Monday, April 2, 2012

Steve Taylor, Essayist

Time for another piece on Steve Taylor.

Since I last blogged about Mr. Taylor in depth, Sarah Gibson has created an interactive website about the musician/producer/filmmaker. (You can see the story of the creation of the website here.) I'm still navigating around the place, but I was struck by this essay, written in the 1980s while Taylor was on tour.

Sometimes it's funny.

Glen (my bass player--may not be his real name) has awakened from a deep sleep with the perfect imprint of a corduroy seatcover across his face--looks like one of those tribal warriors in National Geographic. Everyone's hair is a memorable sight after an all-nighter (reminds me of the guys in Undercover).

(This was written before Gym Nicholson played guitar on a Steve Taylor album.)

Sometimes it's thought-provoking.

The concert promoter introduces himself, immediately asks that I tell tonight's audience not to dance, and wants to know if I'll be doing an [altar] call. I question him extensively on the preparation he's done for counseling and follow-up, and decide that he is ill-prepared. He insists that even if thirty make a commitment to Jesus tonight and only two are committed Christians a year later, that's better than none. I ask him about the twenty-eight who will think from lack of follow-up that they tried Christianity and it didn't work for them. The subject is a very touchy one for me, because after five years as a youth pastor, I've learned how easily young people can be manipulated into doing something they neither understand nor want. I'm interested in using my music to communicate Christian truth to my culture. I'm not interested in using an emotionally-charged rock concert to get numbers streaming down the aisles in order to justify a "ministry".

And sometimes it's REALLY thought-provoking.

I'm beginning to understand what makes the road such a struggle. It's not fatigue, it's not unprofessional promotion, it's not malnourishment. It's the constant battle I have with pride. All the rationale for doing concerts and insisting on quality publicity and staging make perfect sense. But there's times when the medium begins to take over the message, and even when I'm maintaining a Godly perspective on it all, my ego keeps sneaking up on my blind side. There's no room for selfish ambition and pride in Christian service, but the battle can be exhausting.

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