This past weekend I was at the National Youth Worker’s Convention in Atlanta, which was an awesome experience. Lots of amazing training, ideas, networking and more. But I have to confess, one of the highlights for me was getting a chance to meet Steve Taylor, the director of the film Blue Like Jazz (based on the book by Donald Miller), the producer behind acts like Sixpence None the Richer, and musical genius of my highschool and college days.
His music, a form of Christian satire, pushed back against so many of the things I wrestled with as a teenager and young twenty-something. Growing up in conservative churches, attending a legalistic boarding school and Bible school, most of my experience in organized religion involved people telling me what to believe … and warning of the dire consequences of not agreeing with their ‘truth.’ I enjoyed that someone out there was voicing and rebelling against so many of the things that just felt wrong to me, and it was good to know I wasn’t the only one.
Anyway, I shared with him about my days in a strict boarding school for missionary kids in Bolivia where his music was not allowed – he was a little too rebellious for our fragile minds! He seemed to get a kick out of finding out that some of us had his music smuggled and stashed away so we could sneak off to listen to it. I wonder if he ever envisioned some missionary kid in the hills of Bolivia, surrounded by cactus’s and tarantula’s breaking rules to listen to ‘I want to be a clone,’ ‘Harder to believe than not to,’ or ‘I blew up the clinic real good’? I love that more than 20 years later, his album ‘I predict 1990’ is still relevant.
So yes, I totally geeked out on meeting one of my favorite musicians. Definitely a fun moment for me. And with his wiring – the satire and pushing the boundaries with his questions – he is the perfect guy to be directing Blue Like Jazz.