A Country Music Devotional

Iain M. Duguid has written a country music devotional titled Me and God: A 21-Day Country Devotional, giving listeners a chance how biblical truth interacts with tracts from Keith Urban, Billy Currington, Josh Turner, Toby Keith and many more. What follows are some questions he answered in response to why he wrote this and how he went about it.

How did you first get drawn to country music?

       Well, I grew up in the South—the South of England that is, even though my family was from Scotland. So I didn’t really hear much country music until I moved from Oxford, England, where we had been planting a church, to work at a seminary in Jackson, Mississippi in the mid-1990’s. Talk about culture shock—my children were convinced that the other kids in school were still holding the War of Independence against them! But in Mississippi, every other radio station plays country music, so I couldn’t help but listen. And as soon as I did, I was hooked. From then onward, the car radio was tuned to a country station wherever we went, and it was on as often as my wife and children would let me. Country music became the soundtrack of my life.

Why a country music devotional?

       Country songs tell stories that are so true to life, in all of its fascinating complexity. The singers don’t just sing about love, but about marriage, having children, the beauty of small-town Sunday mornings, the pain of separation and divorce, the reality of old age and death—and even about what lies beyond this life. That was what really gripped me: the Christian rootedness of so many of the stories. As the George Strait song reminds us, God and Country music really are a natural pairing, as natural as Billy Graham embracing Johnny Cash.

"As the George Strait song reminds us, God and Country music really are a natural pairing, as natural as Billy Graham embracing Johnny Cash."

What kinds of songs did you include?

       Some of the songs in the devotional are explicitly Christian songs (like Alison Krauss’s beautiful rendition of “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow”); others are not (like Toby Keith & Willie Nelson’s song, “Beer for My Horses”), but they raise questions to which the Christian gospel gives the answer. Still others point us to aspects of the Christian life that we easily forget, such as Carrie Underwood’s, “Jesus, Take the Wheel” (Surrender) and Hillary Scott’s poignant ,“Thy Will be Done” (Suffering). There are a mix of older songs (Hank Williams’s “I Saw the Light”) as well as newer ones (Gary Levox of Rascal Flats’ “The Distance”). Hopefully, the devotional will stimulate readers to think more deeply about the worldview of other songs that they are listening to as well.

How is the devotional organized?

       The idea behind the book is to pair a Bible verse with a well-known country song as an entry point into a particular aspect of the gospel. There’s a QR code link on each page to a version of that song on Spotify, in case you don’t know the song, or want to create your own playlist from the devotional. Step by step the devotional explains in simple terms what it means to come into a relationship with God through Jesus, how to walk through life with Jesus, and then it draws our eyes onward to the prospect of being with Jesus forever. Each day has a question or two to stimulate your thinking. It’s not a complex theological textbook; it’s a simple reminder of the truths that many people have never heard and that Christians so easily forget or take for granted.

How should people use this devotional?

       There are several ways to use the book. It’s short enough to read at one sitting, or to take day by day as a three-week devotional. Each devotion could also be a starting point for stimulating conversation with a friend, or you could make up a playlist of the songs on Spotify or Amazon Music and listen to it regularly, to soak yourself in the gospel.

Where can someone purchase the book?

       Me and God: A 21-Day Country Music Devotional is available at Amazon.com as a paperback or e-book.

Other Resources from the Author

Rev. Dr. Iain Duguid (PhD, Cambridge) is professor of Old Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary. He's the author of many books, including The Whole Armor of God. He also serves as pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

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