Steps of Faith 1987-1991 (Sparrow)
Margaret Becker

By Kelvin Bailey

Few artists in Christian music write or sing with the kind of heartfelt honesty displayed by Margaret Becker over the past five years. With each of her first four albums, she has not only given us quality musicianship but has also offered us a glimpse of where she has travelled on her personal spiritual trek. If each song on each album is a small portrait of the heartaches, frustrations, joys and victories encountered on her quest for a strong yet simple faith, then Steps of Faith 1989-1991, Becker's new "Best of" collection, may well be a great mural depicting that journey in total.

Most of Steps of Faith consists of the radio-ready ballads that have become the mainstay of Margaret Becker's success. Although most of her die-hard fans know her as a little firecracker who can rock with the best of them _ a fact she proves every time she goes on stage _ it is the ballads that are played on Christian radio and are most likely responsible for the biggest part of her record sales. Fortunately, none of the passion and intensity of the rock tunes which don't appear on this collection is lost on the more mellow songs which do. This is nevermore evident than on the riveting "Jesus Come In." With an urgency that can come only from first hand experience, Becker challenges her listeners to leave behind any guilt, burden or excess baggage and enter freely into the presence of God. This song is only one of many examples of Becker's ability to slice through the idealistic pop-fluff all too prevalent in Christian music these days, cutting to the heart of the real issues ands struggles facing Christians.

Undoubtedly one of the greatest of Margaret Becker's greatest hits, "Who Am I" is the one cut on this collection which probably best showcases her incredible voice and its wonderful range. "Who Am I" is indeed one of the great Christian songs of the past several years. It's worshipful lyrics, as well as its intensely beautiful melody have made it a constant showstopper at Becker's live shows.

Although Steps of Faith concentrates mostly on ballads, one of Becker's best rock tunes is included, insuring that none forget her real roots. "This is My Passion" is very much akin to a perfectly rounded ball rolling down a perfectly smooth hill. It starts downhill, picks up speed and doesn't let up until it's finished _ no lulls, breaks or let-ups. Becker's passion for holiness is almost matched by the passion pouring forth in her singing. This is Becker at her rock 'n rollin' best. It's almost a shame that those who know her music through radio have missed this important part of her musical ministry. Hopefully, the inclusion of this song will clue them in.

Steps of Faith includes one previously unreleased song, "This Love." This is another example of Becker's ability to crank out great ballads ready for radio play. Lyrically, "This Love" serves as somewhat of an umbrella, covering Becker's spiritual journey.

There are more Margaret Becker songs worthy of inclusion in a greatest hits package than there is room on a CD. Although the songs included on Steps of Faith are highly representative of her greatest, it is my hope that this collection serves to whet the listeners' appetite for more, prompting them to check out the jewels on her previous four releases. They are definitely worth the investment _ trust me. My only remaining question is why, on a collection entitled Steps of Faith, the incredible song "Steps of Faith," from the Simple House is not included. Oh well, nobody's perfect.