Hanging Out With Mat Kearney (Virtually Speaking)

Holidays are murder for blogging.

Oh, you\’d think it\’d be easier to blog around Christmas and New Year\’s, and so I thought, too. I\’m not working! I reasoned. It\’ll be cold outside! Nothing else to do but huddle at the computer monitor and type to keep my fingers warm!
Yeah, fat chance of that happening. Not with all the new games and books and Santa candy at arm\’s length. If you missed me, understand that I was likely spending my blogging time stuffing my face with little red licorice bites.
But now that I\’ve dragged myself away from the candy (temporarily) and to my computer, I might as share with you my time chillin\’ with Mat Kearney.
Now, Mat (the hip, pop-indie musical artist) and I aren\’t exactly close. In fact, before this weekend, I had no idea who he was.  But my son showed me this pretty original video for his new single, \”Ships in the Night\”:
He visited 165 locations for this video (he must\’ve gotten really sick of this song before he was through), and it seems as though about a third were from Colorado Springs–where I live. The nice red rocks? That\’s Garden of the Gods, just south of here. The football stadium? That\’s at the Air Force Academy, just north of here. The house with the snowman? My son swears he saw that exact snowman  in front of a house downtown. 
So, naturally, my son and I showed it to my wife, Wendy. She didn\’t pay any attention to the background pictures at all. Instead, she just said, \”Hey, I love this song!\” Turns out, Mat Kearney is not only a hip indie musician, he\’s also a Christian one–the only possible way that she could\’ve discovered a musical artist before my Ska/punk/indie/rap-loving son. 
And as I\’ve learned more, it seems Mr. Kearney and I have a lot in common. Sort of. He attended college at Chico State in California (my daughter-in-law lived the next town over!) and studied literature (hey, I studied literature!) and played soccer (hey, I\’ve watched soccer!).  He became a Christian right in the throes of his college days, which naturally reminded me of my own soul-searching in college. 
 \”I discovered the depth of depravity, the bleakness of that lifestyle,\” he allegedly told someone sometime, according to his Wikipedia page. \”It just wasn’t working. I finally started understanding there must be more to life. God found me when I was at my lowest point. That was the first time in my life when I really felt like I understood who Jesus was–it was more than knowing about Him, I felt like He met me in that time and place.\”
A few days ago, I had no idea who Mat Kearney was (which probably brands me as a musical philistine, but so be it). Now, I kinda want to download all of his albums and invite him to dinner. Or, if he\’s not available, at least his publicist. And it\’s all because he sang a pretty neat tune in front of a pretty familiar landmark. 
It\’s funny how we embrace new things, isn\’t it? It\’s rare for me to become a fan of anything after listening to one song or reading one book or doing one of anything. It might open the door, but I\’ll rarely go farther. Normally, it\’s a culmination of things that entices me further into fandom. It took me three books and a dozen quotes to fall in love with Kurt Vonnegut; two books, several pithy sayings and a recommendation to embrace G.K. Chesterton. We\’re won over in pieces, I think. We look for the familiar in the new, and when we find it, we give it a chance. Bit by bit, our loves grow into us.
Christianity\’s probably a little like that, too. I don\’t know too many people who fell in love with the faith because of one sermon or one perusal through Luke. It\’s a process: Each conversation, each allusion, each faint image of God we see in the world around us has the potential to bring us closer to Him. One won\’t do it. A dozen might not, either. But as we travel and see God in a hundred, a thousand, a million things, we begin to understand His love for us. And we can\’t help but love Him back.

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