Friday, August 28, 2009

Surely Not the Last Larry Norman Post



Will this be the last post on this blog about Larry Norman?

Surely not.

I have focused a lot of attention about Larry and his role in my life. And, judging from the Internet traffic, there continues to be many who seek information about Larry from all around the world.

I think, in retrospect, it's safe to say that there are few people who have ever effected me so deeply. Especially when you consider that for all intents and purposes, he was only a public figure in my life, not a personal friend.

And yet I spoke with him on a handful of occasions, and he always seemed to know who I was even though it may have been years since we spoke. Maybe that was one of his gifts.............yes, I know it was one of his gifts......to make a person feel special.

I have yet to see the recently released documentary. Part of me is dying with curiosity, the other side of me has no interest in watching the failings of Larry on the big screen.

Randy Stonehill's involvement in the movie creates the most conflict for me.

"Uncle Randy" is a favorite of mine. His concerts never fail to make you laugh, cry, and think. I guess it's not even vaguely fair to pass any kind of judgement on his involvement, having not seen the film. But it gives me pause.

No doubt at some point I'll see the film "Fallen Angel: The Outlaw Larry Norman". I'll let you know what I what I think.

But for now, let me summarize.

I first became aware of Larry Norman, as a jr high kid, the Sunday morning he came walking out on the platform of our church. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Who was this long haired, falsetto voice singing, radical? He was singing about God, Jesus and faith. But he also singing about love and sex and social injustice.

In some strange, but very real ways, everything I thought I knew about living my faith out in the "real world" went flying out the window. I was a changed girl.

For the next thirty plus years, and still today, Larry's music has been a constant in my life. I find myself humming his tunes, or quoting his lyrics on a weekly if not daily basis. His music was the music I measured all other "christian" music by.

Was Larry Norman a flawed man? Of course he was.

Did his flaws diminish his gift?

Should I second guess the way his music effects me because he struggled and failed significantly in his personal life?

Do the strained relationships with other artists, labels, record executives mean his ministry to people (and my youth group kids) is nullified?

If the filmmaker wanted to make sure we weren't deifying Larry, well then he achieved his goal.

My problem with that is that it never occurred to me to deify Larry. Or any other Christian artist, performer and for that matter any evangelist or pastor either.

My personal experience is that high profile musicians AND pastors are more likely to loose their way..........then us Average Joes in the pew.

Whether it was directing my jr. high choir as they sang "I Am a Servant", or singing "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" around the summer camp bonfire, or the amazing night when Marcus sang "If the Bombs Fall" to his girl..........Larry is woven in the fabric of my life.

Nothing can unravel that.

1 comment:

Gradual Dazzle said...

My favorite band, dcTalk, owes a great deal to Larry Norman. As I'm sure they'd all three freely admit.

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