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

I just finished reading the article by my dear friend and Editor-in-Chief Deacon Keith Fournier on Christian music and wanted to submit a counter-point to his fine commentary.

Crowd at BBQ with Montana Ranch and Cattle meat As a big thank you for your service to our Church, Montana Ranch and Cattle offers you a special discount. Enjoy 25% off ‘The Greatest Meat on Earth’.

By the Grace of God, with the help of Montana Ranch and Cattle, Catholic Online School has become one of the fastest-growing, online K-Adult schools in the world. The school now has over 915,000 student enrollments from 193 countries. Click to Save 25% Now >

Highlights

By Randy Sly
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
5/6/2009 (1 decade ago)

Published in Music

WASHINGTON (Catholic Online) - Like Deacon Keith, I am a baby boomer who spent time playing in garage bands in the late 60's and early 70's always in search of a song that would put us on the charts. We wouldn't even mind being "one hit wonders" as long as we had a hit!

I also became involved in the music industry as a Top 40 Disk Jockey and was quite convinced I would spend my life in radio, moving up into programming followed by station management or something related to the music industry. As with the deacon, "oldies" elicit powerful memories. For many, I can still see the record label and remember how long the song lasted.

The Vietnam War caught up with me and I enlisted in the United States Navy. After my 'Nam tour, I was stationed on board a destroyer home-ported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It was there my life - and vocational calling - would be changed forever. I encountered a music group called "The Certain Sounds" from Van Nuys First Baptist Church, who were in Hawaii on a short-term missions trip.

After listening to a beach concert one Sunday morning, a couple of the band's members talked with me about my relationship with Jesus Christ. We spent hours over the next few days in discussions about the Lord. Somewhere in the midst of all this sharing I knew what I had to do; I must dedicate my whole life - all that I know of myself to all that I know of God - and begin to walk as a disciple.

My conversion was dramatic to say the least. I went from extreme indifference to a passionate commitment to the Lord. I also knew I was called from the very beginning to serve him full-time and began my spiritual and academic formation as soon as I was discharged from the Navy.

My entire Christian walk, since 1971, has been accompanied by a variety of songs and musicians from those who were a part of the contemporary Christian music scene. These newly discovered troubadours joined my already eclectic taste which included classical, celtic, folk, rock, and jazz.

I also loved the liturgical settings that were a part of my upbringing in a somewhat "high" Episcopal church. This wonderful Anglican deposit of songs and music left an indelible mark.

During my twenty years in the Methodist world, I began a personal journey back toward historic Christianity which led me to become one of the early leaders in the Charismatic Episcopal Church and, ultimately, a convert to the Catholic Faith.

In the CEC, we used a combination of contemporary Christian songs with more traditional settings and hymns. It was an interesting integration. When attending a Charismatic Catholic praise gathering or Mass I find myself at home in this wonderful world of worship expression.

I must say that I am not a fan of what I would call "experience" music a la "Jesus is my lawnmower, he keeps me green and trim." Yet, if the lyrics are orthodox, when married to a simple tune worn in the heart, we join a wonderful choir of composers and lyricists from across the halls of Church history.

Each music form has its reason to be. As a huge folk and celtic music enthusiast, I love being immersed in a world of songs that express the joy of the human heart amidst the normal course of ordinary times. That's why folk music is called folk music. These are songs that may not be ready for primetime at the Met, but they are a part of an oral tradition that carries the reality of life at a point in time.

Much of what we label as Contemporary Christian Music, whether we are talking about Randy Stonehill, the Archers, Andre Crouch, and Love Song from my generation or Third Day, Caedman's Call, etc from more recent days, is Christian music a la folk. It allows us to celebrate and cement our walk and way in Christ with great creativity.

Some of this music will be sung for a season and then forgotten. Every once in awhile, however, something timeless has the power to stick around and even end up in one of our hymnals. This happened to great men and women throughout church history.

We can get in trouble, however, when we allow this music to supplant rather than support the great hymns and liturgical settings that have stood the test of time. Those works transcend generations and cultures, forming the corpus for music in the Mass.

One thing that I have learned from immersing myself in the beautiful liturgies of our Catholic faith is that the Mass is not about personal preference. The Mass is the meeting point for all tastes, types, preferences, and perspectives. Here we surrender all of those things that we might share together in One Body of Christ.

A Mass is Charismatic not because of the use of contemporary songs but Christ's grace. He comes in the Word and particularly in the Eucharist where He is present to us body, blood, soul and divinity.

Yet, when I'm sitting with a group of youth around a campfire, I may only have a guitar present and a simple song that offers praise to God and glorifies His Name. The music fits the time and place.

That's the world of music according to the "folks." It is a world of more than listeners, but participants.

------

Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online. He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

---


'Help Give every Student and Teacher FREE resources for a world-class Moral Catholic Education'


Copyright 2021 - Distributed by Catholic Online

Crowd at BBQ with Montana Ranch and Cattle meat As a big thank you for your service to our Church, Montana Ranch and Cattle offers you a special discount. Enjoy 25% off ‘The Greatest Meat on Earth’.

By the Grace of God, with the help of Montana Ranch and Cattle, Catholic Online School has become one of the fastest-growing, online K-Adult schools in the world. The school now has over 915,000 student enrollments from 193 countries. Click to Save 25% Now >

Join the Movement
When you sign up below, you don't just join an email list - you're joining an entire movement for Free world class Catholic education.



Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!