Lately I've had some people close to me ask me questions along the lines of, “When are you going to make music for God?” or “It's great what you do, but it would be even better if you were a Christian artist.”
When I started writing music, it became a passion of mine to continue to become better as a songwriter. Much like poetry, film, television, I realized that with an audience there comes a sense of standing behind what you write. The songs become a reflection of who you are and what you feel about life. Some professional musicians view the music industry as any would a small business. They want to create a product and a service that people desire. Others focus on the quality of the lyrics such as Graham Nash, who I once heard say, “You have an obligation to your audience to continue to become better at your craft.” Most musicians I have met strive to accomplish both of these in hopes that what resounds from their voice and instruments is professional, enjoyable, profitable, and creative.
With all of this in mind, I began and continue to write songs. To those who know me best, know that I love to challenge others on their views of art and expression in the Church. Those who call themselves “Christians” must reflect Christ; that is a given. We are who we are because we believe in the life, qualities, and worldviews to which we hope God is continually changing us to become. Through prayer, through struggle, through joy; we can hope to live honestly among each other, living each day with strength and newness of life.
I never wanted to be a musician. As a Christian, the church puts pressure on you to write a certain way. “If God is truly in your life, shouldn't the ONLY songs that comes out of your mouth be praise and worship?” Of course we don't actually believe this, but it is usually the way we treat one another. If a husband writes a song about how much he enjoys his wife, is God apart of that? If a teenager writes a silly song to entertain his younger siblings, is God apart of that?
I think most of us would agree that this is a bit obvious. God can be apart and within all of that.
I want to make two things clear today.
I write music out of my heart. I write songs that frustrate me and inspire me. The reason I write is because I want to bring out or highlight something in life that I know has value.
I pray that people see God through that.
Here are the songs to my last album and here is what they are about.
The Activity Book (Religion is beautiful and deep)
Backyard Lemon Tree (Tribute to one of my best friends and his wife)
Start In Summerland (Encouraging people to travel around Canada)
Trampoline (Stop being busy. Take time for things that matter)
Show Off My Chivalry (Strive and look for opportunities to be chivalrous...)
Freak Out (Shift your focus. Replace a thankful heart with worry)
The Hopeless Romantic (Tribute to another of my best friends. He constantly challenges the way I think about love)
My Heart's Not Breaking (Our world needs our attention, teaching, and most of all our loving hearts)
Sombre (how winter affects the way we feel)
Phantom Bell (sounds trigger your memories, much like how I still here my grandmother's words ringing in my ear, “In my Father's House there are many mansions”)
Do you see God in those songs? I hope you can.
I am not writing this to prove a point or to start arguments. I simply wanted to share my heart.
First off, I hope that I continually am challenged by my family and friends on who am I as a person and how I treat people. I hope that my words and actions continue to point toward my faith in God. This includes my job/adventures as a musician.
Second, I hope that you are challenged by the way you see art from those who have faith in God.
So for those who ask me “When are you going to make music for God?” I would respond with, I have been and I will continue to pray for his guidance for however long he would have me making music. Please feel free to pray for me as well.