Thursday, October 4, 2012

the view from ... Charlie Peacock

Charlie Peacock is an American singer-songwriter, pianist, record producer, session musician and author. While growing up in California Peacock began playing the piano. (Wikipedia) For more info about Charlie and his music, writing, and speaking, visit

Tell us a little about how you became a Christian. What experiences led you to believe that there was more than just this life?

Charlie Peacock: A saxophonist told me the story of Jesus. I wanted to become a student/follower of Jesus. The story wooed me and taught me how.

How did those experiences and that decision to follow Jesus Christ impact your life and the relationships you had with others?

Charlie: It reconfigured the DNA of life.

You write in one of your early songs "We can only possess what we experience." How does that relate to your journey of faith?

Charlie: So-called truths or certainties need to be embodied in day to day life or they are hardly convincing.

What lessons have been the most valuable to you during your experience of following Christ?

Charlie: It's all grace -- a gift. Live as one who is grateful. 

While many Christians today seem to retreat into a subculture of Christian music, Christian books, Christian TV, your music seems to speak openly and honestly about faith and life in fresh ways, speaking so that both Christians and non-Christians equally can listen and wonder. Do you feel that this retreat into a subculture has kept many Christians from being able to have a real voice in the world?

Charlie: Of course. At its heart, retreat is an open abandonment of the calling to care for the planet -- to care for God's creativity.

How do you avoid that retreat, particularly as a songwriter and artist?

Charlie: I try not to compartmentalize my life and I spend time around people who often don't agree with my spiritual conclusions.

One of the things I've enjoyed about your music is the sense of honesty and realness and transparency that comes across. Do you make a conscious effort to stay real or does that come naturally to you? Why is that important to you?

Charlie: If "real" is good I can't choose the opposite -- that is fake.

What do you see as the biggest hang-ups keeping Christians from being able to impact culture, or becoming what Bob Briner refers to as "roaring lambs"?

Charlie: Christians stand outside the gates of culture and try to impact it. They should forget trying to impact culture and first learn to be human, to be cultural. Then, if they are truly following Jesus, impact will occur.

What do you see as the real issues Christians should be addressing to a postmodern generation?

Charlie: Love of God and neighbor. Justice, mercy, a humble life.

What do you think are the biggest trouble spots or blind spots contemporary Christians face in trying to develop ongoing, genuine relationships with people who may not believe as they do?

Charlie: Having too many unembodied certainties and not behaving as if they still need a Savior.

You've recently taken to addressing John Coltrane's spiritual jazz composition "A Love Supreme." What can modern-day seekers learn from Coltraine and his work?

Charlie: At the point in his career of "A Love Supreme," there was no bifurcation between his spiritual life and his work life.

Just as your music has influenced many people in this generation, who are some of the writers and thinkers who helped to influence your views on faith and living out that faith? Why are they important to you?

Charlie: Wendell Berry, Os Guinness, Daniel Doriani, Steven Garber, N.T. Wright, and Dallas Willard.

If I were an honest skeptic standing before you right now, what would be the one thing you wouldn't want me to leave without hearing?

Charlie: You don't have to sign off on a list of propositions and certainties to begin following Jesus, but you do have to be genuinely curious. And if you are, the words of Jesus, "Come and seek." If you follow and seek the way of Jesus, see reality as he sees it, and decide that he does in fact have the best thoughts and actions regarding the most important things, then commit to be his student/follower. Commit to his ways of knowing, being and doing.

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