Sara Groves Illuminates the Invisible Kingdom
Sara Groves is one of the most penetrating and vulnerable artists in Christian music today. Beliefnet contributor Collin Derrick recently caught up with her to talk about her life, spirituality, and new album.
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“Obsolete” is a reflection on "what are we doing?" Not to say that the internet is of the devil but I hear people say things like "I couldn't live without my phone or the internet". I don't want to demonize everything but I do believe that we worship the things that we made with our own hands. I’m reading a lot of Albert Borgmann, or I’m trying to read Albert Borgmann. He writes very academically and talks a lot about focal practice. Eugene Peterson talks about doing slower things, which are actually the way that your brain is made. I’ve been reading articles about the rapid-fire influx of information - that just the ding on your phone tells your brain that new information is coming and you literally lose your train of thought the moment that bell rings. Your brain is hungry for the new information but the way your brain works the creative process are interrupted. Creative processes are like stew; they have to come to a boil. It’d be like trying to cook something but turning the oven on and off. I’ve been feeling that recently - having difficulty writing and feeling peace. I feel frenetic. A lot of this record started with the idea of “Obsolete” and it's a very precious song to me - my favorite song on the record.
You seem very comfortable being personal. Maybe ‘comfortable’ isn't the right word - experienced being personal?
For my mother in law, who is an incredible lady, to disclose at a 3 is a big deal but I live at about an 8 - I’m a highly disclosing person. But there are things that people don't know about me in the 9 and 10 range, that only my close friends know. I hope I don't go around barfing on everybody but I feel that transparency is important in Christianity. The role that I play, I feel, is to be transparent - that's part of what I’m doing. Not to compare myself with the prophets but I’ve identified with them, like [the Lord saying] “here Hosea I’m going to let you live this out, this embarrassing thing - your wife is going to go sleep with all these guys and then you're going to have to take her back.” In that way I feel like the artist is similarly living stuff out and then airing it to the public so that you can see "oh that's sin" and "oh that's where God's redemption is, that was him working, that's where we're falling short, that's where he's meeting and reconciling us"