Screen Door on a Submarine

Over the last 48 hours, we’ve had enough serious theological discussion to last . . . well, till tomorrow, anyhow. On a lighter note, here is a Christian barbershop quartet offering their take on one of Rich Mullins’ best-remembered songs:

Could you see any Southern Gospel group pulling this off? If so, who?

(Here’s the original artist rendition.)


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41 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Daniel, I was fortunate to attend a concert in Fort Worth (at the old “Foot Loose” Christian venue) prior to his death. He performed that song; although I don’t think he had the cups though.:)
    FYI, there is a better version done by the First Baptist Church of Midlothian, Texas (my hometown) which is linked to that one on Youtube.

    It is a fun song, and one which any Southerngospel quartet could do well IMHO.

  2. One of my favorite Rich Mullins tunes, just because it’s such a funny mental image. A lot of truth to the lyrics, though!

  3. My vote goes to the Ball Brothers, by the way.

    • I’ll second that motion.

  4. Hey, this is hilarious! Now I didn’t think you liked Rich, Daniel. Great stuff. 🙂

    • There may be hope for ol’ Daniel yet…. 😉

    • Well, given the theological direction he took toward the end of his life, I can’t say that I wholeheartedly love him or am a fan, or anything along those lines. But this is a cool song, albeit one I hadn’t thought about for years till coming across this.

      • Well, I could appreciate someone’s music if it’s really good, even if I wouldn’t agree with his ideology. Obviously there are limits—I would find it impossible to listen to and enjoy anything by a gay singer!

      • That is a tough one. Knowing artists are gay (and unapologetically one) makes it difficult to listen to their music. Kirk at least admitted it was a sin and prayed for help with the temptations (which we all have temptations in life). However, I believe even Ray Boltz’s music can be used by God (even though Ray has turned his back from what I have seen). God’s truth is still in songs like “Thank You”, “The Anchor Holds” and “I Pledge Allegiance To the Lamb”. God used a donkey for goodness sake. I can differentiate between using music that contains God’s truth from condoning or supporting the artist and their rebellion.

        A guy in my choir struggled with it when he heard about Ray. He tells that God told him that HE gave the music. So, my friend is able to sing the songs now even though he strongly disagrees with Ray’s current status.

      • That’s true. However, I agree that it’s important to avoid the appearance of condoning an artist’s lifestyle in that situation. For example, if an unapologetically gay writer offers a new song to a group, I would say they shouldn’t cut it, because that would be like promoting the writer.

      • I can probably agree with that because the song was likely created during a time of rebellion. I don’t know that I would hold it against someone who did support a song in that case if the writer managed to capture God’s truth in it still, but perhaps another song would be a better choice.

        I also wonder how many people in churches even know Ray’s status. I am sure word has gotten around some, but since it was mostly talked about online, there may be several who don’t know. My friend knows because I told him. I didn’t go around telling everybody (I think told a group of close friends to). I told him because he really liked him and sang a bunch of his songs. I felt he had a right to know and could decide what he felt comfortable with doing.

      • Right, and it can be hard to break the news to somebody who’s a committed fan.

        As for my personal listening, I try to avoid the person’s music in general since, really, we don’t know what state the person was in when the song was created.

      • What theological direction did he go towards the end of his life?

      • He was in the process of converting to Catholicism; he started attending Mass and was taking a necessary class prior to formalizing membership in the Roman Catholic chuch at the time of his death.

      • Right. Which by itself I think is a rather silly reason not to be a fan.

      • Umm, do you think that someone’s theology has no bearing on their music?

        Suppose you knew someone was a Morman – or, say, from a group that denied the divinity of Jesus. Would you pay close heed to their songs of faith to determine whether the unique views of their religion – those views not shared with Christianity – and see whether that was reflected in their songs?

        I would.

        And for the same reason, while I would share more in common with Catholics than with the other two groups named, I would still watch their music carefully.

      • I make a distinction between non-Christian groups and groups that are still Christians even though I have my disagreements with them.

