Gungor…and why I don’t talk about religion
There is one thing I never discuss unless directly asked: religion.
When I’m speaking, I have to include just the tiniest taste of my Christian background, just because it’s part of the story. And during Q&A, if someone directly asks how my faith journey may have been changed by life events, I answer that question honestly. But, for the most part, I steer away from any topics dealing with faith, religion, etc. Why?
One reason: my faith is my faith. Is it the same as when I was a kid? Hardly. Has it evolved as I’ve grown older and gathered more info? Most definitely. Do I have all the answers? Heck, I don’t even know the questions. Unless I’m in front of an audience that directly wants to hear about the faith journey, I don’t touch that topic. Again, why?
Perfect example: Let’s say I’m speaking in NYC, which I do every so often. A quick demographical search will tell you two facts. First, there are more Jews living in NYC than in Israel. Second, 40% (yes, I said 40%) of New Yorkers were born outside the United States. In the western world, we’re used to the tenants of the Judeo-Christian belief system. But other countries? Not so much the same. When a client hires me, unless they specifically request a program to a religious audience about the faith journey, I don’t feel it’s my place to shove my religious views down anyone’s throats. After all, I think the things I share transcend any particular religion…they’re life lessons that are supported by the Bible, the Tora and yes, even the Koran. It’s an abuse of the power granted to me if I use the microphone to evangelize or try to sway the religious beliefs of others.
Having said that, this blog is only for the audience that directly wants to read and learn more about Marcus’ viewpoints. So, here’s a little story…
Read my last blog post? Then you know how much I freaking adore rock music. I live by the Bruce Springsteen quote: “We learned more from a three minute record than we ever learned in school.” As a kid, sometimes I’d flip on the “Christian” television channel and learn the horrors and sins of rock and roll. Pshaw! Rhetoric designed to strike fear into the hearts of viewers, not inform.
If there’s one thing I don’t typically dig, it’s Christian rock. I love rock. I love the Christian belief system. But, in my experience, mix the two and the music is, well, just… bad. Typically, the lyrics aren’t creative, the music isn’t anything innovative and the whole thing just comes across as trite to me. Again, this is my personal opinion. It is not the gospel truth. And if you dig the traditional idea of Christian rock? More power to ya. Wear what ya dig, ya dig?
A few years ago, I was dragged kicking and screaming to a “Christian rock” concert by a band called Gungor. And…it absolutely blew my mind.
First, for a rock music lover, I was expecting weak rock coming from bands with a faith based message. Gungor simply rocked.
Second, Michael Gungor is one of the most talented musicians I’ve ever heard. His guitar work is as intricate and talented as any musician I’ve ever laid ears on.
Third, the whole band’s sound is like nothing I’ve ever witnessed. Yes, there’s the rock element, but then Michael Gungor will whip out a classical acoustic guitar and solo something resembling Bach or Stravinsky. Plus, I love that Gungor introduces a cello into so many of their songs. It just adds an extra layer of intricacy.
Fourth and certainly not last, Gungor’s lyrics aren’t the overused phrases often found in Christian rock. (Need proof? Look up his lyrics for “White Man.”)
The lyrics of Gungor’s songs mirror some aspects of my own faith journey. They are of pain, of doubt, of wonder, of healing, of re-creation, of love. Some may disagree with his soul baring honesty that doesn’t always jive with a Polly Anna set of beliefs. Frankly, this is exactly what draws me to Gungor’s music.
The lyrics of Gungor’s songs mirror some aspects of my own faith journey. They are of pain, of doubt, of wonder, of healing, of re-creation, of love. Chances are, some may disagree with his soul baring honesty that doesn’t jive with a predetermined “polly anna” set of beliefs.
Frankly, this is exactly what draws me to Gungor’s music.
It’s honest. It’s musically masterful. It’s intense. It’s beautiful. It’s profound.
And their new CD “Creation Liturgy” is just one more reason to love Gungor.
Check ‘em out at: