Larry Norman Leaves the Planet

Larry Norman 4/8/1947 - 2/24/2008I read over at about the passing of a legend, Larry Norman. Is it a) ironic or b) poetic or c) Him … that the day after Larry leaves this planet (he was just visiting after all) I am confronted with “Christian” music ahh… issues?

Here’s a couple of quotes from Larry from back before I was paying any attention to him:

  • “I’m pleased with what’s happening in England and Europe…but I’m not totally thrilled about the commercialisation of Christian music in America.”
  • [Christian music generally meant] “sloppy thinking, dishonest metaphors, and bad poetry.”


Badguy dragged me to one of Larry’s concerts in 2000 where I remember him almost bragging about NOT being on the cover of CCM. At the time as a new believer, I did not understand everything he was talking about.

Also, I found the following on Wikipedia very interesting:

Norman sought to help musicians who were struggling with drug problems in the 1970s. He began a Bible study called “The Vineyard” for actors and musicians, and as it grew Folk/rock performer Bob Dylan became one of the attendees. Dylan subsequently became familiar with Norman’s records Only Visiting This Planet and So Long Ago the Garden. During this period, he released three albums that were stylistically similar to Norman’s: Slow Train Coming (1979), Saved (1980), and Shot of Love (1981).

While Norman said in a 1984 interview that he didn’t know Dylan very well, he remembered thinking “This is the greatest album I’ve ever heard”” when Slow Train Coming was released. He said of the album “I’ll never write one as good as that, he’ll never write one as good as that, – nobody will. It touched me in every area. You know men in conflict, like Dylan was when he was dying to self and becoming a Christian are very interesting…We were all afraid that he would be overly affected by the evangelical simplicity of American mindlessness and write an album that wasn’t really worth his gift for poetry. That album is like a prayer, it’s a beautiful prayer, a social communion. It’s a communion for all the disenchanted people that are angry.”

see also and Wikipedia


“Christian” Media Editing Art

On Christianity Today at there is a review of Jon McLaughlin’s Indiana CD. At the bottom of the page there is this warning:

Note: Be aware that there are two version of Indiana available. The original mainstream release includes the song “Amelia’s Missing” which contains the line, “How in the hell am I supposed to find the one that I love?” The Christian market release replaces that track with the ballad “Proud Father,” a six-minute ballad about unconditional love that could be interpreted as a variation on “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

I have seen this before. The Christian media outlets edit out all “curse” words for the Christian market. Often the artist, who happens to be a believer, has included that curse word for a reason.

Without listening the the song or reading the lyrics, I could read McLaughlin’s line as one of two things: the angst felt by every single man (or woman for that matter) OR our quest for the one true living God. Either way, the line makes sense.

What are your thoughts on this? Should all Christian CDs (DVDs, etc) be “family-friendly”? Would it be hypicritical or real to create Christian CDs with a rating scheme?

My music video stardom

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to be a stand-in for a homicidal maniac part in a Zella Mayzell music video 80 in a 25. Whenever you cannot see the killer’s face, that’s me. When you can see the father’s / killer’s face it is the paid actor. The knife wielding manic is me, the Zella groupie. That’s really all that matters. I make a great faceless shadow man. IMHO, of course.
Andrew Paul Bowser (, the director and lead singer for the band, used horror, death, and murder as a metaphor for pain cause by something else… you will have to watch the whole video to understand.

During the 10 hours shooting the video I probably heard pieces of the song 70 times. Or 70 times 7. A LOT. It was very convicting at the time. Especially when Andy gets to the part where he sings slowly,

“This is not what fathers do. How could things have gotten so far out of my control? I can hear what I will say when all these actions show their nature, show their evil ways…”

The blood and mayhem is probably a little over the top for a family worship setting (haha). But maybe good for a small group. Let me know if you want my autograph — I can use red ink if you like.

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