Day 225-- Body Piercing Saved My Life

Andrew Beaujon didn't have much time to finish his project by the eight-month deadline. He had a limited budget, little more than a rough idea of where to start, and eight months to research and finished a draft for a book on Christian rock music. And since Beaujon isn't a Christian, this presented his first roadblock.

The resulting book is fantastic. Beaujon--Spin and Washington Post writer, Washington City Post music editor--takes a deep look at a deeply conflicted and nuanced musical world as an outsider. But this serves him well; he's able form a deep respect for Christian music, but also able to see some of the problems easily missed by people on the inside.

Each chapter in Body Piercing details various going-ons or aspects in the Christian music industry: Cornerstone music festival; the GMA's Dove Awards; Calvin College's Festival of Faith and Music; and the workings of contemporary worship music and royalties, among others. The many chapters are broken apart by interviews with Christian music "lifers," like HM magazine's Doug Van Pelt or bad-boy Steve Taylor. Some chapters are particularly interesting--former Pedro the Lion honcho David Bazan is particularly captivating in the chapter dedicated to him, and the tours around Tooth & Nail records and talks with David Crowder are great. And some of the stuff Beaujon finds as he digs for info is just upsetting, especially considering some of the ugly things coming from the mouths of other believers.

Beaujon is a witty writer, but also quite skilled. His funny asides are a perfect foil for his honesty (how he comments "Kingdom of Death" would be an awesome metal band name, and then how he points out that--as brilliant as David Dark is as a public speaker--that he got totally lost in his stream of pop culture references).

Body Piercing
is, above all, a loving book. Beaujon may not know Christ, but he understands the scene better than many of the folks involved in it, in a way. He was so immersed in the Christian music scene that he saw some of the best aspects of what Christians making music can do, but also some of the worst. Any critique he offers is done so constructively, and he's not afraid to question or challenge some of the people he meets along the way.

Even if you're not into contemporary music made by Christians, Body Piercing is worth a read nonetheless. If anything, it gave me a lot of hope in regards to how we can grow in the realm of the arts.

posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 4/18/2007 10:43:00 PM,


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