I was about fourteen when I noticed putrid smells coming from certain rooms in The Church: racism, hypocrisy, profiteering evangelists, prosperity gospels, and other such piles of bullshit that I had to step over on my journey of faith. When I brought these subjects up to my Sunday School teachers and youth leaders, I got everything from rationalization to equivocation to outright denial. One day when I was mocking a pre-scandal Jim Bakker, one of my teachers rebuked me, saying, "You shouldn't question an anointed man of God." Something was rotten in the state of Denmark, and I wondered if I was the only one who could smell it.
Until I found Steve Taylor.
When I first discovered Christian rock in the early 80's, I was delighted to find that the devil didn't have all the good music. But after a year or two, it all started to sound the same: the obsession with major keys, the DX-7 synthesizers, and the "Jesus is my boyfriend" lyrics. I had heard of Steve Taylor and I knew that his album Meltdown was popular, but I thought the cover was sort of silly, so I didn't bother to listen (What do you want from me? I was fourteen.)
I was on the cusp of a downward spiral into cynicism that would last until my late 20's. [Shameless self-promotion alert] You can read about it here. But when I finally broke down and bought Meltdown, Steve Taylor held my cynical slide at bay for a couple more years. He showed me that I wasn't alone. Somebody else got it. Someone was stepping into the breach and saying, "Ummm, we have some problems here." And the music was the most original I'd ever heard in "CCM." I mean, his outfit from On the Fritz was bit out of line, even for the 80's, but still . . .
Steve kept showing up at just the right time for the next 20 years. Squint's "The Finish Line" became the soundtrack for my return to passionate faith as an adult. I'm thrilled to death that the guy is bringing his creativity to film, but I'd be willing to lose a pinky if he'd record another album.
Below is the video for "The Finish Line," and it's a piece of art. I still get goose bumps on the last verse...