Music part 2 – Little Country Church

The (Christian) Music that Shaped Me – Part 2

Little Country Church

(I introduce this series here. In this series I’ll be sharing music that has been influential to me, personally. My hope is twofold: First, that some of my younger friends will be able to appreciate “from whence we’ve come” and to be encouraged to continue to seek fresh ways to communicate their faith through music. Second, that those of my generation will enjoy looking back a bit, but more than that, I pray that we will continue to recognize and encourage the creativity of today’s Christian musicians.)

In part one I talked about an album by a musical group whose influence on me would be hard to overestimate. I was part of a group for a number of years and we borrowed (read: stole) much of the Imperials music. We intentionally, and unapologetically, modeled our sound after them. We would sing songs from other sources but I would arrange these songs using ideas that I learned from listening to the Imperials.

I mentioned that, due to my geographical location and cultural niche, I was probably five years behind on what had been happening in Christian music.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, something was happening in California. (Isn’t it always?)

The “Jesus Movement” was born.

June 21, 1971

I think this is a fascinating moment in our culture. When people today think of the ‘60s, things like hippies, Woodstock, drugs, tie-dye, “free love,” psychedelia, and anti-war protests naturally come to mind. This was all very unsettling to most of the Christian leaders I knew. I came of age at a time when Christianity and patriotism went hand in hand. They were almost synonymous. (Sadly, for many this hasn’t changed, but it needs to.) So the “Turn on, tune in, drop out” culture of the hippies in the ‘60s was also seen as a rebellion from Christianity…and, in truth, often it was. A rebellion from the established church, at least.

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June 30, 1972

But consider how the undiluted message of Jesus from scripture of peace, hope, and love for all mankind could be received in this climate! Jesus was speaking their language! Sadly, the church generally was not.

One notable exception was Pastor Chuck Smith of the Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California. If you have time, I recommend this 14 minute video tribute to Chuck Smith to help paint a picture of what was happening at the time.  (About 47 seconds in he even talks about the group featured in this post.)

With more and more of the younger, “hippie” generation following Jesus, it only makes sense that they would bring their approach to music with them. This music was kind of raw and straightforward, like the secular music of the day. It had an irreverence and humor to it. Think Arlo Guthrie, or Country Joe and the Fish with clean language. It wasn’t as polished, musically. But what it lacked in production value it more than made up for with heart, passion and directness.

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Love Song c. 1972

Love Song was a band that grew from these roots. I first heard their records when I was a freshman in college. I believe their song, Little Country Church, was about Calvary Chapel. I also think, despite its lighthearted feel, it packs a message that is timeless. It spoke to me deeply at the time. The picture it paints in the second verse, of a group of diverse believers finding common ground in Christ, is the picture I held in my heart through my entire career as a worship minister.

 

I still believe it to be a worthy goal.

Lloyd


Little Country Church
(Chuck Girard/Fred Field)
©1971 Dunamis Music

Little country church on the edge of town
Doo-do- do-dn-do-do-do
People comin’ everyday from miles around
For meetin’s and for Sunday school
And it¹s very plain to see
It¹s not the way it used to be

Preacher isn’t talkin’ ’bout religion no more
He just wants to praise the Lord
People aren’t as stuffy as they were before
They just want to praise the Lord
And it¹s very plain to see
It’s not the way it used to be

They’re talkin’ ’bout revival and the need for love
That little church has come alive
Workin’ with each other for the common good
Puttin’ all the past aside
Long hair, short hair, some coats and ties
People finally comin’ around
Lookin’ past the hair and straight into the eyes
People finally comin’ around
And it¹s very plain to see
It’s not the way it used to be

 

 

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