Tuesday, February 16, 2010

‘Hear No Evil: My Story of Innocence, Music, and the Holy Ghost’ by Matthew Paul Turner – Book Review

Buzz this

Matthew Paul Turner is a blogger, speaker and author of several books.  He is also the former editor of CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) Magazine.  

Not only that, but he’s a funny guy!  I have been reading his blog, ‘Jesus Needs New PR’ and his tweets for a while now.  When I found out he had a new book coming out, I wanted to be one of the first to read it!

That latest book, ‘Hear No Evil: My Story of Innocence, Music, and the Holy Ghost,’ a memoir of his earlier years, did not disappoint! 

Here’s a video of his adorable son, Elias, helping his daddy promote 'Hear No Evil':

Matthew had a very conservative upbringing.  Here’s his take on it:

“I was raised in an ultraconservative Baptist church where emotion and honesty were even less compatible than Christian fundamentalism and self-worth.  At my church whenever somebody capable of emotional honesty became a member, it created a situation similar to my father’s lectures about a new puppy: “‘As long as it never poops on the carpet, I’ll let it be an ‘inside dog.’”  Anyone was welcome to join us for worship on Sundays, as long as they never emotionally pooped on the carpet.  Most of us kids were “house-trained” before we’d memorized our multiplication tables.” (p. 8)

Matthew muses about his childhood, and the judgmentalism and narrowness of the thinking that is pervasive in many Christian circles.  Some of his examples were so surreal, ridiculous and outlandish that they defied imagination – but they are all too true.  Sometimes, it is best to just laugh at these situations!

Music has been an important element in his life, and it is a main theme in this book.  Here is his explanation of his fandom of Sandi Patty:

“… Since many in my church deemed her evil, being Sandi’s fan made me feel edgy and full of rage, like I was bucking the fundamentalist system.  I didn’t get many opportunities to buck.  I rarely felt the need to.  But Sandi’s music was like contraband at IBBC [his church]…. Nobody garnered popularity points getting caught with a Sandi Patty cassette in their pocket.  That was like a guy admitting he sort of liked the song “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club or piercing the wrong earlobe to make a statement.  If a teacher learned about my loyalty to Sandi, they labeled me a heathen; if one of the kids at my Christian school found out, they assumed I was gay.” (p. 39)  

One more example of his clever prose:

“For as long as I could remember, I have lived a separate existence from normal people.  I don’t believe I comprehended to what extent my life was different from the lives of other people my age, but I wasn’t naïve to how detached we were.  Sure, my parents installed a chastity belt around my brain to keep out unwanted predators like Pee-Wee Herman and the anti-God protagonist who wrote 1984, but I wasn’t ignorant.  I knew my family was different.  I like being different.” (p. 112)

I could go on and on with my praise, but instead will encourage you to read ‘Hear No Evil’ for yourself!  There are just too many pages that are highlighted!  This is one book I will be reading multiple times.

I have been reading many books of late which have been stretching me (all of which are reviewed on this blog) – Mark Batterson’s ‘Primal,’ Gary Thomas’ ‘Pure Pleasure,’ Susie Larson’s ‘Embracing Your Freedom,’ Randy Elrod’s ‘Sex, Lies and Religion,’ and Mary DeMuth’s ‘Thin Places.’ among others.  This book is no exception.  I have had my bouts of being judgmental and narrow-minded over the years, and it is very clear to me that Jesus is none of those!  He operates in love, and that is what I have been learning time and time again lately.  I am glad to see that Matthew has seen that truth as well! 

Other titles by Matthew are:

Relearning Jesus: How Reading the Beatitudes One More Time Changed My Faith

Hokey Pokey: Curious People Finding What Life's All About

This book was provided to me for review purposes by Waterbrook Press.

No comments:

Clicky Web Analytics