If you’re anything like me, music and religion are two of the most important things in your life. For me, nothing is more sacred than one of the rare moments when the two intersect and a song triggers a numinous moment of religious profundity that leaves me speechless. Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, had it right when he said “Music! A magic far beyond what we do here.”
However, if you’re like me, you also find the current spectrum of “Christian music” and especially “Christian rock” woefully inadequate. Maybe it’s because my beliefs are quite unorthodox, but listening to these groups of white twentysomethings croon endlessly about how awesome God is just doesn’t do it for me. Nor does listening to traditional hymns and worship songs, the kind you’d hear in church.
A big part of it is that Christianity, in addition to being about salvation and redemption and joy, is also about pain, and misery, and loneliness, and despair. It’s nice and all to write a straight worship song that glorifies all of God’s goodness, but what do I do when I’m depressed, or angry, or anxious, or even questioning my faith, and need some music that reflects that side of the human emotional spectrum while also appealing to the Christian side of me?Well, I listen to songs like these.
8. “Him” by Lily Allen
My father first introduced me to Lily Allen, the English singer-songwriter who broke through with her debut single “Smile.” However, it’s the 2009 deep track “Him” from the album It’s Not Me, It’s You that I come to when I’m in a spiritual mood. Almost a sequel to the Joan Osborne song “One of Us,” Him expresses a deep sense of yearning and questioning for the nature of God, with lyrics like “When he looks down on us I wonder what he sees,” as well as “Do you reckon he’s ever been done for tax evasion?” (it’s more profound than it looks in print).
Some people might claim to know all there is to know (or, at least, all they need to know) about the almighty. For those of us that are not so sure, and who cannot resist the urge to question, this song is a shot of validation.