Make the World Beautiful: Josh Garrels

Art matters. Beauty matters. As image bearers of our Creator, we have been handed the mad joy of joining God’s work in making the world beautiful. To that end, I’m going to offer posts here and there contributing to the conversation, whenever the moment seems right, whenever I have something to say or an artist to share.

To start us off:

words: I couldn’t agree more with this guy

music: If you haven’t heard Josh Garrels, now is the time. One (1) of my beefs with Christian music (as with much “Christian art” – and perhaps my reason for quotation marks will be a topic for another day) is that it often merely mimics. Little fresh energy. Almost nothing unexpected. Far too little that is truly creative. Not Josh Garrels, Honestly I don’t even know if Garrels fits in the “Christian” genre, but his lyrics are richly theological, with piercing depth and nuanced texture. And his music – wow! his music. It’s alive. It’s haunting and vivid. It makes me want to listen better, to pay attention. When I hear a Garrels tune, I’m wondering where it will take me. And in the pop world of “heard 1, heard 1,000,” that’s saying something.

Garrels song “Zion and Babylon” is one of my favorites. But, there are a number. Listen here. And then buy an album.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

p.s. Due to a recommendation from one Justin Scott, this Wendesday night @ 11, I’ll be catching the Modern Skirts @ The Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. We’ll see what kind of creative goodness they have to offer.

9 Replies to “Make the World Beautiful: Josh Garrels”

  1. Thanks for the recommendation, Winn! I will warn you the Skirts will be nothing like Josh Garrels – but you probably knew that. Anyway I hope you like the show – I wish I could come along.

  2. Josh Garrels is great! Have you heard Jake Smith (, or on itunes) … he’s great as well, although not well known, he is – fresh, original, lots of variety, and deep for the modern, everyday man (like me). BTW, I have some news for you that has some interesting connections …

  3. Justin, I’m not expecting the Skirts to be like Garrels, I’d be disappointed if they were. I’ve listened to a little – and I’m looking forward to hearing these Georgia boys.

    Thanks John Mark, I’ll check it out. I think I know of your news, and I just emailed you.

  4. Winn- woohoo on the Josh Garrels recommendation. We Clemson-ites are talking to him about playing a show down here. If he does, you and yours must come. He (and his wife) are some of the most genuine people around. Peace to you all

    Sarah B.

  5. Winn, I sense there is something stirring in you. And I like it.

    Look forward to more tidbits on art and beauty.

    But you’ll have to forgive me – I have a sweet spot in my heart for pop music.

  6. I am teaching on Art & Faith at church this August – if you want to bat things around just let me know – I am always interested in the conversation. Maybe one day I will really be able to reconcile my two fields of study. It shouldnt be this hard…

  7. Dayna, I’d love to hear what you’re thinking on all this these days. You know, we used your crown of thorns piece for the longest time at dcf.

    In the last few years, I think my writing life has informed my pastoral life more than the other way around. And I’ve come to see pastoring as another form of art – I think there’s something there.

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