When the music stars aligned

My folks were slated to be in town from Nashville for their semi-annual visit. So my better half secured us tickets for a concert at St. Peter’s Catholic Church. Yes, a Christian concert at a Catholic church – more on that in a moment. 

Then, my wife’s singing/songwriting sister, also a Music City resident, scored us tix for another show at Sam’s Burger Joint in San Antonio. This was shaping up to be a once-in-two-decades-of-childrearing musical weekend.

Don’t judge Sam’s Burger Joint by its name, or its burgers, for that matter. Its comfortable concert hall is a mature, kempt live music venue. 

I’m sure the place devolves into a mosh pit at times. According to Sam’s Web site, the band playing the next night is known for “seething rage and a bruised vulnerability,” two items not currently on my Christmas list.

But on this night, Lori McKenna, a Boston-based singer/songwriter, hung me on nearly every word she sang. McKenna’s thoughtful lyrics and un-bruised vulnerability surprised me. For instance:

“Time does not waste itself / A dream can not wake itself / The truth can not disgrace itself / An unwritten prayer can not save a lost soul // Arms can not embrace themselves / A heart can not break itself / And I can not shake myself from you” 

And this:

“You left a Hallmark card that morning on my bureau / You didn’t know what to write / 
So you just signed your name // That boy that I loved may not have been my hero / But the same is not true / Of the man he became”

Usually, I only enjoy a concert (or church, for that matter) if I have heard the songs before. Not this time. McKenna’s faithfully executed talent turned over a new leaf for me.

Concert #2 featured an evangelical worship leader playing guitar in a Catholic cathedral. To quote another of McKenna’s song titles,  “How romantic is that?” Not very, I suppose, to some veteran members of the “universal church.” St. Peter may have even done a double-take from the pearly gates.

Personally, I’m elated by the evangelical Catholics I’ve encountered in recent years. They’re quoting Scripture, sometimes in English (ha!). They’re reaching out to the community with fun runs and carnival games. This concert was one such effort of these “Charismatholics.” (That’s original fusion, BTW.) 

As I see it, we need to unite for the war against the evil that spirals our culture downward. So I had no problem rocking out with worship leader Phil Wickham, Catholics and Protestants alike. (Note: my definition of “rocking out” is standing up for one-half of a concert.)

Wickham has the vocal talent of Josh Groban and the bravadic passion of Bono. His sweeping anthems gave me hope that if heaven is an eternal church service in the sky (which I don’t believe it is), I will make it through. 

I wish I could tether the deep lyrics of a Lori McKenna with all the worshipping hearts that populate the Christian music scene. I can understand why some churchgoers tire of the karaoke-like repetition of certain modern worship songs. I do miss Rich Mullins. 

Willie Nelson is still with us. I plan to see him soon at Floore’s Country Store. I’ll let you know how it goes.


Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas hill country. Follow him at http://www.kwt.info.

3 Responses to “When the music stars aligned”

  1. 1 Jonathan Hance October 13, 2013 at 22:24


    See you soon.

    _ http://www.jonathanhance.com 213.631.0231

  2. 2 Angie Thier October 14, 2013 at 01:00

    Oh, Rich Mullins. How I miss him, too. Chuck and I listened to a series of his youtube videos recently, of his final concert (I think it was in Tyler Tx?). And I’m quite sad that we didn’t hear about Phil Wickham until after the concert. I’m glad y’all enjoyed it.

  3. 3 jessestroup October 17, 2013 at 16:16

    When will you see Willie Nelson?  Where is Floor’s Country Store?  I like your article.  Good being with you recently.  God is accomplishing his finished work. Jesse

      Jesse R. Stroup Director of Spiritual Care Lifeline Chaplaincy 511 N. Akard suite 202 Dallas, TX 75201 jessestrouplive@yahoo.com

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