But it's also the result of a theory I have about churches.
It is simply this: you can tell an awful lot about a congregation by paying close attention to the words it sings on Sunday.
I'm talking values, theology, relevance and practical engagement with the world.
Here's an anthem sung in a Dallas church last Sunday. It's titled Prayer for the Children.
See what you think:
Can you hear the prayer of the children,
on bended knee, in the shadow of an unknown room?
Empty eyes with no more tears to cry, turning heavenward toward the light.
Cryin' Jesus, help me to see the mornin' light of one more day.
But if I should die before I wake, I pray my soul to take.
Can you feel the hearts of the children,
aching for home, for something of their very own?
Reaching hands with nothing to hold on to, but hope for a better day.
Cryin' Jesus, help me to feel the love again in my own land,
but if unknown roads lead away from home, give me loving arms, way from harm.
Can you hear the voice of the children,
softly pleading for silence in their shattered world?
Angry guns preach a gospel full of hate, blood of the innocent on their hands.
Cryin' Jesus, help me to feel the sun again upon my face.
For when darkness clears I know you're near, bringing peace again.
Can you hear the prayer of the children?
A thoughtful, compassionate church concerned about something beyond their own comfort or consumer desires for "satisfying worship," I'd say.
May their number increase.