Monday, July 27, 2015

Book Review of The Master Musician by John Michael Talbot




The Master Musician: Meditations on Jesus
by John Michael Talbot
ISBN 978-0-8308-3697
IVP Books

When I was growing up, John Michael Talbot was a CCM artist. Of Methodist background I believe. Then, at some point, he converted to Catholicism. He has since went on to continue developing music, albeit with a little lower profile, and to develop a community called the Brothers and Sisters of Charity. In recent years, he has been using his gifts in communication to write books that challenge people to understand the spiritual journey in a thoughtful, contemplative, and yet contemporary way.

Talbot's latest book (which is reworked from an older version of the same text) is entitled The Master Musician: Meditations on Jesus. The book is a simple description of one's journey with Christ in three phases, guided by the metaphor of musicianship. Talbot says in the introduction:
"This work is divided into three main sections: God's grace, our human response, and life in the church. The first is liked unto the crafting of a fine guitar by a Master Musician. The  second, unto learning how to play under the Master's instruction. The third, unto learning how to play with others in the symphony orchestra or band."
I found this book educational, thought-provoking and spiritually nourishing. I learned a lot about the development of musicians, and how that process parallels the spiritual birth and growth of individuals. Particularly intriguing in this sequence to me was the movement from a "personal" relationship with Jesus, which is essential, to a relationship with God within the context of a community, and how the later step is the next step in spiritual maturity. This left a lot for me to consider in leading others to faith and to maturity in Christ as a pastor.

I recommend this book for people who are charged with helping believers grow, and especially for musicians and music teams which will be challenged in unique ways to help their teams grow in their faith.


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