Thursday, October 27, 2005

Assassination Vacation

If you're an NPR junkie, you know who Sarah Vowell is... esp. if you like This American Life, which is offbeat, liberal, and a majorly intriguing way to use radio to re-examine the familiar. (I still think the This American Life show on a youth mission trip should be required listening for every church leader...)

Chances are, though, the only time you've heard Sarah was in the role of Violet in Pixar's The Incredibles. (Not my favorite Pixar flick - that's Monsters, Inc. - but it's very, very good.)

What all of you may not know is that she's also a fine author... just finished her book, Assassination Vacation, in which she combines travelouge, history, political commentary & personal journal into a compelling mix. Her fascination with history (and esp. dead presidents) is a jumping off point for a very interesting read.

Now, don't say I didn't warn you: she definitely did NOT vote for George Bush in the last election. If that's going to make you grind your teeth, stay away.

Whether you go & read the book or not, do finish this post... I'm typing an excerpt on her view about a evangelical Easter sunrise service (from a decidely non-believeing perspective) that those of us in "professional" Christianity need to listen to...
...I get a look at the choir. Thirty singers and from where I'm sitting it looks like only two of them are black. It's not like I'm saying suburban white people shouldn't sing. Because I love Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher." But as I suspected, at six-thirty sharp the choir does stand up to perform the first of their competent renditions of generic, mid-tempo pop ballads that sound like they were written by a computer using a database of Easter vocabulary. In fairness, I should mention that other people here love the choir. The crowd is clapping & swaying and raising their arms. For me, however, where gospel music is concerned, my taste is more conservative and narrow-minded than a Reverend Falwell commencement address at Oral Roberts U. Unless it's an old holy-roller hymn Johnny Cash would have learned from his mama back in Arkansas, I'm not interested...
Question: how much of our musical choices are driven by people outside the church? If music communicates deeply to people's souls, then shouldn't we make sure it's connecting with people who need the love & grace of Jesus Christ?

5 comments:

zionred said...

a liberal on NPR?! Get outta here!

Seriously though, I've actually been wanting to read this book ever since I saw her interview on Conan O'Brien. It sounds interesting.

tommy said...

public radio yes!!!!
where else can you find good jazz, good blues, and good bluegrass. the woman you speak of i only heard part of her show before, but from your blog i like where she is coming from. i am definetly an outside christian, by this i mean i am there with my heart and sole in belief but the music put on by the anglo-saxon suburbanites easily makes me close my ears and humm like a little kid. it makes me happy that pastors like you are listening and paying attension to this kind of stuff, cause i am just a chef looking for a spot in this world.

Scott said...

I'm confused. This person, who is not a believer, attends a Christian worship service. Despite being an admitted liberal who listens to popular music (such as Van Halen), she criticizes the music of a Christian choir for not being conservative enough? I don't follow the logic of her statement.

zionred said...

I know this is an old post, but I'm relying again anyway sine Mark linked to it again...

Scott, logic evades most liberal thought.

Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

I responded to Scott's question w/a 2nd post: http://bit.ly/bpKIiD... I don't think she was illogical at all.

And, Paul, if you're willing to be honest about this rather than trying to score points in the eternal political war, neither do you.