Tuesday, October 09, 2012

book review: The Crowd, The Critic & The Muse

title: The Crowd, The Critic and The Muse - A Book for Creators
author: Michael Gungor
date: 2012

Michael Gungor has written a reflective book for creators. I wasn't sure what to expect. I have read some material by some Christians artists that has been pretty bland. I was pleasantly surprized with this book. MIchael Gungor is open, honest, humourous, critical and creative in describing his journey.

He talks about what art is: "Art is the body’s pronunciation of the soul." (9) His journey to discover his voice and the honesty of using that voice in music. He critics both our culture: "headed toward Idiocracy" (61) and "Christian" music (see below). He laments the commidification of art and what that does to the soul of the artist.

But he does more that critize, he writes about nurturing the soul of the artist: "faith, doubt, hope and love" (93). All of these elements are part of being real, being honest, being the artist.

Gungor is very passionate when writing about the marketing of "Christian" music.
When the artist starts talking like the marketers, you know he has stopped listening to the Voice. The Voice doesn’t speak in marketing terms, but in terms like truth, beauty, and passion. (cxliii)

Christian music is filled with zombies. The message of the music is predetermined, so we just need a form of music that can carry the message to a broad group of people. (cxliv)
or, the genre of “Praise” or “Worship” music.
I have a problem with this language as well. It imprisons the idea of worship into a very small box. For the Christ follower, worship ought not to be limited to a genre or the singing portion of church services. Worship is a way of life. It is an offering of a person’s self in whatever capacity and condition he finds himself in. For Brother Lawrence, washing dishes was his primary method of worship.
The Crowd, The Critic and the Muse is a book especially for creators and for those of us who want to support creators. In a world of sameness (and blandness) in music and visual art, this is a healthy and needed voice... thanks Michael Gungor.

Disclosure of Material Connection: 
I received copy of this book free from flypropeller. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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