God Gave Rock and Roll to You

by Tammy on August 27, 2018

This post may well be all over the place today, so please bear with me.

Yesterday at church, we had a missions focus. A group recently went to Honduras and some of them talked about their experiences. After they finished, the pastor showed a short clip from the movie, “End of the Spear.” If you are not familiar with the story of Jim Elliott and the group of missionaries he was with when he died, I really encourage you to look into it. The short version of the story, though, is this:
Jim was basically a newlywed when he traveled to Ecuador to minister to a group of natives called the Quichuas. His desire to reach a more secluded tribe, the Waodoni, eventually led to him and four companions being martyred on January 8th, 19561.

When I first got saved, there was a program on the local Christian radio station in which his wife, Elisabeth, spoke. I do not remember much about that show, but I do remember being in awe of how confident she sounded. I believe that Elisabeth died a few year back. She served the Lord for her entire life.

Jim may be best known for his quote:

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.

I love that quote, and when I read it in church, I was reminded of a song called He is No Fool by Twila Paris, one of my all-time favorite songs of hers. When I got home from work, I began assembling a new music playlist to listen to at work. I started with Twila Paris and then added some Sandi Patty and Wayne Watson, and then I moved on to Petra. I found myself adding a lot of Petra. I had a few of the cassettes (can you guess how old I am?) and I think I finally parted with them right before I moved to Alabama in April. Probably less than an hour later, I was looking through my Facebook feed, and Tim Challies had posted an article called “How Petra Rocked my Soul.” The gist of the article is that Tim found himself obsessed with a Petra album that he pretended to dislike when his Christian friend first introduced him to it, but as he continued to listen to one song, he discovered that it spoke to him on a deep level. He bought the album (or cassette, lol) and wore it out.

I have had a similar experience recently with a band called Theocracy. A Christian Facebook friend (who is no longer a FB friend because we never really knew each other, but I digress…) posted a video of one of their songs. I liked the way it sounded and I promptly downloaded pretty much everything they had ever released. I listened to the words and found myself being communicated with on a deep level, too. For the better part of a year, I listened to them exclusively. They not only took me back to my teenage years, since they have a decidedly ’80s sound, but they spoke to me on a spiritual level. I still click on the playlist I created and listen through it from time to time, and I have a feeling that my Petra et al. list will receive the same treatment, and I will be adding to it I am sure, just as soon as I can remember some of the ’80s and ’90s Christian bands I appreciated.

Honestly, at the time I was not thrilled with the Christian music scene. After all, I was a teenager and was used to going to rock concerts. Our local Christian radio station was Baptist, so it did not play anything harder that Twila or Wayne Watson. There was no way it was going to cater to us angsty teens. Of course there was no MTV for Christians, nor was there internet radio, so I had to settle for the likes of Degarmo and Key and Carmen, and I really tried hard to be content with it. I do not know how I found Petra, but I liked their sound a lot, so I bought a few of their cassettes. Then one day while I was watching MTV (during one of my many back-slidden periods), a band called Stryper came on. All I could say was, WHOA! I was blown away. Hard Christian rock? Yes please! No, they were not particularly theologically sound, but they sure beat KGBI’s hymns (which I greatly appreciate now, but not so much as a young adult).

Music speaks to my soul. Because of a quote by a great martyr, I have ridden a roller coaster ride of emotions while reminiscing about my musical history. Petra has a song called God Gave Rock and Roll to You. Yes, yes He did, and I am immeasurably thankful for it.

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