I have in my record collection (yes, kids, it’s made of vinyl, and it plays on a turntable without any forward-backward interference so as to produce music instead of senseless garbled noises, thank you very much) a 1974 collector’s album by Larry Norman called Streams of White Light into Darkened Corners. I know you’ve all been waiting with baited breath to find out just what I might possibly replace my long-running Sunday hymn series with, and this is it. And I’m really looking forward to digging into it… after this week’s series introduction. Oddly enough, I had the idea for the series a couple of months back, and sat down to list some 50+ songs that fit the bill, and titled my list “Hymns from the Byways.” Then a few weeks later, I was thumbing through my record collection to find something nostalgic and landed on this forgotten LP. The idea is this — convinced that secular:sacred is most likely a false dichotomy, I’m compiling a list of songs which are (a) “Christian”-oriented but scored on the pop charts or (b) spiritual songs recorded by “secular” artists. I’m looking at that crossover space where we find spiritual truth on the radio. “Hymns from the Radio”? Not sure yet what to call the series, but don’t touch that dial.
I was reading posts about the Twenty Great Christian Rock Albums and the 10 great Christian rock songs, and of course such lists inevitably lead to dispute. I even discovered that there is a documentary I wasn’t aware of called (what else?) Why Should the Devil Have all the Good Music?
In any event, I undertook the task of naming “20 Classic Christian Rock Albums,” and have listed 19 of them below… since there’s one spot empty, I obviously didn’t forget anyone’s favorite — but you’ll have to add it yourself in the comments section. In addition, I’m listing “classic” albums so that it’s not quite as apparent that I gave up on Christian rock in the mid-80′s; this way you’ll just figure that I’m referring to a “golden age” by my use of the descriptor “classic.” So here we go.
A message on the Solid Rock website from Charles Norman, Larry’s brother:
Our friend and my wonderful brother Larry passed away at 2:45 Sunday morning. Kristin and I were with him, holding his hands and sitting in bed with him when his heart finally slowed to a stop. We spent this past week laughing, singing, and praying with him, and all the while he had us taking notes on new song ideas and instructions on how to continue his ministry and art.
I’m blaming Bill Kinnon for this post, since he’s the one who sent me the YouTube video below. At first I was concerned that a Larry Norman song might be parodied, but then I realized that it was a commentary on the times, which as anyone who was there will recall, were oh-so-Hal-Lindsay. And that about sums it up. My eschatology has changed somewhat, and I no longer consider it very loving to attempt to scare the hell out of people. You can get people to pray anything if they’re terrified enough. Anyway. I was thinking back to some *coughh4ck$plUttergh* years ago when I was working at summer camp (yes, it’s disturbing but true). Another guy and I were doing double-duty as “wranglers” in the stable and also
policing counseling a cabin of younger boys. One evening after the scheduled activities, we had to send the kids back to get ready for bed on their own (normally you supervise everything) and they did fairly well. Except for one thing… when we got back to the cabin, we discovered the kids had been talking about this movie, A Thief in the Night. Yeah, you remember.