Every Word on Trial

January 3, 2010
“You have to put every word on trial for its life.”

Someone shared that phrase with me recently, to describe what good songwriters do when choosing lyrics. I’ve been undertaking that process lately (not to imply that I consider myself a good songwriter yet) as I work on a new CD project.
The project, being done at my brother’s request, is part music, part spoken parts. It is being written as an attempt to share the Gospel, in broad strokes and in a very accessible way to a wide audience. The layout for now is a letter to a niece (yes, I did one similar years ago to niece Christina). We’re looking at 6 spoken sections, each about 3 minutes long, and 7 songs, also about 3 minutes long. Sounds kind of simple, right? Hardly. My first draft of the letter, which I thought was stripped to the bare essentials, ran about an hour or so, which meant that I had to cut about 60% of it to meet our time constraints. “You put every word on trial for its life.” I’m still in the process and wonder, now that I’m close to my time goals, if there’s enough content left to make the Gospel intelligible. The exercise has been a good one in helping me ask myself, “how do I share the story of the Gospel with someone who know little or nothing of it, who is foreign to the jargon of the believer or the vocabulary of the Bible? What are the essentials? What parts, if left out, prove fatal to the message?
Every word is on trial.
i’m hoping to begin recording this month. Others are helping me choose the right words and I’m very grateful for the protection that they offer me from my mistakes, but I’d appreciate any prayers you might offer up in our behalf. The project will not be for sale. It will be a ‘give’ recording in hopes that we can get in lots of folks’ hands. We’ll let you know when it’s done.