Thoughts on “Hear No Evil” by Matthew Paul Turner
I’m not writing a book review on Hear No Evil because I wasn’t planning on it. But as I read through Matthew Paul Turner’s book, I wanted to offer a few thoughts. (Thanks to Jezamama for sending the book to me after winning her book giveaway contest!) I found some choice quotes that seemed especially insightful to me:
“The odd thing about Christians pursuing fame is that they do it while pretending not to be interested in fame. Their goal, most say, is not to bring fame and fortune to themselves. Their only interest is to make Jesus known. But in the process of making Jesus better known than he already is, a lot of Christian musicians find fame and fortune for themselves too.”
This thought gets to the heart of two main things about Christians:
- We want to do good things for God but because we’re sinful, our motives are always tainted and impure.
- We want glory and honor for ourselves under the cover of doing great things for God.
Turner does an especially great job at illustrating this through his encounter with Jeff and Jack. (Btw, the section where he describes meeting Poppa Gladstone and going to his concert was HILARIOUS to me.)
Another quote that jumped out at me:
“I liked being Calvinist because it made me feel controversial and edgy to believe something different than what my parents believed. … I think that’s why people like Josiah and me sometimes turned into Calvinists. We could be passive-aggressive toward our parents and our past lives without being considered unchristian. Reformed doctrine offered a different way to think about God. And sometimes different, even when it really isn’t that different, is all we need to make us feel alive, creative, and in control of our own destiny.”
I’m part of a Christian message board in which the Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate is as worn out as a pair of sandals on a Middle Easterner. But a recent debate I engaged in questioned whether young people adopt Calvinism to buck responsibility. Turner sums the adoption of Calvinistic thought among young adults much better than I could have ever thought to put it.
Overall, I found Hear No Evil to be a humorous and an amazingly well-written book.
- My eyes nearly fell out of their sockets when I read about the naive Christian rocker who didn’t know the famous person sitting in the corner (end of Chapter 1);
- I guffawed (and I mean, guffawed) at the names “Sandi Fatty and Sandi Cow Patty;”
- I read in amusement as no Christian denomination gets out of Turner’s book unscathed (well, except for maybe the Roman Catholics);
- I winced as Turner describes his encounter with a church member who attended Pensacola Christian College;
- I wondered how a CCM editor ethically handles seeing a story with fabricated quotes of a Christian musician who was in the process of healing after a painful divorce;
- And my heart broke as I read about a man who attended church after having been kicked out of his old one because he was gay.
I didn’t grow up Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) but it is amazing how I was able to relate to many of Turner’s anecdotes despite my short stint in that realm in young adulthood. In a way, Hear No Evil is really Chicken Soup for the Recovering Independent Fundamental Baptist’s Music Soul. Turner’s book on his general IFB experience, Churched, is on my must-read list now. You can connect with Turner on his blog at http://jesusneedsnewpr.blogspot.com or through Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jesusneedsnewpr.
Apologies for not providing page numbers for the quotes. I’m already shipping the book off to a friend who lost a contest to win the book. This book is too good to keep to myself.