Country Christian — No. 5

Country Christian — a genre of country songs that have — at least for me — a Christian message.

I opened the series with Beer with Jesus by Thomas Rhett, way back in October (Oct. 13). Since then I decided to rank my Top 10. I ranked Beer with Jesus fourth as my favorite country songs with a Christian bent. To date, I shared my No. 10 pick, Alabama’s Angels Among Us (Aug. 17); No. 9, Red Dirt Road by Brooks and Dunn before they split up (Aug. 21), No. 8, When I Get Where I’m Going by Brad Paisley (Aug. 25); No. 7 The Little Girl by John Michael Montgomery (Aug. 29); and filling No. 6 was Watching You by Rodney Atkins (Sept. 1).

That brings us to my No. 5 pick, Three Wooden Crosses by Randy Travis.

The ballad reaches deep with a couple of twists that showed the genius of writers Kim Williams and Doug Johnson and recorded by Travis.

“A farmer and a teacher, a hooker and a preacher,
Ridin’ on a midnight bus bound for Mexico.
One was headed for vacation, one for higher education,
An’ two of them were searchin’ for lost souls…”

They were killed in an accident, but …

“There are three wooden crosses on the right side of the highway,
Why there’s not four of them, Heaven only knows …

That farmer left a harvest, a home and eighty acres,
The faith an’ love for growin’ things in his young son’s heart.
An’ that teacher left her wisdom in the minds of lots of children:
Did her best to give ’em all a better start.
An’ that preacher whispered: ‘Can’t you see the Promised Land?’
As he laid his blood-stained bible in that hooker’s hand…”

Then comes the twist. It’s the hooker who survived and had a son . The preacher telling the story is in fact the son of that hooker (holding up the bloodstained Bible as proof), who read the Bible that had been given to her by the dying preacher in the accident. In turn, her son eventually became a preacher himself.

To me, the song shows God has a purpose for all of us … the farmer, the teacher, the preacher and even the hooker. He has a purpose for me and you as well. We can’t understand it sometimes. We don’t see it sometimes. Three Wooden Crosses is a vivid reminder God has a purpose for our lives … whether we understand it or not.

“I guess it’s not what you take when you leave this world behind you,
It’s what you leave behind you when you go.”

To remind you of what this series is about, I enjoy country music. It can be raunchy and risque at times, twangy and bring out the best (or worst) of our redneck feelings {aw, come on, we all have them}. But, no matter what, it is always real — addressing real-life issues, warts and all. The country genre lyrics are honest, honest to goodness honest.

But at its root, the country music genre is a compilation of life in America — not the America of cities, but the rural America. It may have been born in the south, but its sound resonates in every state … even upstate New York. Despite its sometimes shortcomings, it buzzes with traditional American values — God, family and country. It’s not unusual to hear a country song with lyrics like “… five-card poker on a Saturday night, church on Sunday morning …” (Boondocks by Little Big Town).

Country music tells a story in less than five minutes, especially contemporary ballads. It’s the lyricist’s story … it’s the singer’s story … It’s your story … It’s my story.

And then there are those times when a country story just stops you in your tracks. Whenever you hear it, you make that connection with God. It returns you to communion.

So this series is about those country songs that have — at least for me — a Christian message.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Often fame is a matter of dying at the right time.


About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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