What Psalty the Singing Song Book Taught Me That Veggie Tales Never Did

1477884_704949259524389_411273419_nBeing a nanny and an aunt means that I get to revisit things from my childhood often.

You’re watching the kid shows the children around you are watching and you start comparing the kids stuff of today with the kid stuff of your time. You wonder, “Would they like the original My Little Ponies?” You know, back before the Equestrian Girls (horse girl hybrids) showed up.

For Christian homes there were/are always alternatives to watching Disney, Nick Jr, or Sprout and let’s be real, sometimes they are completely made of CHEESE.

I was in youth group when Veggie Tales became a thing and we ATE. IT. UP. It was quite the departure from my generation’s Christian Barney equivalent, Psalty the Singing Song Book. We loved Bob the tomato and Larry the cucumber, even though they were meant for kids a good bit younger than us. The bright and comical retelling of favorite bible stories (at least in the early days) was fun and engaging, and who didn’t love Silly Songs With Larry or Love Songs With Mr. Lunt? To this day I know all of the words to the cheeseburger song.

A day or so ago the woman I nanny for and I were talking about good ol’ Psalty and recalling when the churches we grew up in had done different Psalty plays (because oh yes, there were plays) and how ridiculous they had been, but how much we had enjoyed it all at the time anyway. In that conversation she mentioned that she had recently purchased Kids Praise 1 and 2 for her two year old because she thought he might like the songs. So yesterday we had some fussy time I was trying to defuse and usually a little music helps, so I put on the Kid’s Praise album and had a moment… The kids enjoyed it, but I cried. Psalty made me cry and here’s why:

First it was like stepping back in time, I hadn’t heard any of those songs in probably 20 years, but hearing them and seeing the album covered I was taken back to my parents living room where they played the record for my sister Kristin and I, I couldn’t have been more than four.

I knew ALL of the words to these songs after all that time of not hearing them AND what astonished me the most was realizing that Psalty the Singing Song Book is responsible for a number of scriptures I know by memory to this day.

The songs on that album are fun and engaging, but they aren’t about hairbrushes, water buffalo, or cheeseburgers.

The words I remember from Psalty’s songs are things like,

“Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us… that we should be called the sons of God”

“Jesus, name above all names, beautiful Savior, glorious Lord, Emmanuel God is with us, blessed Redeemer, Living Word.”

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you, hallelujah.”

“Beloved let us love one another, for love is of God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God for God is love. Beloved, let us love one another! 1 John 4: 7& 8”

“Father I adore you, lay my life before you, how I love you!”

“Because you gave me a heart and you gave me a smile, you gave me Jesus and you made me your child, and I just thank you Father for making me me.”

Psalty may have been cheesy, and sure, he was probably the only book every known to have a blue afro, but it’s precious to me today to know that when I was four and five the words in my heart and in my mind were from God’s word and that they have stayed with me all of this time.

I am so grateful.

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6 thoughts on “What Psalty the Singing Song Book Taught Me That Veggie Tales Never Did

  1. BJ says:

    I love to see I’m not the only one to have noticed this and have had this conversation.

    • Katie says:

      You’re definitely not the only one. I was really moved by the whole situation… and it made me sad for younger generations. I know things like that have played a major role in faith being a present and important theme in my entire life.

  2. I have been having similar moments over the past 5 years or so with Christian musician albums from the late 1970’s through the early 1990’s.

    It was cheese.

    90% of the albums were intentionally created to be a direct replacement for some popular secular album that you weren’t supposed to listen to — ironically, I was so naive and sheltered I didn’t even know that until many many years later.

    But just as you say here, compared to what you get today, which is so much more sophisticated and clever and culturally relevant, the deep rooting in the scriptures just isn’t there like it was back in the day.

    Heck, I know one musician who made a whole career just putting the Psalms and Song of Solomon to music.

    The other day a commentary on the daily reading (which during Lent is all Old Testamental reading) referenced Isa. 40

    “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

    ,and it was accompanied by a picture of an eagle soaring across a sunrise and my brain _instantly_ went back to “Fly Eagle Fly” by White Heart…

    “Do you not know? Have you not heard?
    Faith is a bird and it’s wings are his holy word

    Fly Eagle Fly
    Hold your head high
    Soar upon the spirit wind
    Oh Fly Eagle Fly
    Up into the sky
    Ride the golden wings of morning”

    And then I remembered that there is an amazing icon in my home parish of a saint holding a scroll that says “A monk without possessions is like a high flying eagle”.

    And I’m sorry, but you just don’t get that kind of depth of spiritual detail from _any_ of the “cross over” bands of the past 10-15 years _nor_ in any of the “praise and worship” music of the past 20 years, either.

    It is one of the biggest reasons I am increasingly opposed to the whole “cultural relevance” thing that is going on. I think it is _poison_ to the faith.

    • Katie says:

      Right… I have a difficult time with counter-culture attitude AND the push to be culturally relevant. I’m in favor of creating culture. In my mind that looks like a.)following Jesus’ example… which was setting a new pace, not falling in-step with culture, or being an alternative to culture, but he redefined culture itself. He was neither competing with it or fitting into it. I mean, c’mon… salt and light. And b.) we have to let go of trying to prove we’re right all of the time. Period.

      • What I learned about counter-culture is that it is still hip locked with culture. If you identify yourself as “not that” then you’re still completely dependent on “that” for your identity. Our identity is neither culture nor is it counter-culture. Our identity is as the bride of Christ.

      • Katie says:

        Yes, THAT. That exactly.

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