Like loving dialogue, like the Holy Spirit, music has the ability to connect people across deep differences. While the music we cherish is deeply personal, and we don’t all enjoy the same kinds of music, it can still provide a window for us to access and start to understand each other’s deepest loves and longings.
Below I’ve listed a handful songs that I associate strongly with the OTL experience. Some are songs that you introduced me to. Others are songs I heard that make me think of you all, of what it’s like to come together both in spite of and because of our differences, with hearts tuned to a desire to know and love each other well.
I’ve highlighted a few of the lyrics that most speak to those who submitted them. Feel free to send me songs that remind you of Oriented to Love, indicating what it is about the song that makes that connection for you, and I’ll share them as I’m able. Enjoy this playlist on Spotify, courtesy of alum Heidi!
— Kristyn Komarnicki
“All Belong Here” by The Many
This precious song, created by OTL alum Darren Calhoun’s band, is an invitation from Jesus to his welcoming table. – Thank you, Darren!
Come and remember who you are here
Do this to remember who I am
Come and remember you belong here
All belong here.
“This Is Me,” from The Greatest Showman
These lyrics remind me that my journey of self acceptance is the key to withstanding a lack of acceptance by others. They also offer a bit of inspiration to keep on the path. – Wendy
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me.
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me.
“One” by U2, featuring Mary J. Blige
This song reminds me of the church! – Kristyn
One love / One blood / One life
You got to do what you should
One life / With each other / Sisters / Brothers
One life / But we’re not the same
We get to / Carry each other
“Brave” by Sara Bareilles
There is so much I love about this song, and you all know why! – Kristyn
You can be amazing / You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast / Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live / Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is!
“Rise Up” by Andra Day
I love how this song moves from “I’ll rise up” to “We’ll take the world to its feet…” It’s a great anthem to resurrection and hope! – Kristyn
When the silence isn’t quiet
And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe
And I know you feel like dying
But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet
And move mountains
We’ll take it to its feet
And move mountains
“Little Bird” by The Weepies
When you feel unworthy and unloved, but the Holy Spirit tells you otherwise… – Kristyn
Sometimes it’s hard to say even one thing true
When all eyes have turned aside / They used to talk to you
And people on the street seem to disapprove / So you keep moving away
And forget what you wanted to say
Little bird, little bird / Brush your gray wings on my head
Say what you said, say it again / They tell me I’m crazy
But you told me I’m golden
“How Emptiness Sings” by Christa Wells
God turns our suffering into a beautiful story, for God’s glory… – Kristyn
His bow is on the strings
And the tune resonates in the open space / To show us how emptiness sings:
Glory to God, Glory to God! / In fullness of wisdom,
He writes my story into his song, / My life for the glory of God.
“God Is a River” by Peter Mayer
Like Aslan, our God is not safe, but our God is good… – Kristyn
And so I found an anchor, a blessed resting place
A trusty rock I called my savior, for there I would be safe
From the river and its dangers, and I proclaimed my rock divine
And I prayed to it “protect me” and the rock replied:
“God is a river, not just a stone / God is a wild, raging rapids
And a slow, meandering flow / God is a deep and narrow passage
And a peaceful, sandy shoal / God is the river, swimmer
So let go”
“This Too Shall Be Made Right” by Derek Webb
We hurt each other, the world’s a mess, but… – Kristyn (thanks for sharing this with me, Heidi)
Oh I don’t know the sufferings of people outside my front door.
And I join the oppressors of those I choose to ignore.
I’m trading comfort for human life / And that’s not just murder, it’s suicide.
And this too shall be made right.
“Dear Me” by Nichole Nordeman
Jesus patiently sticks with us as our understanding of who he is and what he calls us to evolves over time.
Dear Me …
You did not learn this in a day or two or three
So ask a lot of questions
But Jesus loves us, this I know
And there are no exceptions.
“I Am” by Jill Phillips
What happens when we accept the deep comfort that Jesus offers us? – Kristyn
Oh, gently lay your head upon my chest,
And I will comfort you like a mother while you rest
The tide can change so fast, but I will stay
The same through past, the same in future, the same today
I am constant, I am near
I am peace that shatters all your secret fears
I am holy, I am wise
I’m the only one who knows your hearts desires
“Testimony” by The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus & Stephen Schwartz
This song depicts the pain that so many LGBTQ Christians face, and the affirmation that life is worth living. Poignant stuff. Read the full lyrics here. – Kristyn (thanks for sharing this with me, Jon)
God take this away or take me away …I don’t want to be like this …
I don’t want to be who I am, I don’t want to be how I am, I don’t want to be what I am
I don’t want to be anymore …
Hang in, hang on / Wait just a little longer
Hang in, hang on / I know it now, I know it now
If I had made myself not exist / There is so much that I would have missed …
“The Cure For Pain” by Jon Foreman
I’ve found that the Christian LGBTQ community often has the strongest and most steadfast faith. We find it impossible, a lie, to run away from God, despite systemic and personal oppression at the hands of His people. May the broader Christian community seek to learn from the LGBTQ community’s deep struggles with shame, fear, and most of all, pain. – Joe
And Heaven knows, Heaven knows,
I tried to find the cure for the pain.
Oh my Lord, to suffer like you do,
It would be a lie to run away.
“You Can’t Stop Love” by Washuntara
Washuntara is a Buddhist man I met at during a Silent Retreat at a Catholic monastery in Kentucky a few years back. I first approached him because there was something about his eyes that held such love that I had to speak to him. He is from Australia, and told me he first encountered the Holy Spirit among some Christ followers at a Buddhist monastery in Japan. One could say we have many differences, but it was love that caused us to cross paths. Love can bridge many gaps. – Michael
“Brother” by NEEDTOBREATHE
Everybody needs someone beside ’em shining like a lighthouse from the sea… – recommended by Thomas
“Let It Be Love” by Unspoken
Sending this song out to the evangelical church. – Michael
How easy we forget / What drew and pulled us in
It was not pointed fingers / Or proving me wrong
That called and convicted / Me to come home
But kindness brought repentance / Freedom and forgiveness.
If we’re gonna be known for something / Let it be love, love, love