I got into the Christian music scene when I was a freshman in college. My friend Andy Soper saw that I had some potential in understanding what music was and that i had style in fashion but not the musical knowledge to back it up. He insisted I put away the DC Talk and move over to this group called P.O.D. which I swiftly did and onto other records such as Stretch Arm Strongs Rituals of Life, MXPX's full catalogue, and many others. It was an addiction that started there and hasn't really stopped. Now it's a lifestyle, a love, something that always comes with me and has become a passion over many of the passions that I store.
This book chronicles all sides of the Christian music industry. In some ways it chronicles my life. He was at Cornerstone in 2004, my second adventure there full of heartbreak, but also the debut of Beauty From Within. He was at the Festival of Faith and Music where Sufjan Stevens played most of Seven Swans and Danielson was on amazing in his little tree. He was also saw Jay Bakker and Revolution at Cornerstone Florida, i was not there for that but life has been ever impacted and changed by their efforts. It was fun to see his point of view of these little festivals but it was also interesting to see his interaction with the Nashville music scene, the corporate politics of the big wigs in Christian music. To hear many peoples painful stories of trying to earn Gods love or make meaning out of their faith.
It was interesting to hear the wide array of stories but what the author found the most interesting or compelling were Dave Bazan from Pedro the Lion and Aaron Weiss from Mewithoutyou. He connected with their honesty and their authenticity something that i don't think he saw in a lot of the people he interviewed or came into contact with. I feel he saw their doubt and was attracted to that. There is something about not having all the answers and the ability to be real with your faith that people see and react positively. I know that my life has been forever changed by both of these bands. They help raise new questions as well as reveal what's longing in your heart. Real doubt or real fear that this life is not what you thought it was going to be. I think it's interesting to engage in that type of conversation.
He also raises questions that I have had for sometime. Why do we separate the Christian from the 'secular'? Other than worship music is there a need to create something that separates yourself from the rest of the quote on quote world? What is this life that we think that we have that is so privileged over the rest of the worlds? Aaron makes a point in saying that life wasn't so bad before Christ but with it brought a lot of pain and a lot of new questions. I think that is my struggle as well. Is the good news all that good news? Was Ghandi right when he said he liked our Christ but not our Christians? Can't we find God in the culture? We do we demonize people who were also created in Gods image?
I have a lot more questions than I have answers and I am definitely okay with that...