        Last I checked, Rich didn’t have any songs about praying to the Virgin Mary, though you’re free to correct me if I’m wrong.

      • That’s far from the only Roman Catholic doctrine with which I would disagree.

      • The unfortunate thing is if one is truly following Catholic doctrine, he or she is not a Christian, any more than a Mormon, Buddhist, or Atheist is.

        I too would be very careful “hitching my wagon” to Catholicism, in any way.

      • Wow… I didn’t know that. That kind of surprises me. You don’t hear of too many people converting to Catholicism.

      • I’m not Catholic, but I disagree with that. In any case, I think one can easily profit from Rich’s work, or the work of other Catholics in the arts.

      • Didn’t you hear about Frank Beckwith, Andrew? 😉

      • I don’t know who Frank Beckwith is. I’ll google him.

      • I lean with New SG Fan on this one. The essence of the original Catholic doctrine was on point…until now, of course. But I have found “many” Independent, Fundamentalist Baptist Churches to be as equally in error as doctrine and church dogmatics are concerned when compared to many of the points and subpoints in Catholic Theology. That is not to oust “all members” of either. There are many SG groups affiliated with the Independent Baptist Church that I would pay to go see and buy their music.

      • Well, as a Catholic Priest who also happens to be a very loyal and avid Southern Gospel listener, I guess that it would surprise no one that I would agree with New SG Fan.

        I recognize the fact that there are many SG songwriters and musicians with whom I have theological differences with, for instance, Oneness Pentecostals. But I choose to look at what the music itself says, rather than the denomination to which they ascribe. If I just had to listen to Catholic artists, I would be stuck with Matt Maher, Aaron Neville, Kathy Tricolli, and Rachael Lampa. All fine if you like P&W or CCM but not if you are a SG fanatic!

        Rarely is there a Southern Gospel song that I would disagree with, (I may interpret it a little different, just as a Presbyterian might interpret a lyric about the rapture in a song differently than how it was meant by the singing group, but churches have been doing that with hymns for years.)

        Now, I do agree that if an artist is living in public and blatant sin that I would neither condone nor listen to their music no matter how good it is.

      • Fr. Gallagher, while we would disagree on key points of doctrine, I am far closer to your position than to that of Oneness Pentecostals, that is for sure! It could be debated whether they even fall within orthodox Christianity.

      • You forgot Audrey Assad, Fr. Gallagher. Now I might not mind being stuck with her… 😉

  5. How I miss Rich Mullins. Good idea, Daniel. I think the current groups would be well served to take a look at his material. Some of his lyrics were among my favorites of all time!

    As far as a group pick, a group that wants to feature their pianist on a fun song, or their kids…this is a good choice.

    Peg McKamey maybe? ha ha ha 🙂 I love Peg and she would probably tackle this one just for fun, but I am just kidding around.

    • I’d love to see her take it on!

  6. I like the Ball Brothers idea, except it would be nice to have a bass…I also think it should be slowed a little, more like the studio version.

  7. That was a bit faster than the original, but it was good. 🙂 I grew up on Rich Mullens.

  8. being a big rich fan, i’ve always wanted to record this. some friends and i sang it in high school without the cups lol…those kids were singing it waaay faster than we did tho lol, maybe too fast!

    • Go for it!

      My first thought was the Ball Brothers, since they’re always doing crazy stuff (but crazy in a good way) and I could see them really pulling it off. But my second thought was that Soul’d Out might just be crazy enough to pull it off. (This was at the start of the day, and indeed before you stopped by.) I really think y’all could do it. 🙂

    • What group do you sing with?

      • It’s Tanner Stahl, baritone for Soul’d Out Quartet.

  9. This is my favorite youtube video for this. Would love (just for fun) see the GVB tackle it. 😉

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lZzp1u1PDQ

  10. Just don’t let Tim Lovelace get near this one! Ha.

  11. I know that cup thing. I learned it in Girl Scouts.

  12. Neat song. I don’t think we’re coordinated enough to pull that off. lol

    • I think you could! 🙂

    • Maybe not, but it would be fun to watch you try.

      VIDEO BLOG!!