Guest / Limited Access /
A Fractured and Beautiful Faith
Ellie Arciaga / Darling Felicity Photography

Audrey Assad was in her early 20s when her parents told her they were considering divorce. An hour later she was at a sound check for a church worship service. Be happy, she was told. Smile!

"They wanted us to be bright-eyed. To smile and be perky," she says. "I just wanted to throw the microphone down and shout the f word."

That reaction forms the pillar of Assad's career as a Christian musician. The ever-present need to be "positive," she contends, is a distraction. Her music is made in direct—often conscious—opposition to that expectation.

Assad has had one of the more successful debuts in Christian music in the past few years. Her piano-based, introspective music has sold 100,000 albums on two records from Sparrow and won her the iTunes Christian Breakthrough Album award in 2010, along with several Dove nominations. She appears as a named artist on Chris Tomlin's Christmas record.

Apparently you can still succeed in the genre of contemporary Christian music (CCM) even if you dissent from its ethos: reassuring, upbeat, and "safe for the whole family." Those sentiments weren't enough when Assad's parents divorced and they weren't enough when her husband was diagnosed with cancer six months after their wedding.

"I don't think the words positive and encouraging have ever historically been adequate to describe Christian life," she says. "Yet these are the words being thrown around now as the two main characteristics of music made by Christian people."

Assad's music, echoing the thoughtful, melodic arrangements of Sara Groves and Brooke Fraser (who shares a producer with Assad), is intensely personal, seasoned with ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueA Better World For Kids
Subscriber Access Only A Better World For Kids
Economist Charles Kenny offers a contrarian take on global poverty.
RecommendedWhere Did We Get The Doxology?
Subscriber Access Only Where Did We Get The Doxology?
The story behind what may be the world's best-known hymn.
TrendingDobson Endorses Trump, While Evangelical Leaders Advise Voting for Lesser Evil
Dobson Endorses Trump, While Evangelical Leaders Advise Voting for Lesser Evil
Pew tracks how many evangelicals came to pick Trump for president.
Editor's PickMy Encounter with Ken Ham's Giant Ark
My Encounter with Ken Ham's Giant Ark
A four-hour visit to the massive replica of Noah's boat left me with a flood of questions.
Christianity Today
A Fractured and Beautiful Faith
hide thisJune June

In the Magazine

June 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.