Country music gets a bad rap. I used to think it consisted of  Hee Haw’s cast singing about getting drunk because their wife ran off with their best friend’s sister’s brother-in-law from her third marriage. 

With a lot of twang, “fer’s” and a really bad steel geetar.

Then life changed and I realized there’s a lot of gospel according to country music.

Until then, I exclusively listened to Christian music. 

Until then, my life was simple.

Until then, my world was small.

Then I became a teacher.

And my world grew

My personal life was messy.

And the music I listened to didn’t speak to the world I lived in.

Songs my church were fighting over didn’t address essays I graded about dads in jail, mothers on drugs, and thirteen-year-olds getting pregnant.

Songs like “God is Great, Beer is Good, and People are Crazy” were more accurate. 

Phillips Craig and Dean don’t sing about prostitutes.

God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.

It’s not sound doctrine, but I get it.

Don’t get me wrong. Not all country music honors God. But I’ve learned God doesn’t just dwell with church-dwelling people and He’s not just found in church-dwelling songs. gospel according to country music

He lives in the hearts of people who seek Him and His truth. He’s found in the lives of broken people who know His grace.  He dwells with people who’ve walked hard places and haven’t given up, who still go to Him when everything they know is a mess.

People, like me, who live life beyond the picket fence. Kind of like country music.

There’s a song called “Bleed Red” by Ronnie Dunn that explains why the gospel according to country music speaks to me.

“Bleed Red” by Ronnie Dunn {lyrics from azlyrics.com}

Let’s say were sorry, before it’s too late, give forgiveness a chance

Turn the anger into water; let it slip through our hands
We all bleed red, we all taste rain, all fall down, lose our way, 
We all say words we regret, we all cry tears, we all bleed redIf we’re fighting, we’re both losing; we’re just wasting our time
Because my scars, they are your scars and your world is mine
You and I, we all bleed red, we all taste rain, all fall down, lose our way
We all say words, we regret, we’ll cry tears, we all bleed red
Sometimes we’re strong, sometimes we’re weak, sometimes we’re hurt and it cuts deep
We live this life, breath to breath, we’re all the same; we all bleed red.

 

I’ve learned from students, clients, and my own experience we all bleed red.  We don’t bleed tradition, denomination, race, gender, or nationality.  God made all of us. We all have scars. We all fall down, lose our way, say words we regret, we all cry tears and we all bleed red.  

The gospel according to country music is valid to me. 

 It speaks to the human experience.  It speaks of sin, forgiveness, grace, and life in between.

 That’s where I live each day.  Do you?

 Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died so I’m set free from the messiness of life, so I don’t have to drink my troubles away or find comfort in the arms of another man.

The irony of the gospel according to country music is that it’s as near to life and as far away from the gospel as you can get.  But that’s where I live – sometimes so real that it’s so far away from the gospel.

 Do you?

 And in between is grace through Jesus Christ, the way, the truth and the life.

Beer may be good, and people may be crazy.

But God is way far better.

Is your life messy? Know that God doesn’t shy away from messy and He meets you where you are.  If you’ve never considered a relationship with Jesus Christ, will you consider the One who has changed me life and made me free from the heaviness of life? If you’d like to talk more about this, please email me at brenda@brendayoder.com or if email me if you’d like me to pray with you about the messiness in your life. It would be my privilege.

Other songs on my favorite “Gospel According To Country Music Playlist” include:

Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw
Something To Be Proud Of by Montgomery Gentry
Some People Change by Montgomery Gentry
In Color by Jamey Johnson
That’s a Man by Jack Ingram
Love’s The Only House by Martina McBride

Watch “Bleed Red” by Ronnie Dunn here.

What kind of music speaks to you?  Where do you find God in music?  Where do find God and His grace in your world?

 

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