In Thoughts on Writing

When I was a newbie Christian songwriter, I was filled with an evangelical vim and vigor that came from being raised Southern Baptist and thinking I knew everything. Those two qualities are not inter-dependent. There are plenty of modest Southern Baptists out there, who have no delusions about their own omniscience. Mostly, I was full of myself – like a lot of young people are. I thought I knew a whole lot more than I actually did know. And evangelism had been hammered into me from birth, it seems.

As a result of this unpleasant combination of evangelical fervor and unfounded confidence, the majority of the songs I wrote back then had a very similar theme: “Get right with God.” Some of them even contained dire warnings for the listener that did not get right with God. It was as if I thought I needed to put the plan of salvation in every lyric I wrote.

Now, there is nothing wrong about a Christian songwriter writing songs with an evangelical theme. After all, the sacrifice of jesus on the cross is at the very core of the Christian experience. However, as I have learned in the years since, there’s more to the creative Christian life than the admirable subject of evangelism.

What are some of the other themes that are waiting for the Christian writer to address? How about freedom? Personal relationships? Mercy? The Nature of God? God’s innumerable gifts to us, His children? Family? The Body of Christ? Telling the truth? Our sinful nature? Pride? Vanity? The human condition through the eyes of a Believer? Romantic love through the eyes of a Believer? Sacrificial love? Brotherly love?

The list goes on and on.

I mention this because so many of the songs I see coming from young Christian writers these days are about one thing only: praise (or worship, or whatever we’re calling it this week). Just like evangelism, praise (or worship) is a worthy subject for the Christian creative person. But there is so, so, so very much more out there to write about than “I love you, Lord. You are totally awesome.”

Take a look at your catalog of songs and see how varied your subject matters are. Maybe it’s time to spice up your writing with a little variety.  Don’t limit yourself to just one subject. If you do, you’ll miss out on a lot of wonderful writing experiences.

Comments
  • Charlie
    Reply

    Thanks for the reminder and varied ideas. Coming with a fundemental baptist background I felt almost rebellious as I began to introduce worship anthems to our choir collection. (No worries in the end though, it seems familiarity can also be an unintentional limitation in music selection as well as in writing.)

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