by Kevin Burton
The starting pitcher in a major league baseball game sometimes gets to pick one or more songs to be played over the stadium’s PA system. Did you know that?
I knew that but it wasn’t at the front of my mind one day, and it led an odd but cool moment during the 1997 World Series.
I was watching the game in my apartment in Columbus. The announcers were going over statistics. The Cleveland starting pitcher was warming up.
Something was off that had my brain fried for a minute. It took me a while to gather, but here’s what happened.
The song playing over the stadium PA was “All About You” by Christian recording artist Twila Paris. I had never heard one of my favorite Christian songs played in a secular setting like that. For a moment it didn’t compute.
Then it hit me. The Cleveland pitcher was Orel Hershiser, who is a Christian. He ordered up the song, and I think I know why.
The operative lyric for Hershiser I’m sure, was “No matter what I face today, you’re all I need.” Hearing that lyric is a great way to keep an athletic competition in proper perspective within the larger arena of God’s ongoing work through His people.
After that moment I adopted the song and put it on the “attitude tapes” I played before my beep baseball games.
“All About You” is from Paris’ 1993 album “Beyond A Dream.” That’s the album with “God Is In Control” on it.
God is in Control is a rollicking Christian anthem, easily recognizable as such by virtually anyone, not just the record company types who are paid to “hear a hit.”
But as an amateur songwriter All About You is the song I marvel at, and as a Christian, the one I am most grateful for.
So far I haven’t found too many people writing or talking about it or reviewing it. But if it’s overshadowed by her other excellent work, All About You is awesome nevertheless.
I did find one reviewer, on cmusicweb.com, who listened to Beyond A Dream and wrote, “All About You,” another worship track, is probably my favorite song on the CD along with “Rescue the Prisoner.”
All About You is a song plucked from the reality of a Christian walk.
First verse and chorus are:
“Too often I forgive myself
For anger I feel justified
And turn away from all the grace
It’s why You died
It’s why You died”
“Too often I withhold myself
And cannot find a thing to give
Forgetting that it’s not my own
This life I live
This life I live”
“And I will be frustrated
Aimless and alarmed
Until I am persuaded and disarmed
And I face this moment
Moment of truth
No matter what it’s all about
It’s all about You”
The “no matter what I face today, you’re all I need” line is from the second verse.
It’s as if Paris said OK, let’s mess with Kev for a while. I’ll write a song that demands spiritual and intellectual honesty and how he reacts to it.
“Frustrated, aimless and alarmed….” I have never heard those words put together in any other context but they exactly fir my true life Christian experience for big chunks of time, sad to say.
“Frustrated, aimless and alarmed,” is like a signpost from the book of Ecclesiastes. That’s the Old Testament “vanity of vanities” book that tells us how meaningless life is without God.
Fortunately Paris continues in that chorus with, “until I am persuaded and disarmed…”
That’s just it. You have to stay in step with God. It’s not good enough to just wear the God logo on your sleeve but otherwise do your own thing. It doesn’t work.
Paris gets to the same conclusion that King Solomon does in Ecclesiastes, “no matter what it’s all about, it’s all about You.”
I found a songwriting seminar given by Paris over Skype. The sound quality was awful but her insights were fantastic.
She said the songs that really resonated with people were given directly by God, not strictly from her talents as a songwriter. “If I’m trying too hard it doesn’t happen,” she said.
She gave “The Warrior is a Child” as an example of a song that she thought was just for her and that nobody else would relate to. She didn’t want to record it and played it reluctantly for her producer who said, “Are you crazy!”
She recorded it of course and the rest is history. But nowhere in the hour Skype session did she mention, or did anybody ask about All About You.
There must be others, but I know at least one reviewer, Orel Hershiser and I hold the song near to our hearts.