Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Open Ears

Last week, I heard about Paste Magazine for the first time. After reading a rave review, I found a copy at the bookstore and finished it this weekend. Paste is a bi-monthly music magazine that is diverse, well-written, and positive. The issue I just finished included over 120 reviews (from Springsteen to the White Stripes and a broad spectrum in-between) and feature articles on Michelle Shocked, Billy Corgan, Oasis, and Beck. I started to feel like I was back in Chicago, listening to the best radio station ever, WXRT: Radio Chicago. Not only are the reviews and profiles very well done, but the magazine itself focuses on the music and the art, rather than the lifestyle. Each issue also contains a great CD sampler of 15+ tunes.

I was particularly struck by how upfront some of the artists were about how faith has played a role in their lives, and how kindly those comments were treated. The Michelle Shocked profile told how she came to Christ in a beautiful and emotional way. She had a very rough life for many years. She grew up in Dallas and spent time at Baylor Hospital's psych ward, running away from home soon after. After she established herself as a great singer/songwriter, she eventually found herself drawn to Gospel church in L.A. by the desire to hear the music. Then she said a line I don't think I'll ever forget:

I went for the singing, and I stayed for the song.

Every Christ-follower has a unique story of how the creator of the universe reached out to them. We share that in common, each and every one of us, no matter how different we are socially, economically, or politically. As she said, "You can deny its power or you can sing along."