Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Delirious: My journey with the band, a growing family, and an army of historymakers

by Martin Smith and Craig Borlase,
David C. Cook, 2011

In this book Martin Smith, lead vocalist of the now-defunct group, Delirious?, wants to tell a story of God's grace, to show others how God "can take anyone and give them a life of faith and hope," and for people to recognize how Christian music needs to be in the mainstream so that everyone can hear the "sounds that can pry open the hardest of hearts, allowing people to know that God is God."

The stories of Martin Smith and Delirious? (yes, that's a deliberate question mark) are fascinating. Until I read this book, I hadn't realized that I'd actually listened to the group's music and sung their lyrics in congregational settings. I Could Sing of Your Love Forever; Lord, You Have My Heart; Shout to the North; and Did You Hear the Mountains Tremble? are just some of the songs that have been penned by its members over the years. I have to admit that on learning this, my preconceived opinion of the group went up several notches as it cut through my stereotype and perhaps disdain of the oxymoron "Christian rock band."

Delirious?, the book, is very well-written and describes how the band went from playing Sunday morning worship services in their local church, to playing different venues on weekends while maintaining "day jobs," to quitting their jobs and committing to life as full-time musicians. It tells how they managed to balance (with reasonable success) their work and family lives, and how they went from playing in intimate settings to playing for crowds numbering in the thousands, even fronting for the secular group Bon Jovi on its UK tour. The decision to disband after 17 years together was easy in some ways, difficult in others. Martin went on to found CompassionArt, a fundraising venture whose purpose is to help the most-poverty stricken people in the world. Today, his main roles are as husband to Anna, and father to their six children, as he waits on God's direction for the future.

I think this is an important book for anyone who is interested in music ministry. It troubles Martin to receive e-mails from people asking him how they can have a career as a worship leader, and reading this book would help people understand why such a question should trouble us as well. It's also a valuable book in terms of allowing the reader to see the hearts of a particular group of Christian song-writers and musicians. I was encouraged by what I read, and I think you will be too.

My review of this book was not influenced by the fact that I received it for free, courtesy of The B & B Media Group, Inc.

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