I recently attended an event in the publishing world where a few authors flew in to present their newest book projects. Among the guests was Lacey Sturm, co-founder and former lead singer of Flyleaf.
I first heard about Flyleaf when I was the music buyer for Baker Book House (I was responsible for keeping our bookstore’s music shelves appropriately stocked with CDs that would sell). That was a lifetime ago when music still sold in stores instead of everyone downloading it or pirating it or whatever. Just kidding, plenty of people were ripping copies from their friends CDs back then too. Even Christians.
But I digress.
I didn’t immediately recognize the name Lacey Sturm at the publishing event because when I knew her, it was by her maiden name of Lacey Mosely. We’re practically cousins! Anyway, whether I recognized her new name or not, I recognized her voice. She has one of those amazing voices that make any song sound better. And for being rather petite, she’s a powerhouse when it comes to screaming.
Back when I ran it, the music department in Baker had a separate sound system from the store. So when boring piano music was playing everywhere else, I was rocking Flyleaf in my department. And I think I was talked to more than once about my penchant for playing Flyleaf’s music. It was always because someone took issue with the screaming in the songs.
But back to the present. At the publishing thing, Lacey shared a bit about the book that will be coming out this fall, The Reason. It is the story of how she went from being a suicidal atheist to a Christian rock star who works with the likes of Billy Graham. She told us about the kids that would come to her shows (Flyleaf toured almost exclusively with mainstream groups like Korn) and how her heart breaks for the kids who are as lost as she once was.
And she told us about some encounters she had with Christians who took offense to the dark tones and screaming that are present in her music. My ears perked right up. I knew the people she was talking about. They are the same ones who would complain about my playing Flyleaf’s music at the bookstore.
“How can you play such dark music when God is light?” they would ask. “How can you sound so angry when you have a loving God inside of you?”
And I loved her answer. “There are plenty of things for Christians to scream about,” she said.
It’s true. We live in a broken world, and it doesn’t help anyone for us to put on a happy face when we encounter real darkness. There’s a lot of legitimate reasons for Christians to scream, to rage against injustice, pain, and sin. Perhaps the question we should be asking isn’t why a Christian would scream in a rock band, but why more Christians aren’t screaming in their everyday lives.