I wanted to like Hear No Evil before I even picked it up. I have been following Matthew Paul Turner on twitter for a while. And most of the time I have really liked his humor. (No one can be funny all the time.)
In all the books I have been reading, I have over loaded on memoir books. (This was the cause of my needing some Christopher Buckley recently.) So I was dreading starting another memoir where the author tells us all the wonderful things God has been teaching them through the good and bad things they have experienced. I want to allow that God really has been teaching them things. And honestly, the memoirs I have been reading really have been pretty good. None of them were bad books. I just have read too many too quickly.
Then I saw a review last week that made me to want to read Here No Evil through new eyes. The review said that Hear No Evil is not so much a memoir as a series of essays on music, that happen to be told in chronological order. When I thought of it that way (I was about half way through the book) I liked it much more. My frustrations with memoirs really has been more about me than the books. (Sorry Matt)
And I did related to the author. My upbringing wasn’t anywhere close to as conservative as the author’s. My parents encouraged Christian music. Never thought rock and roll was of Satan. But I still can relate. I remember reading a pamphlet in high school about the 10 reasons why all Rock and Roll (including Christian) was from Satan. I talked through my reasons why I thought the authors were idiots with my parents. When Christian music stores were protesting Charlie Peacock because he dared talk about nakedness in the context of a loving marriage relationship, my Mom and I had a good conversation music, sex and beauty. I even wrote a paper in college about the morality of music (or amorality as I concluded in the paper.)
All of this seems a bit naive now. It is not so much that I should be ashamed of needing to work through how to relate to culture as a Christian, as that it is odd to me that we still are having the cultural conversations within Christianity. It was seem like we could come to some decent conclusions about how to relate to culture by now (a real theology of cultural understanding and engagement.) But we can’t, and we never will. There will always be people that want to paint with a broad brush and deem something as of Satan because it sounds or looks like something else that they are sure is of Satan.
I am glad there are authors like Turner. We need them to remind us that our petty little fights really are petty. It is even better when they write in a way that allows us to laugh at ourselves as we are being reminded to grow up and act more like Christ. I think the last four chapters are the strongest of the book, maybe I relate more to the adult Matthew Paul Turner.
I have a paper copy of the book. So I will choose randomly from one person that leaves a comment before Friday (March 11) at 5 PM EST. And just for fun, leave in the comments what your favorite Amy Grant song is. (The chapter “Chasing Amy” is about Amy Grant.)