November 19, 2007

Better Questions - Janet Sketchley

It’s great to find an excellent book or CD and discover it’s by a Canadian. Inside, I give a little cheer for my fellow citizen and bask in a bit of shared pride. We have some amazing, God-given talent in this country, and too often we don’t hear about it.

I feel the same way when I find a book or CD by a Christian. Little cheer for my fellow believer, and a bit of shared pride: “hey, that’s my brother or sister in the LORD.”
Although I’ve read some great writing by Canadian Christians, and worshiped to some great Canadian music, today I want to tell you about the new CD from my favourite Christian musician, who happens to be American: Todd Agnew.

Better Questions (Ardent Music LLC, 2007)
Artist: Todd Agnew

Todd Agnew is the gifted songwriter who brought us the life-changing “Grace Like Rain” and “My Jesus.” The title of his new CD comes from the first track: “I’ve got better questions than I have answers….”

Better Questions’ music ranges from the rocky, driving “Least of These” and “War Inside” to the pensive “If You Wanted Me” and “Can I Be With You?” to the playful and catchy “Funny.” 

“Martyr’s Song,” co-written with novelist Ted Dekker, gives a poignant view of God’s longing to welcome His children into Heaven.

The songs are Agnew’s own, except for “Our Great God” (a duet with Rebecca St. James), “Can I Be With You?,” and the bonus track “Glorious Day,” which continues his tradition of reprising a public domain hymn in his own unique style.

Todd Agnew sings as everyman/woman, exploring Christians’ struggle to live right and challenging us to see past the labels we put on others into their hearts and needs. His lyrics leave no room for plastic Christianity.

The songs remind me of the group Casting Crowns, who also call Christians to authentic living, although Agnew’s music is heavier. His straightforward lyrics remind me of contemporary Christian music pioneer Keith Green, but they don’t have the harshness I sometimes felt in Keith’s delivery. There’s no judgement here, just an awareness of our common need for grace and a heartfelt “We have His heart, what is keeping us from being His hands?”

Better Questions packs a challenging message, but it’s no sermon set to music. Todd Agnew delivers vibrant music with raw, honest lyrics that could have come from our own souls—or our neighbours’. Like the old man in “A Corner in Memphis,” “he’s telling us our story, or at least his side.” It’s worth a listen.

Grace and peace,
© Janet Sketchley, 2007
For devotionals, reviews and conversation, stop by Janet Sketchley's blog, God with Us: Finding Joy.


  1. Makes me want to have a listen! Thanks for the review.

  2. Guess what - I just found his MySpace where he sings some of the songs you mention. He has a country edge too, no? I like! He sings here:

  3. Good review! Like Violet, I want to hear him so thanks to both of you for the links.

  4. Well written, Joanna!
    I will look for his CD. I get stuck listening to the same old, same old, so it will be refreshing to try somebody new. Do you think my teen girls would like it, too?

  5. Thanks for the comments! Pam, I'd think most teenaged girls would enjoy the sound, but maybe they could listen to the myspace link Violet found to be sure.


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