I wrote this article for my Pastor's page this week at First Baptist Church of Arlington, Texas. I decided to publish here as well:
It is a powerful force. Music. It is an incredible medium of communication. It is also profitable. Last year, the revenue in the music industry in the United States was $15.2 billion! Our nephew, Ben Vaughn, is in the music business in Nashville. In fact, Ben is the Executive Vice President of Warner/Chappell Music Publishing and he leads its Nashville office. On behalf of Warner/Chappell, he accepted the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) award in November in Nashville as the Music Publisher of the year. He also was honored two weeks ago by ASCAP and Belmont University with the 2015 Music City Milestone Award. We are pretty proud of him. Ben knows music.
I, on the other hand, am not as proficient as my nephew. I had a tonette solo once in the fourth grade music class at Wylam Grammar School in Birmingham, Alabama. I did a pretty good job with my rendition of This is My Country! But, my music career was short-lived. I can still play the Ensley High School Alma Mater on the tonette, though.
I am not a musician. I am not in the music business. But, I do value and appreciate music. In fact, I love music. And—I enjoy music. I like lots of genres of music. I have wide tastes. There is no rhyme or reason for my tastes – I just know what I like. I like to listen to Elvis (who doesn’t?), Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, Elton John -- but, I enjoy classical music, jazz music and a little bit of country music. I also like hymns, psalms and spiritual songs. I am moved by the truths expressed in some contemporary Christian music as well as in some hymns.
Right now, I am singing through the Baptist Hymnal (Convention Press, 1991) in my devotional time with God. I’m sure He is amused! But – I do believe He is pleased. I have felt led by Him to do it. I’ve been amazed by how many hymns I don’t know. I have enjoyed praising Him through music expressed so personally and privately (thank goodness, because I’m not much of a singer!).
I think God has used this exercise to remind me of the beauty and passion of music. He has also has used it to remind me to remain humble and gracious about music. As a Baptist pastor in the 21st century, I know how controversial music can be! As you might imagine, I have received numerous communications through the years about what kind of music God likes!