I was excited upon first being approached to write for this blog – I love the EQUIP conference, I love that it presents decent bible teaching, and I love that this is a blog for thinkers – it’s a privilege to be asked to contribute. Except, my capacity for thinking seems to have shrunk over the last little while, somewhere between planning a wedding and heading back into full-time work. So when Siân Lim first suggested The Scriptures That Testify About Me: Jesus and the Gospel in the Old Testament, “basically a bunch of sermons which attempt biblical theology”, I baulked at the thought. This post would be due in a week!
“Got anything lighter?”
“How about the new Sovereign Grace CD, Grace Has Come?”
I agreed, but in reality my heart had sunk even further. Because, dear reader, here is my confession: I don’t listen to Christian music outside of church/conferences/those times when you subject me to Rebecca St James, Mercy Me, Garage Hymnal, et al in your car. Don’t get me wrong, I adore music and singing at church, I just never have the inclination to purchase a Christian CD and listen to it for pleasure. My prejudice tells me, whether rightly or not, that I’ll only end up cringing over acoustic melodies and cheesy lyrics. I know many of you will read this and be indignant at what is surely my ignorance of good Christian music, but it is what it is. And so this month on the EQUIP book club blog, you will be following a CD review AND my own personal experiment: can I be ‘converted’ to not only listen to but also value Christian music in my own time?
The first time I pressed play on my freshly downloaded copy of Grace Has Come, I was introduced to the album with the solo guitar strumming and accompanying male voice I expected. I reluctantly allowed the first two tracks to provide the soundtrack to the first 10 minutes of my train ride to work. They washed right over me. So far, so unmoved. (Really, am I allowed to say this?! Editor: Yes, you are… we’re all about honesty!)
48 hours later I pressed play again. This time I simply wanted to get through the album, so I listened to it as I walked around Fairfield on my errands. It was in Woolworths, picking apples for my husband that I had my first positive thought: ‘Hey! I’ve been listening to this for about half an hour now. It’s been kind of pleasant to have it playing in the background as I go about life…’ I’d still not thought deeply about what the lyrics actually meant, or how closely they followed the book of Romans (which the album is based on), but I believed I’d made some steady progress in just finding some enjoyment in the music. It wasn’t just enjoyment though, it was a comfortable, benevolent background presence. It calmed me more than my preferred musical brands of indie angst or bluesy melancholy. I began to wonder why.
Perhaps… I’m finally catching on?
About our contributor, Christine Bransdon: is married to Thom, grew up in Fairfield in Sydney's west and has stayed there, is counting down the days until she can leave behind her job in the public service and study God's word full-time, and only gets to contribute to this blog because she goes to the same church as the EQUIP chair.