Friday, January 1, 2010
O Lordy! You're Beautiful, Keith Green!
Keith Green and I go WAY back. A guitar playing Uncle lent our family a bunch of Contemporary Christian LPs with his favorite Keith Green Albums in the mix. Honest to Jeepers I don’t remember ANY of Keith's music. I do remember the album covers. This particular album cover greatly influenced my lust for Jesus look-alikes.
Yes, Keith Green was a hottie – actually, more of a cutie – and I wanted to marry him. Or do unto him as married people do onto each other.
This holiday as one of my birth-mas presents from a very dear ex-christian, PK friend, I got TWO Keith Green CDs! Now I can sing along to the ONLY Keith Green song I know, “O Lord, You’re Beautiful,” while reading the lyrics, while writing Hot4Jesus posts. I Am Truly Blessed!
I’m also inspired to write about Me and Music. I’ve aborted a handful of Me and Music posts that mold away in various notebooks. It is more difficult for me to talk about Music than for me to talk about Jesus. But here goes…
When I sang Schubert’s “Ave Maria” at a public school concert in High School – 3 things happened:
1. I fell in love with the spotlight in the eyes – being on stage alone – and ever since have had an extremely hard time being an audience member. I feel more comfortable on stage than in the audience.
2. I sang one of my first pagan songs. Catholics are pagan. Mary worship is pagan. “Ave Maria” is more or less an old-school pagan worship song to Mary and I had to come to grips with this as a born-again Jesus Christian. Yes - I prayed about it.
3. I made someone’s (catholic) mother cry.
Behold – Keith Green giving all the Glory to God.
That finger pointing up – I was one of those who pointed at the ceiling while the audience applauded. I don’t know the first time I did it – but it went from a shy waist height point to a more obvious armpit exposed, above the shoulder point to the sky.
PLEASE – Someone tell me you know what I’m talking about!
I remained in a constant state of humility about my music. I never took compliments well, which I learned in part from my “Practice makes closer to adequate” musician father.
And when I'm doing well,
Help me to never seek a crown,
For my reward is giving glory to You.
(Prosperity Gospel Doctrine Be Damned!)
Making the transition from singing for Jesus to singing for myself, I went from “This is a Gift that can be taken away at any time. How can I take credit?” to not knowing how to defend myself when people shame me – to this day – for choosing NOT to use the Gift…. A Gift they COVET, btw.
Final liner notes: Back in the late 70s when Christian Contemporary was first hitting the scene, I was the family dj, spinning one Christian LP after another. One tried and true gospel group was the Bill Gaither Trio. We not only owned many of their albums, but also many of their song books. From elementary on I would stand at the piano and make my mum or sister accompany me on the Gaither’s and hundreds of other gospel songs. I learned to read music while turning the pages to Gospel Songbooks and Crumbling Hymnals. (o- the hymnal collection we had!). Now the song titles read like porno titles:
“It is Finished”
“He Touched Me”
“Because He Lives.”
Somewhere in their transition from Old-Thyme Gospel to Christian Contemporary, the Gaithers started adding drums. One day while on one side of the house, my father…
my father who preferred
Jazz to Rock
Gospel to Contemporary Christian
Wind Instruments to String Instruments
Concerts to Parades
Hammond Organs to Church Organs
Ford to Chevy
... my dad heard one of their new albums blasting from the other side of the house – and he promptly threw out all christian albums that sounded like rock-and-roll from a distance. Too much of a rock beat for my born-again jazz musician, band director dad. He, with many other Christians then and now, found it disturbing how contemporary Christian music took on the beats, AND lyrics of pop and rock.
So – Keith Green in the House was an anomaly. It didn’t last. Many years later I started attending churches with worship teams. Following in my dad’s footsteps, I myself became part of the worship teams, eventually writing original Jesus music. I learned to sing and love Keith Green’s “O Lord, You’re Beautiful.” To this day, as the CD spins, I find myself automatically raising my hands, palms up.
And I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
But I do know I still have the hots for Keith Green! I hope you’ll consider reading up on this Jem. His is a truly wonderful story of fucked-up 60s child who became a 70s Born-Againer – along with half of our parents. He has connections to another Jem I’ve written about – Lonnie Frisbee – through the original Vineyard Church. And thanks to Keith, every Sunday the following lyrics can be heard – somewhere – someplace.
O Lord, You’re beautiful
Your face is all I seek
For when Your eyes are on this child,
Your grace abounds to me.
This could easily be the theme song for my blog – for O too obviously superficial reasons. Here’s to Hot, Beautiful Jesuses Everywhere!