Monday, December 15, 2008

Your Favorite Cross-Over Song


Well, judging by the amount of hits my blog got vs. the amount of comments on the last post, perhaps the ideas were tough to come by. So, I'll expand the brainstorming to include any secular-to-sacred cross-over. Here's what I mean...


I recently did a rare thing of preaching through a song (for more, see post "Singing vs. Preaching"). The scripture reading was Romans 8:31-39 ("...nothing can separate us from the love of God..."). And for the sermon I sang the Bob Dylan (as popularized by Garth Brooks) song "To Make You Feel My Love." As I sang, I had images on the screen of Jesus carrying the cross ("I'd go hungry, I'd go black and blue / I'd go crawling down the avenue, / there's nothing that I wouldn't do / to make you feel my love"), walking on the water, and of course, being crucified. You get the idea. I do this rarely, and only in the context of a consistently challenging and serious preaching/teaching ministry. But it proved to be life-changing for a few people, really breaking through where more "traditional" sermons had not. Of course, it wasn't the sermon that broke through but the Spirit of the Living God working through the story of redemption. But music helped tell that story, and it wasn't a hymn or praise song, but a love song written by Bob Dylan.


So, in that vein, what "secular" song does that for you? What "non-Christian" song do you hear and think, "This is exactly how I feel about God," or "...how I think God feels about us. This tells the story!" It's always been interesting to me how narrow Christian radio is. They won't play U2 doing "Beautiful Day" or Peter Gabriel doing "In Your Eyes," but they will play "Christian" artists doing those exact songs. Baffling! So what would you program on your "spiritual/Christian" radio station?

12 comments:

A Berean said...

The one song I always felt could be a worship song - not to sing with other believers - is "The Wonder of You" by Elvis Presley.

Karen said...

very third day of you mi Berto... I don't know if Josh Groban's songs are intended to be spiritual, but he is not classified as "christian" so maybe they count... but his song, "remember when it rained" is really amazing.. as well as "You lift me up" but I'm totally a JG fan :)

robert c. pelfrey said...

Nice choices. The new Rock n Roll Hall of Fame annex in NYC has a copy of Elvis' Bible with some very interesting and deep notes in it. That guy seemed conflicted but did some very spiritual stuff. And I've heard "You Raise Me Up" done in worship settings on a few occasions...very powerful.

Ryan Crabb said...

Really... no U2? Are we just assuming they are a Christian Band... Best Crossover Song of ALL TIME- Where the Streets have no names, closely followed by Still havent found what i am looking for it... Robert you are slipping friend.

robert c. pelfrey said...

Hey, Crabb, watch it! I really was considering most of U2's stuff intentionally "Christian." Also, I didn't want to list a bunch of my favorites and steal others' (such as your own) thunder. Definitely the ones you mentioned--I've used "Still Haven't Found..." with Andre Crouch's "Soon and Very Soon" in past worship times. I've also used "40" and would like "Bad" somehow associated with my funeral--"I'm wide awake! I'm wide awake! I'm not sleeping..." When it comes to U2 crossovers it's pretty much a "take your pick" thing.

Anonymous said...

Try "All I Ask of You", from Phantom of the Opera.

robert c. pelfrey said...

Broadway can be an interesting place to get crossover songs. There's "JC Superstar" and "Godspell" etc. But I've always wanted to have a choir do "Seasons of Love" from Rent. Beautiful song. Broadway opens this topic up even more!

Paul said...

How about I'll Stand by You (The Pretenders, I believe).

They actually play that on a local Christian/Family-friendly radio station where I live, so this is not completely original on my part; however, I do think it belongs on the list.

robert c. pelfrey said...

"I'll Stand By You" is a beautiful song. Makes me think a bit of "You've Got a Friend" (Carol King and James Taylor). My Christian band used to do JT's version of "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)," another good one. Driving home yesterday I heard another good crossover song, Huey Lewis and the News' "Power of Love"--great song and great message, especially when it says, "It's strong and it's sudden, it'll be cruel sometimes, but it might just save your life..."

PhD.umper said...

We should totally do JCSuperstar. That would rock.

robert c. pelfrey said...

Yeah, Superstar is a good little pageant...it could easily be thrown together in a week or two of decent rehearsals! And casting is no problem.

Heard "Shine" by Collective Soul on the radio this morning--good crossover tune ("Oh, heaven let your light shine down...")

A Berean said...
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