I love music, and as I have written about here before, I generally have music playing anytime that I am reading, writing, or generally any other work in an office setting or at home. It’s just one of the best ways that I have found to focus in on the task at hand. Also, as my nickname here suggests, dcTalk is my favorite group of all time. The first concert I was able to go to was “The Jesus Freak Tour” with Audio Adrenaline opening for dcTalk. I was only about 12-years old, but still remember plenty of details from that night.
Recently, I came across an album that I had heard about only briefly, as some of the songs had come across my Pandora account on a few occasions. For some reason I had never taken the time to really look into the album, although some of the songs definitely peaked my curiosity. Well about two weeks ago I finally decided to look up the album, which is already 10 to 11 years old at this point. That’s because it was released around the 10th Anniversary of Jesus Freak.
What is the album in question? It is a tribute album from Gotee Records honoring dc Talk’s Jesus Freak. It is a collaboration of other Gotee Record artists performing the songs from Jesus Freak in an album titled Freaked! – A Gotee Tribute to dcTalk’s Jesus Freak. In fact, this album is what I have playing through my computer speakers as I write this today.
When I found the whole album online a few weeks ago, I made a mistake. I read the comments and reviews. I already new I was going to buy it, the reviews didn’t matter at all to me. As big of a fan of dcTalk as I am, a tribute album for one of their best works is a no brainer for me. Honestly, I don’t know why I waited this long to find and buy the album in the first place. Besides that, I still had gift card money from Christmas, so it wasn’t even going to cost me money out of my pocket.
Yet, still I went to the reviews. I do that way too often on things online. Maybe I just like to read some of the insane and off-the-wall comments that you find online. I sat in my office that evening though, just shaking my head. This is a tribute album done by a lot of different artists with a lot of different musical styles. I would never expect the album to sound exactly like dcTalk’s Jesus Freak. In fact, I would have been disappointed if it did. I was excited to listen to different takes on a classic.
Did I expect to like every single song? Not really. And I don’t (there is one that just freaks me out for the lack of a better term). But the comments on the reviews for this album blew my mind. People were complaining how none of the songs sounded like the originals, and I was like “really”? It was like they were expecting the album to exactly match the original. Well, despite the insane reviews, I bought and downloaded Freaked! To me, the album is a honoring dcTalk in a great way. It’s a bunch of talented artists coming together to pay tribute, honor, and thank a pioneering group in the Christian music realm. Without dcTalk, we wouldn’t have many of the groups we have today (and not just because Toby, Michael, and Kevin are still performing with others). They paved the way for what we know as Christian music today.
Thinking about all of this today gave me an idea. Hebrews 11 is knows as the “Faith Hall of Fame” in scripture. What does that mean? The author of Hebrews takes a chapter and writes about those from the Old Testament, and even alludes to those from the inter-testament period that lived with great faith. He shows us what it looks like to live faithfully as Christ followers by showing us those that lived out great faith. Then the author makes a statement that I try to model my life by as much as possible. He writes in Hebrews 12:1-3,
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right had of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
That is where I get the first part of my nickname, Crosseyed. But think about it. He says we have all these people that have gone before us. They show us what living a life of faith could look like. Consider them. Learn from them. You might not look or sound or act exactly like them, but imitate them. Honor them. Pay tribute to them. Thank them for going before you. Then comes the big right hook. Not only do we have those that have gone before us, we have Jesus Himself to imitate, honor, pay tribute and thank. None of us will ever be exactly like Jesus. Our personalities are different. But we are supposed to be as much like Him as we can be.
Paul brings out this idea in a few different places as well. In I Corinthians 11:1 he wrote,
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
He wrote in I Thessalonians 1:6, 7,
You became imitators us us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.
Is Freaked! the perfect analogy of what I am talking about? No. It’s comparing music to trying to follow the example of Jesus and other Christ followers that have gone before us, but it still makes my point. Just like the artists paying tribute to dcTalk, we won’t look or sound exactly the way someone who went before us did. But here is the biggest difference. We don’t just have those that have gone before us as our example. We have Christ Himself. He is our standard, and what we are striving to be. Will we do that perfectly? No one can. But, as the old saying goes, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. Who do you want to imitate?