On my iTunes I have a playlist called “stealth Christian.” They’re songs that I find resonate in a Christian way even though I’m pretty sure they weren’t intended that way.
Offhand, I find Dan Fogelberg’s “Leader Of The Band” to be profoundly Christian, and up until the end that mirage holds pretty well. Jesus was “a cabinet maker’s son” and “his heart was known to none.” He did give to me a gift I know I never can repay, and I try to make that song about him when it comes on the radio.
Another one is, so help me, “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence. I cannot hear that song without hearing a human soul returning to God and asking for forgiveness. “Breathe into me and make me real,” she sings. In the background, the male voice sings, “There’s nothing inside.” To me it truly sounds like the torment a soul goes through when it wants to leave behind this world and cling to the eternal and the good. And naturally, while that’s going on, the soul expresses itself as it is rather than as it hopes to become because that’s all it can do.
Recently, I’ve been hearing Lifehouse’s song Broken which reminds me a bit of my story “Damage” as well as some other situations from my own life. I decided to pick it up at iTunes only to find there are two versions. On the radio version, someone commented that it had been generified and turned into something you could hear at any high school dance. The album version claimed the reviewer, was much more emotional. (The link will take you to Amazon where you can hear a 30 second clip.)
One trip to the library later, I popped the CD into my player and was blown away by the album version. It’s definitely starker, and you can hear the near-despair so much better without all the junk thrown on top of the vocals in the radio version. That’s the version I purchased.
But who is he singing to? Who is the “you” in the song? And I’m deciding now it’s got to be God he’s singing to.
“I’m hanging on / another day / just to see / what you’ll throw my way. / And I’m holding on / to what you say. / You said that I would / be okay.”
When he says “In your name, I find meaning,” I can’t imagine a non-divine antecedent of that pronoun. And yet if it’s there, it’s totally hidden.
I think it will go on my Stealth Christian play list. Like the others, I’m pretty sure that’s unintended. But not totally sure, and I’m wondering what others think.