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I played on a stage just outside the entrance to Pringles Park , the stadium built for the Jackson, TN Jacks. A radio station was there. Veggie Tales' Bob and Larry were there. Fans of Christian music were there.

But so were many non-Christians. And I wondered how "Faith Night" looked to them. And as I did I began wondering if I should do shows like this again. Should I throw out shows in shopping mall food courts as well? I'm just thinking - and maybe that's my problem - maybe I should just take my check and go home - but I'm wondering how this kind of taking-church-public show is different from praying on a street corner. Just wondering for now.

The ball park does the show to increase attendance and make money. The radio station increases listenership and might even get advertising money from the ball park. I get paid. But I'm unable to do what I do well in this setting. And I'm uncomfortable trying to.

What I do is like the musical version of a family meeting. It's not about "yea Jesus" or "every head bowed, every eye closed". It's about having fun while provoking us all to think about what it means to follow God and not just believe in Him. It's an intimate conversation. Serious at times. Light at others. But a dialogue with other Christians always. It's an effort to preach to the choir until they leave the loft and serve outside stained glass walls. Feels out of place, like a bad fit, to do that publicly as non-Christians are winding through the crowd of "Do the Jew" and "Property of Jesus" shirts worn by Christians with their hands raised. Very odd. Not a show built around communication. Didn't fit me. Seemed pointless to me. Fun, but pointless.

Got me thinking more about what Andrew Osenga and others have touched on here. What is the point of Christian music...for me? I sometimes wonder, on days like this, if it isn't just about making money off of Christians and making Christians feel like evangelism is taking place because of the money they spend. I'm wondering. Wonder with me.

I know I did this show for the money. I confess. I "needed" it. And when I sell my house I won't need it as much. So I probably won't do this kind of show again...unless I find a better reason than bill paying to do it.


Blogger pianoman said...

Have fun! What position do you play?

Blogger robyn elise said...

ooh! i totally forgot about that!

i'm gonna go see molson tonight...have fun in jackson.

Anonymous lc said...

shaun with a hat is about the funniest thing ive ever seen no offense.:)

Blogger *The Blogstar said...

I Love your thoughts and heart.

And I Love YOU.


Anonymous Andy said...

I think you do this and all shows because the Lord has blessed you with the gift of music, and you use it for His glory!

If only one non-Christian life was saved as a result of a song you sang or a word you spoke, all the other "stuff" would be worth it, right?

Blogger Kathryn said...

well, what do you think about Christian music. . . for you?

have you come to any conclusions?

Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

Shaun, don't sell yourself short. Sure you did that show to make money, but perhaps God gave you that show as provision. Did you ever think about that? Perhaps He was providing for you through laying that show in front of you. You were in need and God saw that. Wasn’t Matthew West suppose to play that night and you put in his place? Plus you were in the middle of planting seeds. Honestly, don't sell yourself short. God wanted you there for a reason, maybe it was to pay your bills, and maybe it was for you to unknowingly plant seeds. From my point of view, for you the point of Christian music is...the chance to be a blessing every single time you step out on stage. To present a challenge to the church and to your listeners with every verse and word you write. You're a vessel USED by God, be content in that.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good to talk with you after the show. I'm thankful you wrote your thoughts down about the event. It definitely had its weird points.

"Like art and commerce is a hard enough marriage on its own but art, commerce, and spirituality is almost doomed if not illegal, because that's three people getting married." --- D. Webb

And please - get off blogger.
Come on over to Wordpress.
If you have questions about the move, email me.


Blogger Paula said...

I think Shaun looks like the coach from homestarrunner.com in that pic...

Blogger Dave Haupert said...

Some compelling thoughts there- most all of us Christian artists struggle with those questions when playing non-Christian venues. I personally feel that many of your songs are thought provoking for Christians and non-Christians alike. If you are able to ask questions that need to be answered, you're successful whether you're preaching to the choir or not.

Granted those questions are different for both audiences, but that's where you must find a balance of both when playing for a mixed audience.

You probably already know all this, but sometimes hearing a reinforcement is good for us to hear. Oops, another benefit Christians have of listening to Christian artists! ;)

Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Playing for a mixed crowd was not the issue. I've played mixed crowds in tour with Jars of Clay, for instance. Playing almost literally on a street corner where non-Christians had no choice but to walk through my concert attended mostly by Christians was a bit odd.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I hope it went puppets, followed by Shaun Groves, not the other way around.

I don't think this is an appropriate venue for your music. At all. I, too, think you should pass when you have the luxury.

One could say you're redeeming the culture, but I'm guessing, say, Bonhoeffer would have passed on speaking at Giant Talking Christian Cucumber Night at the Game. ("Fans, hit the concessions for our special Bible Burger! Sacrilicious...")

Or, at least, he'd make sure he never got asked back, for all the right reasons. I've made that a goal in some highly awkward speaking gigs.

For me, there's always been that fine line between clever and stupid, and another one between being humble, and being humiliated.

My wife usually acts as an alarm when I'm being asked to cross it. Curious what yours might think of these gigs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you could talk yourself out of singing, period. And you do torture yourself with all these ponderous questions of would I, could I should I. The right venue is where God puts you. The right time is God's time. We all should work in a "mixed" crowd, how else would the unsaved here God's message? We are called to be in the world , not of it that's all.

Anonymous cole d said...

shaun, in terribly hot afternoon heat, you brought the refreshment of honoring our Lord with praise and song. saw you two years ago in the woodlands, tx., and we were not about to miss you here in jackson. as a brother in Christ, your music ministered to me and my family. to the non-christians who caught all, some, or just a glimpse of it, may God work in a mighty way. keep a strong heart.
i will send you a photo separately.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, its not ideal but, it beats flippin burgers...right?


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