Several years ago when Christian radio stations switched to a contemporary worship format, I was an ardent skeptic.  Quite uncharitably, I resorted to hyperbole to express my skepticism.  My favorite criticism was that by replacing the references to the divine with the name of a romantic interest, a pop love song would emerge.

Yesterday’s hyperbole is today’s happenstance.

To illustrate, let me introduce you to a semi-regular feature of this site.  Occasionally, I’ll post some ambiguous lyrics, and your objective will be to guess the object the song:  girl or God?

Here’s our first sampling.

Hey now, this is my desire; consume me like a fire,
’cause I just want something beautiful to touch me,
I know that I’m in reach ’cause I am down on my knees,
I’m waiting for something beautiful

This one could go either way.  “I want something beautiful to touch me” would certainly qualify as a brash expression of romance.  “Consume me like a fire” might be a unique line for a love interest, but it also meets the cliché criterion for most modern worship music.

Let’s have another clue.

Just how much air I will need to breathe
When your tide rushes over me
There’s only one way to figure out
Will ya let me drown, will ya let me drown

Oh dear, parental advisory is recommended.  Song of Solomon alert!  (Speaking of SoS, throughout the history of biblical interpretation, a unique “girl or God” debate has swirled.)

One more clue.

In a daydream, I couldn’t live like this
I wouldn’t stop until I found something beautiful
When I wake up, I know I will have
No, I still won’t have what I need

Let’s assemble the evidence.  The speaker is dreaming about an object of his affections.  He wants “something beautiful” to touch him.  He wants an interaction with this beautiful object, an interaction best described by consuming fire and rushing tides.  Therefore, the object of the speaker’s affections is


I presume this conclusion since the song (“Something Beautiful” by NeedToBreathe) is played on a popular Christian radio station.

What does it say about the state of contemporary Christian music when the clearest form of identification for its product is the name and slogan of its airways?