I home teach some young single guys, and for Christmas I put together a CD of interesting covers of the Christmas songs from our hymnbook. Last month, they said it would be great to have a rockin’ Sabbath album for the rest of the year. As I thought about it, it seemed to me there were a fair number of songs on my iPod with religious themes. Despite stories about Mick Jagger on an airplane or witnessing demonic possessions at concerts, rock and R&B musicians have explored Christian and more generally religious themes in a way that is inspiring and thoughtful. I decided to put together a playlist from my own collection, and I set up some rules:
* the artist must be known for secular music generally, so no Christian rock or gospel choirs, as groovy as they might be.
* the song had to be devotional, however vaguely, and with a minimum of irony. ‘Say a Little Prayer’ doesn’t qualify, nor does ‘Jesus, Etc.’ or ‘Dear God.’