Book Reviews

The High Price of Packer Pride

[Listening to: Directed Youth – The Crucified – Take Up Your Cross/Nailed (01:58)]

I just finished reading Simplicity by Mark Salomon. It only took me four days to read it, and I can’t remember the last time I was so engulfed in a book. I’ve been a fan of Stavesacre and The Crucified since 1996, when I made it a habit of picking up anything in the Tooth & Nail catalog, and driving all over So-Cal to see Christian punk, ska, and hardcore shows from bands like the Supertones, Value Pac, MxPx, Slick Shoes, EDL… I could go on, but I think my favorite shows were always the Stavesacre shows. Mark’s book was written to tear down the image that has been set up by Christian music industry in order to take advantage of the “Christian market” (the word that industry uses to refer to God’s people, the Body of Christ). This task of unmasking the crooked machine requires some serious rethinking of the way things have been, and also some harsh tactics of looking reality straight in the face and admitting some serious personal failures that occurred even while Mark was hiding behind the mask of “Christian rock star” in the late eighties and early nineties. God took him through a period of serious humbling at the end of The Crucified, revealing to him just how much he was in need of Grace. Sometimes for kids who grow up in the church, knowing the Lord, the only way the Lord can remove their own self-righteousness and pride is to let them fall… hard. Since then, Mark was restored to music again with Stavesacre, and now with this book, he has a message to bring to the world: Worship the Lord with all your heart, soul, and strength, love your neighbor as yourself. Take off your masks, stop judging others, be real and pursue truth and humility in the way we live our lives towards believers and unbelievers, so that we can more effectively reflect Christ to those who are watching. I still need some time to digest it before I write a full-on review, but this excerpt will give you guys a perfect taste of what the book is all about.

I’m not the first to say it, but the book goes well with Charlie Peacock’s At the Crossroads, which deconstructs the industry from a producer’s perspective, and describes all the different ways that musicians can glorify God with the gifts he’s given them, within the church and without (the kingdom of God is actually bigger than this universe, not a small subset of it).

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