Oriented to Love: A Playlist

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.

I can’t imagine an Oriented to Love dialogue without music. Over the years, I’ve shared some of my favorites and you’ve shared yours. 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 me. 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.

— Kristyn Komarnicki

“One” by U2, featuring Mary J. Blige

This song reminds me of the church!

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!

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!

 

“Little Bird” by The Weepies

When you feel unworthy and unloved, but the Holy Spirit tells you otherwise…

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…

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…

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…

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.

 

“I Am” by Jill Phillips

What happens when we accept the deep comfort that Jesus offers us?

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

 

“Dust We Are” by the Brilliance

Can we trust God enough to let go—of our prejudices, fears, theological positions—long enough to fall in love with each other?

From dust we’ve come and dust we are and shall return
Be still my soul and let it go, just let it go
Glory to God / Glory to God in the highest
Naked we came and shall return into the grave
Be still my soul and let it go, just let it go

 

“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.

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 …

Alum submissions to the playlist:

“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.