Five years ago, when Books & Culture was just getting started, I had a phone call from a man named Bob Briner. We'd never met, and he was very modest, so it wasn't until later that I learned he had been a very successful TV sports executive. He loved Books & Culture, he said on the phone, and he wanted to do a radio interview with me to help promote the magazine. I have never forgotten that early encouragement, which came at a time when some of B&C 's first readers were wondering why the magazine wasn't the culture war vehicle they'd expected. Briner died of cancer last year, but his legacy lives on in a CD called Roaring Lambs, the title of which is taken from Briner's 1993 book urging Christians to break out of their carefully tended subculture. The 12 tracks on the CD feature an extraordinary range of artists, from CCM headliners such as Jars of Clay to bands like Over the Rhine (see last week's Corner). It's a good collection, so various that most listeners will quickly customize it to their own tastes, but more important than the merits of the CD itself is the ambition it represents.In the liner notes, Steve Taylor, the multitalented artist and provocateur whose Squint Entertainment released Roaring Lambs, writes that "this record is a sampling of artists who have, in one way another,. … answered the call to pursue excellence in their craft, to willingly enter the 'marketplace of ideas' and to let the light of God shine uniquely through their own lives and individual expression."What's so refreshing about this record is its freedom to cross lines. There's no simplistic division between "sell-outs" and "alternative Christian artists"--or, on the other hand, between evangelically correct CCM artists and the morally dubious ...1
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