'God Is in Broken Places'

Jars of Clay's lead singer talks about their new album and why Christian pop music is a contradiction.

Dan HaseltineIn their more than ten years together, the multi-platinum band Jars of Clay has garnered three Grammys, six Doves and a host of other awards and nominations. The group also has the distinction of being one of the only bands labled "Christian" that has managed to crossover into the mainstream, most notably with their hit single "Flood."

Now, they're out with a new album, "Redemption Songs," which marries ancient hymns with a modern sound. Lead singer Dan Haseltine spoke to Beliefnet recently about the Christian music industry, the band's non-profit Blood: Water Mission, and how they're not the "Bible-thumping, holy rollers" the media makes them out to be.

You never liked Jars of Clay being categorized as a Christian band. But your new album "Redemption Songs" is overtly Christian. Has your view changed in the past couple of years?

No, I don't necessarily think so. A lot of the reasoning behind our restlessness with being called a Christian band was more that the term Christian means so many things to so many different people that it is an almost non-descriptive phrase. If you're going to call us a Christian band then at least let us know what type of Christian you're calling us. Being called a Christian to some lumps us in with Benny Hinn or a televangelist. To [others], it might lump us in with Bono. Talking about Jesus is something that makes more sense. You can talk about his subversive nature and his desire for relationships and loving people well-- things we actually do believe.


We've been looking at this worship movement that's gone on over the last couple years and Jars of Clay has really been outside of it, except for maybe one song here and there. We finally felt like this was a chance for us to share our experience--the things that inspire us in worship and the songs that have reoriented our hearts to the Gospel.

You've said that you write songs less "about faith but more songs because of faith." The songs on your other albums, for the most part, aren't overtly Christian. Do you think that songs about faith are less appealing to the Christian market nowadays and songs that have faithful undertones are becoming more accepted and successful?

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