A Tale of Two Songs: The Poll

A Tale of Two Songs: The Poll May 16, 2011

I’m going to give my readers a small quiz today. I’ll quote snippets from two songs, both of which some of you may recognize (in which case you already know the answer, so this doesn’t apply to you). Given the fact that my readers are (I presume) predominantly southern gospel fans, I figured it was a fair bet that at least a good portion of you won’t recognize either song. However, even if you only recognize one (which is plausible), you can still take the poll. Just don’t take it if you recognize both, because that would skew the results.

Here are the snippets. First, three snippets from song one:
I see you
My light in darkness breathing hope of new life
Now I live through you and you through me
[…] Your life shines the way into paradise
So I offer my life as a sacrifice
I live through your love
[…] Now I give my hope to you
I surrender
Now, three snippets from song two:
I’m home when I am here with you
Ruined by your grace, enamored by your gaze
I can’t resist the tenderness of you

[…] I never have to search again
There’s a deep desire that’s burning like a fire
To know you as my closest friend
[…] I’m deep in love with you…
Okay. Now, here is the question for those of you who recognize one or none of the songs quoted: Without looking anything up, would you guess that these are both secular songs, that they are both Christian songs, or that one of them is secular and the other Christian? And if the latter, which is which? Take the poll:
Tomorrow I will close the poll, reveal the answer, and discuss. So be sure to get your vote in today!
[Update @4:15 PM: It seems like either a LOT of my readers recognize both songs, or they’re just not bothering to vote. I’d like to shoot for 50 by tomorrow, so make your choice! 🙂 — YGG]

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I would imagine that they’re both “Christian,” but only since you’re asking. Encountering those snippets without the context of your question, I would imagine what I voted – 1st Christian, 2nd secular.

  • JJ

    Great songs are great songs, regardless of genre. However, these songs do not reach that level.

  • Come back tomorrow for the discussion. 🙂

  • Eugene McCammon

    Both songs are somewhat sappy and suffer from banality. If one is country, it is not good country; if one is passing itself off as gospel, sad. Neither of these songs in my opinion is worthy of whatever style it professes. “Ruined by your grace”? Come ON.

  • Come back tomorrow for what I hope will be a profitable and revealing discussion!

  • NWBaritone

    I know the conversation will take place tomorrow but the fact the one or more of these could be a Christian song and the fact that we can’t really tell is a sad commentary on the current state of Christian music. Just my opinion, I could be wrong.

  • Lee Black

    In no way am I making a judgment call on whether either song is great. And I don’t want to bust on your poll… BUT… assuming you’re going where I THINK you’re going with this argument, I have a problem with the way the question is posed in the same way I have a problem with people taking scripture out of context. Pull only pieces of a lyric and you can steer someone’s thinking any way you want…
    Song one:
    He touched me…
    And, oh, the joy that floods my soul…
    He touched me…
    And now I am no longer the same
    Song two:
    He touched me…
    He’s real and the world is alive and shining…
    He touched me…
    And suddenly nothing is the same
    Both Christian? Both secular? One of each?

  • Lee Black

    And, oops, I just re-read your post. I voted knowing the songs and skewed your results. Subtract one from the correct answer column.

  • You may be able to predict correctly some of the things I’m going to say tomorrow, but I still invite you to come back (and join the discussion if you like), because I might say some things you don’t expect too. 🙂
    Let’s just say that tomorrow we’ll put both songs under the microscope, then we’ll step way back and look at the bigger picture. I agree that it’s important to put things in context, and that’s exactly what I plan to do.
    Incidentally, as far as songs that seem to romanticize our relationship with Christ go, I wouldn’t put “He Touched Me” in quite the same category. I think that because it’s clearly describing the touch as a healing touch, that gives it a different feel. It’s not simply saying “I just wanna get closer” or the like, which leaves us with little more than a vaguely uncomfortable sense of physical proximity. It’s specifically giving us a picture of a healer, a Physician, who must lay his hand on the wounded so the wounded can be made whole.

  • Lee Black

    I thought it was just a question of secular or not. I won’t spoil your results… but I was intentionally trying to pull lines from a secular song to make it sound, for someone filtering through a southern gospel mindset, like a Gaither tune.
    But since you brought it up… For me the “I just want to get closer” songs absolutely have their place in worship. Psalms like 73:28 and 63 come to mind. I wouldn’t want an entire diet of them just like I wouldn’t want an entire diet of chocolate cake. But when they’re paired with some good theological meat, I think they can be pretty sweet. Again, I know that’s a matter of personal preference.

  • philwynk

    I don’t know either song, but frankly, I’m sick of singing “worship” songs in church on Sunday that could be sappy pop love songs. Not every song can be a great song, but at least put a little theological meat into the ordinary ones so they have some value as worship, k?

  • Tomorrow, tomorrow…

  • Dean Todd

    I’ve voted that they are both “Christian,” but really, really watered-down Christianity. (I have heard worse, however).

  • Pingback: A Tale of Two Songs: The Answer | Southern Gospel Yankee()

  • By the way, I quoted consecutive lines in a song. The correct end to the chorus of “He Touched Me” would be “and made me whole,” so it wouldn’t be quite as parallel as you were shooting for there. 😉

  • Yeah, “ruined by your grace” caught my attention. If that’s intended for Christian… what can I say.

  • philwynk

    Turns out I voted correctly. Whadaya know?

  • philwynk

    Actually, “He Touched Me” IS very similar to many of the modern songs. A lot of the newer songs are about healing in a general sense. A steady diet of “He Touched Me” and “Something Beautiful” is really no better for the believer than a steady diet of “Mighty To Save” and “How He Loves.” Just ’cause it’s old, doesn’t mean it’s good. The infantilization of the believer is hardly a new problem.

  • “He Touched Me” is on the sweet side, but it’s pretty clearly distinct from the “lover of my soul” tradition. If you read a lot of stuff from that genre and compared, you’d see what I mean. If you’re trying to say that it does fit in, that’s just not true. I would grant you that it’s pretty light fare, but would put it a couple notches above the P & W mush we’ve been discussing. It’s solidly biblical even if it’s a little sappy about it.