This week our authors answer the question, “Do you have entertainment or leisure favorites that encourage or support our Catholic faith? What are your top 3?” Today we hear Zoey DiMauro answer with some of her favorite Christian tunes. If you’ve missed the other posts in this series, be sure to check out Brendan Gotta and his “friend” Netflix or Fr. Searby’s advice on how to approach movies as a Catholic Culture Pro.
By: Zoey DiMauro, Guest Contributor
Anyone who knows me knows I love music. Really, who doesn’t? Many a time I have gotten strange looks from people in the cars next to me as I shamelessly rock out to songs on the radio. But listening to modern music can often prove problematic for Catholics.
As a friend of mine once wisely said: For every “I Will Wait for You” (by Mumford and Sons), there are a dozen secular songs that glorify things I can’t condone.
I still won’t write off secular music entirely; many times I hear artists’ tunes searching for truth and authentic love. But more often than not, I’m forced to change the radio station in search of a better song.
That’s what makes Christian music so refreshing. When it’s done right, it’s good, catchy music that reminds us of our ultimate purpose in life: to love and serve God. Here’s a shout-out to three of my favorite Christian songs and artists:
“Galaxies” by Owl City
I first fell in love with Owl City when his hit “Fireflies” came out a few years ago. Perhaps due to his strong Christian message, his subsequent albums have not received as much radio play, but they’re just as fun and danceable. Plus, they often speak about his deep love and need for God.
Owl City is known for his clever wordplay and quirky lyrics, but the strength of this song really comes from the infectious beat. The words relay the simple truth of Christianity:
He is the saving grace of the galaxies
If you’re in the mood for a more traditional hymn, Owl City also does a beautiful piano version of “In Christ Alone.”
“Be My Escape” by Relient K
Relient K is probably my favorite Christian band for the wide variety of topics their songs cover, including their relationship with God. Their sound is more garage-band than the synthesized pop-y beats of Owl City, though in recent years the two groups have collaborated to create the hybrid “Terminals,” and other songs.
The lyrics of “Be My Escape” tell the relatable story of running to God from our own brokenness.
And I’ve been housing all this doubt and insecurity
And I’ve been locked inside that house
All the while You hold the key
I’m begging you to be my escape
But my favorite line is this:
The beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair
What a powerful nugget of theology hidden in a pop song! If my life was fair I would have nothing as the result of my own sinfulness. However, I enjoy God’s love because of His abundant mercy. He is my escape.
Though the band style has matured in the past years, if you feel like going down a YouTube rabbit hole, check out the best of its angsty, teen-aged tunes like “I So Hate Consequences” and “Sadie Hawkins Dance.”
“My Life Be Like (Ooh Aah)” by Grits
Perhaps my least favorite thing about Christian music is that many of the songs seem to have a distinctive, campy style. Yet God gave us every genre and type of music to glorify Him. The hip hop of the Grits breaks from that mold with the undeniably cool song about the struggles of living.
It’s times like these that make me say
Lord if you see me please come my way
…says the rapper. He sings about the human experience, and the need for God through it all.
The fear of never fallin’ in love
And the tears after losin’ the feelings of what you thought love was
Like the dirt still up under the rug
Bad characteristics covered in Christ’s blood
The joy of new birth and the pain of growin’ up
The bliss between givin’ my all and givin’ up
The song is full of instances where the rapper professes his love for God and just as quickly finds himself falling into sin.
I believe there’s a bride that’s stunning
And I believe in the Kingdom Coming
So why oh why do I trip and stumble?
And ooh aah as commitment crumbles?
I can’t believe that I’m here again
Everyone who has come out of Confession and yelled at their sibling a minute later can understand what Grits is talking about.
Kudos to you if you manage to memorize the whole tricky rap.
Last year for Lent, I stopped listening to my beloved radio and only heard Christian songs on my ride to and from work. Maybe as a challenge pick one a day a week to listen to only Christian songs, and see how easily this form of entertainment can turn the mind toward worshiping God.
Bonus Tracks: C’mon, who can pick just three?
“You are Holy (Prince of Peace)” by Michael W. Smith (…which will forever remind me of the boy and girls singing separate parts at WorkCamp!)
“Me Without You” by TobyMac
“Anybody Wanna Pray” by CeCe Winans
“Hold Me” by Jamie Grace
“Lost Get Found” by Britt Nicole
Zoey DiMauro is a graduate of the The College of William & Mary and a Staff Writer for the Arlington Catholic Herald.