This weekend, as I was cleaning the house, I began warbling, as I do. I have always been a singer, so it is fairly normal to hear me singing or humming in the car, shower, around the house, and even at work. My husband, hearing what I was singing asked me why I was singing a Christian song if I was no longer a Christian. "I will probably always sing these songs," I replied. "They are a piece of me and my childhood."
I think of it like this: I like to sing nursery rhymes too. My particular favorites are the one about the Kookaburra in a gum tree and Jack and Jill. I sing them to my nephews and niece. Just because I sing them though doesn't mean that I believe there were real children named Jack and Jill or that a Kookaburra will laugh at me in a gum tree. The songs are nice, I like the melody, and I see them as a shared history passed down from my mother and her mother before her. Amazing Grace and even modern Christian worship songs hold the same place in my heart. They are the songs of my childhood. I sing them when I feel comfortable or when I am happy, not because I believe in them, but because they remind me of happy times. To remove them would be like trying to extract certain words from my vocabulary.
Also, some of the stories behind the hymns and songs really are inspirational. I can't prescribe to Christianity, but am glad that a man named John Newton found faith and turned away from the slave trade. Not only that, but he spoke out against it, based on his newfound faith. There is something beautiful in that. Same goes for Horatio Spafford, Joseph Scriven, and Andrew Perronet. I understand the history behind these songs and appreciate their beauty as works of art.
Modern Christian music is a little different in that I feel like most artists and musicians get sucked into that giant record label machine that is more about money than producing anything of substance. I felt this way even as a teenager and haven't listened to Christian radio in well over a decade. The songs are usually didactic, un-theologically sound (if that matters to you), poorly written, and what my husband refers to as "Christian sex songs". To clarify, these are songs that sound like they could be sung to your lover before heading for the bedroom (or while in the bedroom), they just add the word Jesus, Lord, or God in there so you know who we are making love to...errr...worshiping. Every now and then a good one comes out, but often the good ones aren't the ones we like to sing in church. Instead we sing over and over, like some horrible chant, about how God "takes my breath away" or "brings the fire" or "how all things work together for his good." These songs get stuck in my head the way a bad Britney Spears song does and I desperately turn on Pandora in hopes that something, anything, will replace it. There are good ones to be sure, but usually I like them because they sound different, are more intricate than modern worship songs, and take a certain level of skill from the musicians and singers to play.
I will probably always sing these songs. It may make my husband uncomfortable, but they are a part of me and some of them are quite beautiful. I may not be worshiping a God when I am singing them, but I am singing with all my heart.
This is a personal, but secret, blog archiving my deconversion from a Christian to a non-believer.