Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Deeply Ingrained

Some things seem apparently to be deeply ingrained. Bred in the bone, so to speak.
Once upon a time, in the far-off land of Southern Ontario, a young 20-year-old musician left the "secular" band he had been playing with, and was -- within a couple of days -- recruited into a "Christian" band. There were promises of being the opening act (and possible touring) with another up-and-coming local Christian band, which for me felt like a confirmation that I'd made the right decision.

After a whirl-wind month of rehearsals -- including the dramatic adrenaline rush of feeling, just days before the Big Gig, that there was no way we'd be ready in time -- we had the kind of incredible debut that is the stuff of movies.

On Saturday, we giddily threw a party to celebrate the success of the previous night's debut concert. But when I arrived, things went quickly into some unexpected directions.

The keyboard player showed up with a trunk full of beer. Now, I enjoy a pint of good ale, but this was a behemoth-sized land yacht with a trunk completely crammed with beer. We were all of "legal age", but it was clear that getting totally (insert your favourite regional colloquialism to denote complete and total intoxication here) was the intent.

When I made my reservations known about a Christian band getting "hammered" (the trendy phrase of my prehistoric day) to celebrate our first concert, I wasn't prepared for the kind of response I got -- or the intensity, either.

Feeling pretty disturbed, I went to find the guitarist who had recruited me into the band to express my concerns, but he was busy in the basement, trying to get to "second base" with our female sound tech.

Having just finished a season playing with a "secular" band -- playing "worldly" music in "worldly" places -- I wasn't very happy to see these kind of dynamics in a Christian band. Frankly, my previous band had higher standards.

At our next rehearsal, I again made my concerns known, and was again met with hostile "who-do-you-think-you-are?" defensiveness. And so ended my first foray into Christian music.

Fast forward one week, to a truly comical cluster of phone calls (proving yet again that God is not only faithful, but has a great sense of humour, as well):

While in the midst of explaining to my sister why I'd quit the band, I received a phone call from another Christian band -- they'd heard of my earlier band, heard about my reasons for quitting, and wanted me to audition for them -- tonight.

"Do you know a good singer?" they asked. Well, yes, but she was in the band I'd just left...

Hanging up, I had barely begun sharing with my incredulous sister what had just happened, when the phone rang again. It was the afore-mentioned singer.

"I've been thinking alot about what you said last week, and I quit the band tonight. If you ever hear of another opportunity, I'd love to work with you again."

"We've got an audition in 30 minutes," I replied. "I'll pick you up in 10."

We passed the audition, and the third phone call came two weeks later -- from the band we had hoped to be opening for. They had heard about me quitting the other band, and my reasons why, and wanted to adopt my newest band as their opening act.

A few lessons/observations:
  1. My tendency to dig my heels in and stand my ground about my convictions goes back a long way. And it can (often) be contrary to popular opinion, even among Christians.
  2. You often pay a price for having convictions and standing by them.
  3. While not every situation has a happy ending (like the band saga), you realize that you take these stands, regardless of what it costs you, because it's the right thing to do.
  4. God sees. And it's His opinion that really matters.


  1. I'm so glad you are back blogging. I've missed your stories of life in all its pain and glory.

  2. Hey Rob! Great story man. I love your stance against moral acquiescence. Inspiring!!! ;)

    James T

  3. If ever I needed to hear that it is right now...thank you.

  4. If there was ever I time to be reminded of that it was today. Thank you.
    As for your lessons/observations...well let's just say I'm hoping that #3 goes well for me.

  5. It's OK to pick the narrow road.

  6. Your post is timely my friend. God is showing me how to learn something from a man who is not a Christian, but has some wisdom that I need to learn in the business world WHILE also teaching me how to stand for what i believe and what God is calling me to do with the exact same man.

    Can you say tight rope!!

    Cheers, Neil

  7. Bill, thanks for still reading after all this time! :)

    James, your story is an inspiration to me.

    KSG, email me and let's talk more about what's happening with you. I'll praying.

    Jonathan, AMEN!

    Neil, that certainly sounds like a real tightrope. Praying for you, too.