A Lamb Roars Back

Jars of Clay lead singer tells his side

I would like to offer some criticism of David Drury's critique of the"Roaring Lambs" compilation album.

I believe Drury may not have been the most appropriate of critics for this recording. His writing betrays an overt bias toward artists beginning their career in the Christian marketplace. The belittling of Jars of Clay, Sixpence None The Richer, and Ashley Cleveland as unworthy of the title "roaring lambs" made it clear that he was writing from a very skewed perspective.

Drury implies that as long as we wear the label Christian, we have little chance to affect the culture at large. He goes on to say, "Most of these bands are better examples of bleating lambs than roaring ones." Drury lists some artists who are truly "roaring lambs": Gordon Gano of the Violent Femmes, Lenny Kravitz, Johnny Cash, Bono, and Alice Cooper. He further hails Emmylou Harris' contribution to the "Roaring Lambs" album, saying she should have her own song. These artists are all deeply rooted in the mainstream music industry.


At the risk of offending Drury's sensitivity to cliché, this is a sure case of throwing the baby out with the bath water. I was sad to hear that Drury thinks the church and popular culture have no hope of ever integrating. If it's true that artists carrying the Christian label will never be as effective as those artists who do not acknowledge any ties to the church, we truly have a problem. If you have to disown the community of Christ in order to do evangelism, if you have to be completely "non-Christian" to be a viable conduit of the Gospel, Drury is a genius, and Christ was truly a fool. I do not believe this is the true nature of evangelism.

Drury might have been able to write a well-thought-out critique if it had not been for such a glaring blemish upon his objectivity. I could have let his opinion slide if he had not discredited Sixpence's No. 2 hit song last year, "Kiss Me," and their brilliant explosion from the Christian circuit into the pop music world, or my own band Jars of Clay's frequenting of the mainstream club circuit and our consistent presence on mainstream pop-alternative radio. In Drury's opinion, if Sixpence had no ties to the church or Jars of Clay had disowned their Christian fans, they would have been powerhouses for the Kingdom of God. I suppose we will just have to settle.

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