thing! The way in which John has been called to show that love is very special. It’s important that each of us listen carefully for God’s call for our own lives. Every single person on earth has been created for a purpose and part of our work here is to find out what that is and follow it with integrity and faithfulness.” Talbot himself says that he declined to take part in the aforementioned reunion of his old band because the group was playing “overtly secular venues,” and that he’s “pretty confident” God wants him to perform in “a more religious environment.” Yet he has no qualms whatsoever about rocking out for the Lord. “I am aware that the Abbot Primate of the worldwide Benedictine monastic family in the Catholic Church is an accomplished classical flutist who also plays in a rock band in Germany when he has time,” he adds. “As he says, ‘In order to reach them we must be among them.’ I figure if the Abbot Primate can do it, so can I!” ◗
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John Michael Talbot performs at Christ Church (28 Bull St.) on Thursday at 7 pm. Stewart Marshall appears as well. Tickets are $20 in advance at area Christian Bookstores, Christ Church and St. Thomas Episcopal, or $25 at the door. Call 355-3110.
another it has just become more worldly in trying to reach the world. So it has come dangerously close to losing its soul. It is a real challenge to keep these things in healthy balance. Some artists are more able to do so than others. I try my best, but do not always succeed either.” He says that one of the keys to creating lasting music of true religious import is to include much more of what most of today’s Christian pop music avoids. “Mysticism is the element that is most important to art that evokes the mysteries of life and love, both human and divine. Sadly, it is sometimes the one element of historic Christianity most lacking in CCM. This reflects an underdeveloped artistic and spiritual maturity by the artists often thrust into the spotlight by companies banking on their apparent commerciality.” Deacon Nelson seems confident that there will be spirituality and mysticism to spare at this upcoming show. “‘Come To The Quiet’ is one of my alltime favorites that john performs,” she confides. “Actually, ‘performs’ is the wrong word to use when describing John’s singing. Every song is really like a prayer, drawing our hearts to God.” She says this concert holds untold riches for believers of all denominations. “Anytime we share the love of Jesus Christ through our action, it’s a good
Deacon Geri Lee Nelson of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, who organized Talbot’s upcoming Savannah concert, says she has high hopes that area faithful will turn out in droves to see such an icon of Christian music live and in person. “My husband, Richard, and I attended one of John’s concerts in South Carolina some 4 years ago,” she offers. “We were awe-struck by his peaceful and contemplative presence on the stage, as well as his incredible musical talent. Although we were well familiar with John’s music years previously, listening to him that evening was like hearing him again for the first time. He drew us and about 1500 others into the experience of worship in a way I thought was impossible with such a large group.” This event will take place at Bull Street’s Christ Church, which Deacon Nelson says is a blessing in itself. “It is a great venue for this concert,” she continues. “And we are so very grateful to them for welcoming John as they have. They are almost as excited about the concert as we are! Father Robertson, the rector of Christ Church is very familiar with John’s music and has been very supportive.” The songwriter says that this new approach (and the accompanying CD) is proving popular with his older fans and is helping him to win newer ones. “The recording is being received very well. In concert I still do the old favorites, so the evening ends up a great mix of fun electric stuff, with a second set of serious meditational music. I think that after the scandals that rocked the Catholic Church in recent years people need to get together and just have some wholesome fun. Monk Rock is kind of in that spirit.” He says his schedule of about 50 shows a year is plenty. Given his myriad other responsibilities, it seems unlikely he could handle more than that. “Most artists in my position do about 150 concerts or more a year,” he explains. “I keep focused the way anyone else does: I spend about 6 hours every day in meditation and prayer, including the traditional monastic practice of sacred reading, leading to contemplation.” Talbot says his conversion had “a radical change on his career.” “I thought that when I converted that would be the end of my music ministry, which had a predominantly evangelical listener base. Instead, it opened me up to a wider range of styles and a more ancient tradition of mysticism and prayer. I discovered there is a huge group of non Catholics and Catholics alike who treasure this spiritual and artistic tradition. So my popularity grew in a rather phenomenal way.” He also seems more than a bit disappointed in the evolution of the contemporary Christian music business. “On one level the industry has grown up by becoming more accomplished. On
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