Too wordy; too shallow; too ‘barnyard praise’; too corny; borderline heretical; developmentally inappropriate; boring. Good Christian kids music is hard to come by.
Recently a friend asked on Facebook for kids music that parents might not mind listening to either and Arthur recommended Rain for Roots.
It’s a charming album of folk music but it’s not just its listenability that makes it a worthwhile purchase. It also has a theological approach to Bible stories, that is, it asks what these stories tell us about God. Much kids stuff helps kids to learn Bible stories but ends with memorisation. Not so with this approach.
Most of the songs ask questions: Who saved a baby in a boat?; Who heard Daniel when he prayed?; Who made the seas?; Who kept his promise? Of course the answer is God. And there are questions to which the answer is Jesus as well: Who came to rescue you and win? Who came to make all things brand new? Who stilled the storm with just a word?; Who saw [Zaccheus]? Who came to tea?
Those truths about God are then applied: God made you, God cares for you, God will answer you. Sure, it’s pretty individualistic, but these are truths for each person as well as for the corporate body so there’s no need to get too concerned about that. There’s something about this simple message that invites a child to make this story their own.
The power of this album is true for adults as well. As I sang to Elliot ‘The King of Heaven, the Great I am / He is your Shepherd little lamb’, I was reminded of my own vulnerability and the care that I know from the Good Shepherd too.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.