Ah please draw near would You bathe and caress
These equal parts faith and hopelessness
Equal parts joy and gloom
All wrapped up inside this empty tomb
from “All the Mercy We have Found,” by Bill Mallonee
We had an entertaining and thought-provoking guest on our BlogTalkRadio show Tuesday night, who originally played under the name Vigilantes of Love, an Americana, alternative-country, Rock band from Athens, Georgia, and now calls himself a troubadour traveling with his wife, Muriah Rose, a singer/songwriter in her own right, performing primarily in house concerts in the back yards and living rooms of loyal fans across America (and coming soon to yours if you want). Bill Mallonee is happy to be putting out his own records now after being stifled by record companies that only wanted at best one album a year, when he is prolific enough to turn out 3 or 4.
Our chat with Bill was refreshingly human. It pointed out, once again, why artists who are Christians are uniquely not what you might label “Christian artists.” Christian artists carry certain expectations about what is covered and what is not covered in their music as well as an expectation of something that identifies every song as “Christian” and not “secular.” Bill used the term “propaganda” to describe this kind of”Christian art” which he admits is a little harsh, but it carries the right implication about art which is used to convey a particular message (even if it’s a good one) being no longer art, but something else. Art that is a means to an end is at best, a tool to teach with, and at worst, more propaganda than art.
What’s refreshing about Bill’s work is that it is, by his own admission, “equal parts faith and hopelessness; equal parts joy and gloom.” What business does a Christian have writing about hopelessness and gloom except that hopelessness and gloom are human and human is Christian. It’s a shame that the Christian faith is not presented this way more often. I have a feeling more people would be Christians if it were.
Bill defines grace as that divine beauty that meets him in his own skin.
I am reminded of the words God gave my son Chandler at my ordination service: blood and skin. Blood being the wounded part necessary to know God, and skin being what is wrapped around this human experience. When the skin breaks, blood comes out. It’s the human experience. When we do it, we die. When Jesus did it, He saved us. “Here is my body, broken for you.” Thank God it was.
I urge you to listen to the recorded version of Tuesday night’s show found by clicking here. And then, as a special treat, Bill is offering a free download of his song “Every Father Knows” to our Catch community for a limited time. It’s a Christmas song, but I would call it a Christmas song good for any day of the year, especially this one.
And finally, if you discover you like Bill’s music, you may want to look into scheduling a house concert for your neighbors and friends. It’s a wonderful way to experience the music, first hand, and introduce others to a marketplace artist who happens to be a Christian. You won’t have to coax the gospel out of that evening; it will be there all over the place, hidden to some, but out in plain sight to those who are looking.
Isn’t that the way it always is?