"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Christian Contemporary Music

Generally I run with a pretty "high" Anglican crowd. Among these friends are those for whom "Christian Contemporary Music" is pretty much synonymous with "wretched." But I must confess that I enjoy a good deal of CCM. In fact, I have frequently participated in worship services where CCM was the preferred music format and I felt drawn closer to our Lord from the experience. Please don't get me wrong--Sunday morning Mass is not the best place for this sort of thing, IMHO. (My own tastes run strongly toward the classics--Gregorian chant, Byrd, Palestrina, Wesley, Neale, etc.--for Sunday Eucharist.) But CCM can be most helpful for some people, including myself, in fostering personal devotion to our Savior Jesus Christ. It is a normal part of my own devotional life and the pre-sets on my car radio include the major DFW area CCM stations. Here are a few of my favorite songs from YouTube for those who might not have much previous experience with the genre. (Note: some of these videos were produced by the artists themselves, while others are "home brew." I do not endorse the videos' content, per se [a fair amount of it is a bit schmaltzy]). But give the music a listen and let me know what you think (feel free to conclude that I have no taste!).

Nicole Mullen "Redeemer"
Natalie Grant "Held"
Rich Mullins "Hold Me, Jesus"
Jody McBrayer "To Ever Live without Me"
Phillips, Craig, and Dean "Crucified with Christ"
Phillips, Craig, and Dean "When God Ran"
Newsboys "He Reigns"
Newsboys "You Are My King"
Avalon "Orphans of God"
Rich Mullins "Sometimes by Step"

Amy Grant "El Sheddai" -- a classic from the early days of CCM
4 Him "The Basics of Life"
Sandi Patti "We Shall Behold Him" -- another classic from the early days

Just in case anyone ever doubted, I am sure this post will prove that I am not a "purebred" Anglo-Catholic. I prefer to call myself an "evangelical Catholic." I have been told that deep down I am essentially an evangelical with a high sacramental theology and an obsession with the Fathers. And I must admit that my theological "default settings" probably tend to the evangelical side almost as much as they do the Catholic. Its amazing that my Anglo-Papalist friends here in Fort Worth put up with me!


Anonymous Jill C. said...

Variety, they say, is the spice of life. I commend you for being so brave as to share your appreciation of some CCM with us. ;) (When you get a chance someday while driving in your car, tune in to 89.7 Power FM. My daughter-in-law is the weekday, mid-day "radio personality" -- they used to call them DJs -- for KVRK, and this is the type of music I often listen to!)

5:13 PM  
Blogger texanglican said...

Will do, ma'am!

5:16 PM  
Blogger Devon W said...

Father, you have no taste.

Ok, just kidding. I actually like some of that, though on occasion the lyrics leave a lot to be desired. I also like Newsboys, in fact I saw them in concert once.

This is the song that was sung at my grandfather's funeral (not by this band, but the song is nice):
Blessed Assurance

Not sure if you've heard of Rebecca St. James, or care for her, but her first CD is pretty good. Here is one of my favorite songs, though the studio version is better than the concert:
Go and Sin No More

In fact, if you'd like I can bring the CD for you to borrow. It's worth a listen.

Also, it's comforting to know more about your background. I don't feel so alone.

1:29 AM  
Blogger MM said...

"I have been told that deep down I am essentially an evangelical with a high sacramental theology and an obsession with the Fathers."

- That makes two of us, Father.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Father Nelson said...

Get me wood for the fire!


1:38 PM  
Blogger Julian said...

Thank you for coming out! Good job. But you do still seem to be using "evangelical" and "catholic" as a false dichotomy. People tend to commonly use those words to describe the culture and atmosphere of worship, but in their true senses, as I am sure you would agree, they are completely compatible and integral to the Christian life. We're not in Germany; it's not like we have to automatically think "Protestant" and "Roman Catholic" when we say "evangelical" and "catholic."
In any case, you don't have to be so apologetic about your tastes in music - especially when you're so clearly in favor of stately old music for Eucharistic worship. Do people tease you about this or what?

12:50 AM  
Blogger J. Gordon Anderson said...

Hey Father,

True catholicism is evangelical, so you just go ahead and be who God made you to be! :-)

I don't care for CCM so much mainly because so much of it is slickly produced and commercial, but I realize that that is not the artists' faults inn most cases. I once played guitar and sang at wedding in Nashville attended by none other than Stephen Curtis Chapman! And afterwards he and his wife came up and said I did a great job (though he didn't offer me help getting a record deal).

I like the old country gospel music classics played by Hank Williams, the Country Gentlemen, and more. I play that stuff all the time down at the homeless shelter here in Vero Beach! It is great stuff. God uses all types of music, and people, to accomplish His will and purpose inn the world.


6:39 PM  
Blogger CMWoodall said...


My contempt for CCM is that they refuse to play music from bands outside their labels who are clearly believers. They could spice up their play-lists if they we're not being told what to play.
They also play the very same music everyday. That is painful. For instance, nearly all the songs you mention were popular within the genre 10 years ago, and they still get airtime on current channels!
Much (perhaps not the ones you listed) of the popular music is well described by one of my seminary prof.'s, "these people sound as if they want to have sex with Jesus!"

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's such a Blessing to hear that the gospel community has a world class gospel guitarist & Singer.
He's becoming quite well known.
His name is GW Williams,many people say he's ranked as one of the top 5 living guitar players in the world today.
It's good to know that us Christians have people posted out there serving in Gods Army from all walks of life.
Below is a link I found at his web site, I ask if I could post this around to help spread the news of His Gospel Music and GW said it was ok with him.

Rock,Blues,Jazz Guitarist GW Williams

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The comments posted about GW Williams are part of a viral marketing campaign. This person has a home-made recording on Amazon.com . You can listen to samples and see why it's clear that they had to resort to this sort of thing.
Reference to Eric Clapton, John Mayer or other prominent non-fictional guitarists seem to be drawing him in.
Please feel free to delete this entry along with his.
This seems like a nice place. It's too bad he's decided to invade it.
We've been doing battle with him and his multiple personalities on Topix. There are several indications in his posts and IP addresses that point to him being incarcerated quite possibly at Folsom prison near Sacramento.

Again, I apologize for barging in. Please feel free to block me and this other person as well

1:52 PM  

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