What You Won't Find In A Christian Bookstore
  Larry Norman was a music hero of mine growing up. I loved his gritty Jesus rock style and hard-hitting lyrics. I also liked that he never fit the mold that religion wanted to squeeze him into. He was just simply himself and that was enough. Several years back I had the opportunity to see him live in concert up in Victoria B.C. with my buddy Johnny and go out to eat with him after the show. What a cool bro! I’m gonna miss him but look forward to seeing him in heaven one day.

Larry, over the years, developed a bit of contentious relationship with organized religion – who largely had problems with his approach to things. He never fit in their box too easily and many had plenty to say about it. He was sometimes the subject of a lot of hurtful rumors and criticism but as his song “Shot Down” so aptly declared:

“I’ve been shot down, talked about… Some people scandalize my name, But here I am, talkin’ ’bout Jesus just the same… I’ve been rebuked for the things I’ve said, For the songs I’ve written and the life I’ve led. They say they don’t understand me, well I’m not surprised, Because you can’t see nothing when you close your eyes. They say I’m sinful, backslidden, That I have left to follow fame. But here I am, talkin’ ’bout Jesus just the same.”


Despite Larry’s frustration with organized religion, he still shared his music and message with any who would invite him in (including a lot of institutional churches), proving that he didn’t hold a grudge but placed Jesus before anything else.


Recently, a documentary movie came out (or what I’d prefer to call a “crockumentary”) about Larry’s life. It was a strategic attempt to shoot the brother down again, full of rumors and outright lies about his life (and even some of Larry’s so-called friends in life joined in on it… even one guy that Larry had led to Jesus). But despite the attempts of bad press and even though Larry’s gone to be with Jesus, the message of the Gospel still shines through in the music legacy he left behind. I’ve really enjoyed some of Larry’s commentary about various topics and thought I’d share a few quotes of his that I like here.

See you when we all get home Larry bro! Peace, love and Jesus!!!
Dave

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“I love God and I follow Jesus but I just don’t have much affinity for the organized folderol of the churches in the Western World.” -Larry Norman

“I did 200 concerts a year for two years and then stopped. I never appeared at the same church more than once which is bread and butter to most artisans on tour. As one promoter put it, “I burned every bridge I came to” even before crossing it. But I thought the American Christian churches were not fond enough of the “hard” theologies of Jesus and were completely neglectful of feeding the poor, visiting those in prison, going into the hospitals and sharing the good news on the highways and byways, or even to the neighbours living next to them. Most people I asked said they had never witnessed to anyone, because they didn’t know how to. And now I found that I was bashing my head against a church wall. In America the church did not like me. And no wonder. I was telling my young audiences to invite prostitutes and drug addicts and homosexuals to come to their church. And my songs were slyly disrespectful of organized religion, a position the young people identified with and their parents and pastors couldn’t quite put their finger on. Nothing I said or sang was unscriptural. And I didn’t speak against the church. I wasn’t a protester. I wasn’t ANTI anything, but I was FOR Jesus.” -Larry Norman

“The churches weren’t going to accept me looking like a street person with long hair and faded jeans. They did not like the music I was recording. And I had no desire to preach the gospel to the converted.” -Larry Norman

“I don’t see the point in being a star – it takes a lot of energy to carry yourself off as being more perfect than somebody else. I’d rather just be available with all my weaknesses.” -Larry Norman

“I never sent promotional copies to Christian radio stations in my life. It’s not what I’m interested in.” -Larry Norman

“Only in a concert situation do I have access to people directly to preach to them, and I don’t believe that the bigger your platform is, the more people will pay attention.” -Larry Norman

“I can’t improve on how the Bible expresses itself, so I don’t even try.” -Larry Norman

“If they aren’t going to advance God’s kingdom, I don’t care to help them advance their kingdom.” -Larry Norman

“I’m not talking religion… I’m talking ’bout Jesus.”

“Look deep inside, and when you locate the sadness, give it a vacation, and focus on the simple things.” -Larry Norman

“The Beatles said ‘all you need is love,’ then they broke up.” -Larry Norman

“Christians don’t seem to be as aware of, or as sensitive to, the dire state of humanity as they are about the pleasant growth of their Christian walk.” -Larry Norman

“…and don’t worry about chart success… if you do it right, you’ll only have one album.” -Larry Norman

“Apparently God makes us all different. Some of us are happy to respond to His individual touch on our lives by remaining individuals, and others of us are intimidated or frightened into trying to become like each other so that we have company, so that we don’t feel so lonely.” -Larry Norman

“I never felt part of the Christian industry.” -Larry Norman

“I don’t live my life as a Christian with trepidation, feeling that perhaps I’ve failed to give the best gospel possible on each occasion, but realising that God’s taking care of a lot through his Holy Spirit.” -Larry Norman

“Don’t ask me for answers, I’ve only got one. That a man leaves the darkness, when he follows the Son.” -Larry Norman

Larry was once asked at a concert in the mid-90’s if he planned on re-releasing his trilogy albums as a boxset. He looked at the person who asked the question with a straight face and said, “No, but you can go ahead and put them in your own box.” (hehehe)

In closing, I think it’s really cool what the secular press stated about Larry in an article/obituary they ran when he passed away…

The San Jose Mercury News website ran a story about Larry’s influence and death… an overflow of information the writer had collected for his obituary. Frank Black of the Pixies is quoted in the article as saying of Larry Norman, “You know, I never met Jesus Christ, but he (Larry) actually seems Christlike.” That’s not a bad way to be remembered, and especially to have it reported in the secular press.

Good bye Larry boy… See you again one day! 🙂



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