Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sept. 12, 2014, column:
Faith is more than music
By Mike Haynes
            I don’t listen to Christian music.
            It isn’t that I don’t appreciate the radio stations and bands and singers of all music styles that present the message of Jesus in song. It just doesn’t keep my attention. And I’m not bored easily.
            A lot of the contemporary Christian music that I hear sounds the same: kind of whiney with no real tune. The words are meaningful, but they just go up and down the musical scale and up and down again. It’s similar to the modern country music that I try to avoid.
            Spiritual music does inspire people. I’ve experienced Christian inspiration, often in conjunction with music. I suppose I just feel like I’m convinced of the truth and majesty of God and don’t need regular reminders coming through my car speakers or my smartphone.
            That’s a little cynical, like occasional thoughts that I don’t need to hear sermons because the pastor is “preaching to the choir.” Listening to the gospel from the pulpit never should get old, but I’ll admit I sometimes get complacent and think I’ve heard it all before.
            I should get past that attitude about hearing sermons, but I don’t feel so guilty about not putting my radio on K-Love. I love the message, but I get more inspiration from reading. The Bible first, and writers such as C.S. Lewis, Philip Yancey, Joy Jordan-Lake. Christianity Today magazine. I know more about Christian writers than about Third Day or TobyMac. (I had to Google “Christian musicians” to recall those names.)
            I do like selected praise music, having gotten involved in the Walk to Emmaus in the 1990s. Some of that inspiration I mentioned has come from songs such as David Ruis’ “We Will Dance” and “Shine, Jesus, Shine,” written, surprisingly, by 1960s British rocker Cliff Richard.
            Kathy and I both love to hear “He Reigns” by Newsboys, “Revelation Song” by Phillips, Craig and Dean and “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe. But day to day, I’m listening to news and talk radio, the satellite ’60s station or classic rock on the Eagle.
            In worship, I like a mix. We shouldn’t jettison old hymns such as “Blessed Assurance” by blind Fanny Crosby, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by Methodist Charles Wesley or, of course, “Amazing Grace,” but some loud guitars and drums are OK, too. Throw in Bill Gaither’s “He Touched Me” and a little “I’ll Fly Away.”
            In the car, though, I’m more likely to get a Beatles or Bon Jovi fix.
            So when Sunday school classmates get excited about seeing Casting Crowns at the civic center next month, I’ll quietly be glad for them – and thankful for my Paul McCartney tickets.        
                                                  * * *

            Mike Haynes teaches journalism at Amarillo College. He can be reached at AC, the Amarillo Globe-News or Go to for other recent columns.