I’ve written about songwriting before, but it’s still a huge issue in the musical worship of our churches. It’s been awhile since I’ve led worship on a regular basis in a church – but when I think back to the songs I used to lead, they were all very individualistic, focused on “me and Jesus” and “my” salvation. I don’t remember many songs that spoke about the kingdom of God, or any other pressing issues in the lives of believers. Even the progressive churches and their hymns – what about any creative songwriting…? It just isn’t happening in our churches, from what I can tell. There are certainly exceptions, and I think songwriters like Derek Webb and others are bringing some good words to the church.
So I was very excited to hear about “Songs for a Revolution of Hope.” This is a collection of songs, written by author and activist Brian McLaren, performed by a group of artists and songwriters, including my friends April and Nuc Vega, and Posido Vega or Harp 46. With some of these songs, we have the chance to bring concepts of justice, peace and the concern for the environment into the worship lives of our churches. I’ve had a chance to listen to a few of the songs, and there are quite a few that I could see myself using in a worship setting.
One of my favorite songs on the album is “Atheist” (video here). Here are the first few stanzas:
I am an atheist when it comes to the god of violent jihad.
I am an atheist when it comes to the lord who converts by the sword
I am an atheist when it comes to the mission of politicians using religion as ammunition.
I believe in you – the artist of trees and galaxies
I believe in you – the poet of oceans and rivers and streams
I believe in you – the god of compassion who calls us to action
I believe in you.