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The Journey Home - July 11, 2012 - Collin Raye, Former Southern Baptist & Country Music Performer
EWTN ^ | June 11, 2012

Posted on 06/11/2012 3:32:03 PM PDT by NYer

There is a certain sense in which music has the power to define various periods in one’s life.  It will come as no surprise to readers that the last decade or so of my life has been shaped by a deliberate immersion into classical and sacred music.  Just last night I gave a talk at my parish on proofs for the existence of God, and my favorite of all time come from Dr. Peter Kreeft:  the “Argument from Beauty.”  It is as concise as humanly possible: there is the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, and therefore there is a God.  The extraordinary thing about this proof is ... you either get it or you don’t, but there is no more to say.  Along with many others, this is precisely how I experience Bach, be it the Goldberg variations, the violin partitas, or the Brandenburg Concertos.
What might surprise readers, save for those that have known me longer than a decade, is that the “musical shape” of my life in high school and college was largely defined by country music.  And even now, I find a certain nostalgia when I put on “The Dance” by Garth Brooks, “I Swear” by John Michael Montgomery, or “Love, Me” by Collin Raye.  Yes it is true, I was, always have been, and always will be a sucker for the love ballad.  This is more than likely what brought me to country music in the first place: a love for lyric, cheesy or otherwise.  I can still remember my good friend Mark telling me as a sophomore, “There are no better lyrics than in country music.”  Whether or not George Strait’s “The Chair” can rival Tantum Ergo remains a question, but then again, perhaps this is a matter of apples and oranges.
All of this provides a completely unnecessary backdrop for the current post, but the reader will forgive me for my nostalgic return to my days, be they “glory” or not-so-much, of high school.  I have spent the better part of the morning listening to Collin Raye’s Greatest Hits.  Yet it was not a moment of “Ain’t it funny how a melody can bring back a memory” (which is actually a Clint Black song) that served as the impetus for listening to Mr. Raye’s top songs.  Rather, it was an article I read about “What he’s doin’ now” (note the reference to Garth Brooks).
It seems, unbeknownst to me, that Collin Raye is a Catholic convert, coming into the Church at the age of 23.  Those familiar with his music will not be surprised to hear that he is Christian. He did, after all, sing songs such as “What if Jesus Comes Back Like That?” and “The Eleventh Commandment.”  Yet somehow news of his Catholicism escaped me all these years.  Collin was raised in a Baptist Church, but while playing in Oregon met a couple who would show up at many of his shows.  The wife of the couple wore a crucifix around her neck, and at that time Collin felt like the doctrine by which he was raised was lacking something.  After talking with the couple, he asked if he could go to Mass with them, and according the Collin, that was enough.  He experienced a heavy peace and reverence.  After that, in his own words, he became a very “apt pupil” and subsequently found conversion very easy.  In his own conversion story, his cites the writings of Scott Hahn and an appreciation for finding the doctrine of the Catholic Church highly biblically.  Particularly important for his conversion was the Real Presence, something he has “never doubted.”
However, the story does not end with his conversion.  It turns out that Collin released a new album in November, an album called His Love Remains.  The album is packed full of Catholic music, including “Ave Maria,” “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent,” “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You,” and “Amazing Grace.”
Yet the fact of the new collection pales in comparison to the story behind it.  From Raye’s own website,

“When you hear the name Collin Raye, you think of smooth, flawless vocals and chances are you probably immediately flash back to the 90's when Collin ruled country music radio with songs like "Little Rock", "That's My Story", "I Think About You", "Little Red Rodeo" and his sentimental hit, "Love Me". He's had  a total of 16 #1 hits, so you would assume he's found where he needs to be and is satisfied with his success. Sadly, it took the illness of his granddaughter, Haley, and her death at the early age of 10 years old in April 2010, to confirm for Collin exactly where his music belongs, where he's most comfortable and to bring him to the place his heart now resides, with the Lord and with Christian music. He has no plans to return to country music as a primary market and this project will musically explain why.”
With the impetus to look into his story provided by a brief advertisement on the back of the New Ignatius Press catalog, I started digging and reading, and I was astounded ... gloriously astounded ... by what I found.  (For those that already knew all of this, I profoundly apologize ... as I said, it amazes me that this was able to escape my attention all these years.
Collin Raye is the official spokesperson for the Terri Schindler Schiavo Life & Hope Network, which was established following Terri’s death in 2005.  In Collin’s own words, 

“I solemnly believe with all of my being that God is the final arbiter of life and death. Only when he is ready, will we be brought home to live with him forever. Like the Schindlers, I have experienced a tragic loss. On the day before Easter in April, 2010, I lost my nine year old granddaughter, Haley, to an undiagnosed neurological disorder. I pleaded with God for healing, but it didn't seem that he was listening to me. On April 3, 2010, God took her home. Looking back, it was evident that God was always present in my life, even in those dark, troubled times. He gave me and my family nine wonderful years with an Earth angel. Haley blessed our lives immensely. Her death is only a temporary separation. Indeed, I will get to see her again.”
Further, it seems that Collin is involved in the pro-life cause, speaking recently at the National Rally:

“I had the honor and privilege of being a keynote speaker for the National Pro-Life Youth Rally in Washington, DC yesterday. It is an honor to speak on behalf and defend those who have no voice. Although the weather didn't quite cooperate, we still had a turn out of approximately 400,000 people. To say it was a success, would be a huge understatement! God Bless!”
Obviously a good portion of the Catholic world is ahead of me on this.  Teresa Tomeo interviewed Collin Raye, the recording of which can be found here.

