Tag Archive: michael w smith

music played such a huge role in my visit back to South Africa that we have just returned from.

the first was a gift within a gift. we were given the use of a car by two people [only one of whom i actually knew before the trip and hadn’t been in contact with for about 15 years til a week before i posted a ‘looking for a car’ ad on Facebook] who decided that for a month they could work with one car and so gifted us their other one.

as much as that was the hugest gift ever [thank you Kerstin and Carl Fourie – Kerstin used to be one of the youth girls at the church i worked at about 15 years ago] they left a worship cd [a mixed cd they had made out of other worship cds they own] in the car and until we realised there were other cds in the cubbyhole which took a few days, i listened to that one again and again and really loved the opportunity to be immersed in worship, especially when it was just me driving alone.

two songs in particular stuck out and i kept on meaning to Uncle Google the lyrics and kept forgetting and the one time i remembered the only thing that came up was Belinda Carisle’s ‘Heaven is a place on earth’ which it very definitely wasn’t.

finally i remember to write the lyric on my arm and discovered pretty quickly that it was a song called ‘I will be blessed’ [anyone that knows my feelings to the word ‘blessed’ will appreciate the irony] off the extended version of his album ‘Every Kingdom’.

i’m not sure if there is an official video to the track because this is all i found, but i find it completely haunting and mesmerising and it just really stuck in my head and heart:


the second song, i still don’t know what it was and will have to bug Carl and Kerstin someday to list every song on that album so i can track it down…

the second occasion was when i was invited to a Christian Arts presentation by my friend Nurden Cross who used to be from Sarepta during my Newsong Festival days…

i got the chance to watch clips from a number of upcoming christian songs and movies and there is definitely some good stuff to be getting excited for. the band and song that particularly moved me was by a band called The Rend Collective Experiment and this song and video called ‘Build Your Kingdom Here’ off their album, ‘Homemade Worship by Handmade People’ which i just LOVE LOVE LOVE for the energy and enjoyment that these people exude as they worship God:


so yeah, two great experiences with two great songs [well, three if i could remember the other one] and actually on the last day i was driving back from tbV’s folks having dropped something off and trying to find these songs and came upon ‘You are holy’ [You are Holy] which i think is by Michael W. Smith of all people and it just completely reduced me to tears – i find that song so powerful, but just the happening of ongoing worship music happening around me was such a strong and precious memory of my time in South Africa. Was given an iTunes voucher for my birthday and am definitely going to hunt down both those albums when i have a moment.

thank you South Africa, and South Africans for those gifts…



we watched a multiplex (workshop session) yesterday on Christians and the media and then we had a bunch of small group discussion on the topic – as i was mc’ing the meeting and made some statements about bad christian movies there were too many heads nodding in agreement for me to think this is just my particular cynicised view

the bottom line for me is that the church has some great stories – from the bible which really has some x-rated hollywood blockbuster stuff in it [tent pegs through the head, incest, adultery followed by murder of a high-ranking general to try and cover the fact, bears being called from the forest to maul a bunch of youth for daring to call the prophet a baldhead, the fire from heaven altar challenge between elijah and the prophets of baal, stonings, crucifixion] to true life dramas [bible smuggling into china, the mother teresa story, the missionaries who were killed by the aucas in south america – which became a movie ‘the end of the spear’ which i haven’t had the chance to see but the book is amazing] to fiction [writings of ted dekker, robert liparulo, frank peretti who i would all describe as stephen king if he was a christian – some great science fiction/fantasy/horror/supernatural writing] – and so the stories are definitely there, but i think we have quite a long way to go before we can tell them well on film

i, as a Christ follower, cringe when i hear that something is a “christian movie” so i can’t imagine what an unbeliever must think and feel (maybe they’re less critical than me, who knows?) but the majority of christian films down the ages have been cringeworthy, cheese-filled and generally with bad camerawork and production, useless acting and trite storylines

the one question i posed was this – is it good enough for us as Christ followers in the media to be making bad movies, so that perhaps one day we can make good movies, or would it sometimes be better to be making no movies at all?

another question posed by the group was on the sacred/secular split – the tendency we as christians have to divide life into what we call spiritual and what we call secular when, as one guy pointed out in my group, Jesus would probably be confused if i told Him about “my spiritual life” because to Him everything was spiritual – and so can’t we as Christ followers just start making good movies – when i look at a movie like ‘the blind Side’ with Sandra Bullock in, it was a really strong movie and received critical acclaim in many quarters but was not produced as a ‘christian movie’ – we have the stories, we just need to do better at getting them across

i think personally that we do a lot better in the area of music whereas in the 80’s there were maybe the big 5 of mainstream christian musicians in amy grant, steve curtis chapman, michael w smith, carman and then if you were really hardcore maybe dc talk and they were all ‘good for a christian band’ music types [let the hating begin, ha!] but i think today Christ-following musicians and bands have gained a lot more street cred and in many cases are as good if not sometimes even better than their non-Christ-following counterparts… so there is hope

personally i don’t think it’s good enough that we create bad christian movies (or music or books) and i really wish the people making them would have better filters or just go hang out in the world a little bit to get a clue as to the kind of quality we should be producing. i imagine some people might see this post as a little harsh and unloving, but i think the reality is that when we are representing Christ, there is a strong case for us doing it well and effectively and in a way that impacts society rather than causing it to withdraw

i long for the day we can say ‘that was a great movie’ and not feel the need to simply compare it to other worse ‘christian movies’ as a means of greatifying it

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