In spouting random Bob Dylan information all weekend, I learned from my musician friends that he’s not the only rock ‘n’ roller to have surrendered his life to Christ. In long hair and fringed leather vest, a man many years my senior talks about being a fan of Stevie Ray Vaughn decades ago. That when Stevie got saved, his music escalated in quality, his lyrics were infinitely better, the performances he gave were energized and rich. If you don’t believe, then that is quite the coincidence. And if you do, it’s obvious that the Lord gifted him and enriched his talent when he chose to glorify Him.
Johnny Lang is a Christian too. I didn’t hear it much in his music until the other day. There’s not just “religious flavor” in That Great Day. It’s a straight narrative of the expectancy of Christ’s second coming. That convinced me it’s not a hoax, I suppose. Because “spiritual” and loosely “religious” folk don’t study the Bible like that. The New Agers are all about what feels good and right, and calling it supernatural. Not Johnny.
And Rascal Flatts, if blues and rock ‘n’ roll isn’t for you, they’re Christ-followers too. Knowing that, I listen to the music about their wives with a new ear. It’s not like every other song about a woman, it’s a celebration of a marriage covenant that they don’t believe in dissolving.
I pour these artists out the headphones of my ipod and the speakers in my car, supporting and advancing the cross-over that they’ve made into their career. Not everyone’s cut out for ministry, contrary to many a conservative belief. There’s no shame in alternative careers. They’re not even alternative…for those who are gifted, they are second-to-none! These guys may be spreading the love of Christ even more than the textbook church folk. Because I know unbelievers who aren’t turning off Bob Dylan, Stevie Ray, Johnny Lang, Rascals and others like them, running scared from religious terminology and jargon. And that ministry is exactly in the spirit of the Great Commission.
The biography said that Bob Dylan met controversy and changes in audience with his “Saved” album, for that very reason – because it was inaccessible to anyone turned away from Christ. The cross, and anything pointing to it, is foolishness to those who don’t believe. But if these artists have succeeded in bringing the truth of Christ across the chasm that separates us, there’s something to be said about that. I know about their lives and the rest of their careers, and they’re no Jesus. No more or no less than me. The Lord does use the strangest things to spread the Word.
I have to admit, I didn’t buy it at first. Cummon, I thought, Bob Dylan? Really, now? But I’ll tell you what intensely elates me about the possibility of truth: I don’t need to go to a single other concert here on earth if these musical geniuses are going to be rockin’ out in Heaven.