TOPICS: Apologetics; Moral Issues; Theology
KEYWORDS: collinraye; romancatholic; willconvertforfood

1 posted on 06/11/2012 3:32:07 PM PDT by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

The Journey Home airs at 8 pm EDT. Check your local cable listing for corresponding channel.

2 posted on 06/11/2012 3:33:10 PM PDT by NYer (Without justice, what else is the State but a great band of robbers? - St. Augustine)
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To: NYer
Nothing against the singer, but Grodi sure doesn't know much about music.

“Ave Maria” (pick a setting - there must be thousands) is the only Catholic hymn mentioned.

“Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” is an Eastern Orthodox hymn from the Liturgy of St. James. The melody is a 17th c. French carol set by Ralph Vaughn Williams, an English agnostic/atheist (even though he composed tons of very fine Anglican church music). “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” was written by a Presbyterian minister for the first Presbyterian hymnal, to fit Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" ("An die Freude"), setting a poem of Schiller in praise of universal love and brotherhood. Schiller, to the extent he was anything, was a Lutheran and probably a Freemason. “Amazing Grace" was written by an Anglican minister with Methodist tendencies; its theology is far from Catholic.

Doesn't Mr. Grodi have one researcher on staff with basic musical knowledge? This sort of sheer ignorance makes me despair, sometimes.

3 posted on 06/11/2012 6:12:21 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGS Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother
He probably just recognizes them from Mass, and never even LOOKED at who wrote them.

I'm a big fan of Ralph Vaughn Williams, who, though he may have not have been a devout Christian, sure wrote some beautiful religious pieces.

4 posted on 06/12/2012 12:16:49 AM PDT by SuziQ
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To: AnAmericanMother

Collin Raye has one of the best voices among country music singers of the last 25 years ... and dear me, we are getting older, aren’t we?

5 posted on 06/12/2012 3:40:08 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Genetic testing of unborn babies: measuring the morality of our culture. (Wesley Smith)
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To: SuziQ
I understand what you mean. You can hear all sorts of stuff at a certain type of Mass, including frankly Protestant offerings like "Amazing Grace".

But if you're writing an actual article for publication for a major Catholic TV network, you jolly well ought to check your references.

If you're too lazy or clueless to do that, just call it "music you might hear at a Catholic Mass" rather than "Catholic music".

Until we define our terms and get serious about music at Mass, we are never going to be able to raise Catholic music back to the level of your average Methodist church service . . . let alone the level of the Episcopalians (who are, whatever their theology, the gold standard of church music. Most of which they stole from our wastebaskets. We weren't using it.)

6 posted on 06/12/2012 6:08:22 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGS Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: Tax-chick
Well, we're getting older, but consider the alternative . . . . :-D

As my 87 year old dad says when anybody says, "Nice to see you" . . . "Nice to BE seen . . . and not VIEWED."

7 posted on 06/12/2012 6:10:26 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGS Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: SuziQ
RVW had a real talent for writing spectacular but singable stuff. A lot of it is drawn from old folk music, which gives it the singability (if your average joe couldn't sing something, it never became folk music).

He was the editor of the English Hymnal and arranged a lot of hymns for it. My personal favorite of the hymns is "For all the saints" . . . written by an Anglican bishop back before they went nuts. Nothing wrong with the theology and the setting is first rate.

We sing a couple of his anthems: "O how amiable" (a Psalm setting) and "Super flumina Babylonis" (ditto).

8 posted on 06/12/2012 6:21:32 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGS Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother

Yes, it’s not as if getting younger were a possibility. However, once in a while - when you realize you remember George Strait when he was playing bar gigs - it hits you that those things happened a really long time ago.

9 posted on 06/12/2012 6:52:47 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Genetic testing of unborn babies: measuring the morality of our culture. (Wesley Smith)
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To: AnAmericanMother
Episcopalians (who are, whatever their theology, the gold standard of church music. Most of which they stole from our wastebaskets. We weren't using it.)

ROTFL! I'm pretty much an Anglophile, when it comes to Church Music for hymn singing. For choirs, I love Early Music, but it's difficult to pull off with your typical Parish Choir.

10 posted on 06/12/2012 4:03:36 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: AnAmericanMother

“For All the Saints” is one of my favorite hymns.

11 posted on 06/12/2012 4:19:18 PM PDT by SuziQ
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