Christian Book Previews Home
Christian Book Previews
Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
224 pages
Jul 2003
Relevant Books

Spiritual Journeys: How Faith Has Influenced Twelve Music Icons

by Steve Beard

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


We live today in what many are calling a “post Christian” culture. People are more tuned in to what the popular culture has to say than to what the Scriptures speak of as truth. Young people are more inclined to listen to what the latest pop star has to say, than the youth pastor at their local church. The culture has become their church. It is there that they are finding their spiritual experiences – truth expounded by those who dominate the radio airwaves and produce the latest CD’s. This is not the way the church would like to see it, but if there is even a grain of truth here, then it makes for a valid discussion.

To that end, Relevant Books has compiled “Spiritual Journeys – How Faith Has Influenced Twelve Music Icons.” Let me warn you at the beginning – this is a book that you will want to discuss with others. Within its pages, the editors have compiled short “spiritual” biographies on twelve of the top names in music today. From Johnny Cash to Sean Puffy Combs. From Lauryn Hill to Lenny Kravitz. From Dylan to Bono. The point is not necessarily to label them all as “Christian,” but instead to present their view of Christian spirituality.

The mix of artists is an interesting one for several reasons. Coming from many different musical genres, we see that is not the style of music that has influenced their spiritual beliefs. All express what they call their Christian spirituality differently. Johnny Cash is probably the only one here who could possibly be called an evangelical Christian. And he had to go through quite a bit to get to that place. Al Green’s faith is definitely more Pentecostal. Bob Dylan’s faith has been questioned by many in recent years, but as a Jewish Christian, he seems to keep his faith very private. Bono uses his faith as a platform for global change. And Scott Stapp writes songs of spiritual searching, using Christian imagery, all the time claiming not to be a Christian.

With many of these artists, it’s easy to say that they know about God and believe that He exists.. But while only God can judge the heart, you have to wonder if they really know Him.

The book makes for interesting reading. Each chapter focuses on a different artist, written by a different author. The writers rely on other print and Internet interviews for their facts. This is the only drawback to the book: none of the artists actually spoke with these writers. Because of this, there is the possibility that quotes could have been taken out of context. And because the Internet provides a vast storehouse of information, one wonders at the credibility of some of it. Firsthand interviews would have greatly improved the book.

If, indeed, the young people of today are finding “church” in popular culture, it would do us all well to find out what those prominent in the culture believe. “Spiritual Journeys” is a good first step, opening the door to discussion and dialogue and ultimately, truth. – Janet Friesen, Christian Book

Book Jacket:

What's the deal with Lauryn Hill and God? What's with the outlaw preacher persona of Johnny Cash? What about Moby's shout-outs to Jesus?

"Spiritual Journeys: How Faith Has Influenced 12 Music Icons" offers a fresh look at the unexposed and, often, unexplained spiritual lives of 12 artists who are constantly in the limelight. With insights into the spiritual influences from their youth to the experiences through life that have helped shape who they are today, "Spiritual Journeys" is an insightful, honest and refreshing read to those who want more than just the 'superficial scoop' on these influential pop icons.

The artists in Spiritual Journeys (by chapter):

1 Sean Puffy Combs: God's Child
2 Johnny Cash: Man in Black
3 Lauryn Hill: Stripped-Down Spirituality
4 Moby: Everything Is Complicated
5 Al Green: The Gospel of Love
6 Wyclef Jean: The Preacher's Son
7 Scott Stapp: Running from Religion
8 Destiny's Child: Sexiness vs. Spirituality
9 Bob Dylan: Gotta Serve Somebody
10 Lenny Kravitz: Multi-Cultural Seeker
11 T-Bone Burnett: Spark in the Dark
12 Bono: The Gospel of Heaven and Hell