62.1 F
Thursday, May 23, 2024
HomeCommentaryMercyland: an album with spiritual integrity

Mercyland: an album with spiritual integrity


Related stories

Chiefs Kicker Butker’s speech at trad-Catholic college sparks outrage and support

Uncover the controversy surrounding Harrison Butker's commencement speech at Benedictine College and the support he has received despite it.

Get mad, be sad and get busy: Navigating life’s unexpected turns

Navigating life's unexpected turns: A personal journey of growth and resilience in the face of challenges and disappointments.

Pope Francis calls all people to care for the earth

Discover the impact of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si', which emphasizes the importance of earth care and urges action against climate change.

Spiritual Beings: Explore Baha’i Views on Life Beyond Death

Learn about the Baha'i belief in spiritual beings and the next world. Explore the concept of life after death and the freedom of the soul.

Harrison Butker’s damaging commencement speech exposes his privilege

Find out why Harrison Butker's recent comments as a commencement speaker have generated so much controversy.

Our Sponsors


I have been listening to “Christian music” since I was in my mother’s womb.

Most of the time, I didn’t know it.

My father and mother, devout Roman Catholics, played Bach, Mozart, great choral classics. I heard Gregorian chant when we visited Benedictine monasteries, and sang “Guitar Mass” songs in my parochial school.  I sang along with Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell.

Imagine my surprise, as a 12-year-old girl, when reading the libretto of Handel’s Messiah for the first time, (so I could sing along with the words), discovering that it was SCRIPTURE! Who knew?! How cool!

Over the years I listened to the St. Louis Jesuits and the rest of that guitar playing crowd, changing the Catholic music scene.

I became a Protestant later in my life and dove head first into Protestant hymnody. I  learned about Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, and Sandi Patti. Barlow Girl, Third Day, Amy Grant.

And I discovered a lot of it I didn’t really like. I found myself apologizing for a lot of what I listened to…nice tune, but oh the theology! I walked away from it, taking refuge in others; the powerful lyrics and banjo playing of Mumford and Sons, the songs of Brandi Carlisle, Mary Chapin Carpenter , or RENT to name a few.

So, I was curious to listen to Mercyland: Hymns for the Rest of Us.

The reviewer (whom I read in The Christian Century) mentioned that as he had grown in his Christian faith, his theological tastes had changed and he needed musicians who had spiritual integrity and a willingness to change too. He mentioned this one.

From The Civil Wars, to Emmylou Harris this album is my idea of cool! I swear my absolute favorite song is from Shawn Mullins, called Give God the Blues.

“God don’t hate the Muslims, God don’t hate the Jews, God don’t hate the Christians, but we all give God the blues. God don’t hate the Atheists, Buddhists or the Hindus, God loves everybody, but we all give God the blues.”

It’s a blues-y song, both funny and poignant. The album is full of such earthiness and beauty in its contributors; Emmylou’s song, “ I Didn’t Know it was You” touched me powerfully.

Now, I have shared my new favorite, and it has me wondering: “Tell me, as a person of faith, what are you listening to?  What is speaking to your spirit?”

Andy CastroLang
Andy CastroLang
Andy CastroLang is a recently retired pastor who joyfully served in the United Church of Christ. She is deeply committed to civil discourse between individuals and throughout our community; in interreligious conversation, private conversation, intergenerational conversation and, yes, even in political conversation. She has been a supporter of FāVS News since its inception because she supports this creative effort at thoughtful community conversation.

Our Sponsors

Previous article
Next article


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Tracy Simmons
10 years ago

Thanks for sharing this Andy!

When I grew up I was only allowed to listen to Christian music (K-LYT FM!). Now, honestly, when I hear Third Day, Steven Curtis Chapman, Audio Adrenaline, etc. I cringe. Bad memories, I guess.

So learning about this album is such a delight! Finding the spirituality in music that’s not necessarily “Christian” is great. It’s everywhere, actually, we just don’t acknowledge it enough do we?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x