About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Outlaw Larry Norman
Norman was one of the early pioneers of Christian rock music in the late
1960's. He died in February
2008. In the early days of
my life as a real Christian I loved the music of Larry Norman, and I
still do. I got to see him
perform in 1972, 1973, and 1994. Lyrically
and musically speaking, his albums were new, raw, relevant, and reached
right to the hearts of a new generation of Christians and non-Christians
alike. The traditional
church didn't appreciate Norma's style of musical relevance, but many of
us back then didn't appreciate the church's style of musical relevance
recently watched a documentary DVD entitled, "Fallen Angel – The
Outlaw Larry Norman". The
video shows Larry Norman's rise in the music world, first of all as a
secular rocker in the group called "People", and then later as
a Christian rock singer. Billboard
magazine compared his writing ability to Paul Simon.
George Martin, the producer of many Beatle albums produced
Norman's music influenced thousands of us in the early 1970's in a very
positive way. Yet as time went on we started to hear stories about
Larry. We wondered if they were really true.
All the way from
"purposively" two sides of Larry Norman are documented in the DVD "Fallen
Angel". The story is
told by many who were close to Larry, from the beginning years to later
years. Randy Stonehill knew
Larry Norman well. Larry
introduced Randy to Jesus in his kitchen, thus Randy's song entitled
"Norman's Kitchen". Stonehill
is one of those who speaks in the documentary, along with Norman's first wife, and other musicians. Sarah,
Randy Stonehill's first wife, and Larry Norman's second wife, chose not
to be interviewed for this documentary.
This might suggest that she was not in agreement with the DVD, but I
don't know this for sure. As a side note, I believe I now know why Randy Stonehill wrote
the song "Sarah". (Sarah,
do you love me, you've got so much more to give …)
As a matter of fact, I now see many of Randy's songs reflecting
what was happening in the mid 1970's between him and Larry. That
being said, Randy's songs are written from his perspective.
you don't want your memory of Larry Norman being messed with,
don't watch this DVD. If you want to hear his story through
the eyes of those who apparently didn't like him, watch the video, but I
warn you in advance, it might disturb you.
have one caution if you do choose to watch.
Let the facts formulate how you think and feel about
Larry Norman. Most of us don't know
the facts. There are lots
of feelings and emotions expressed by those who have deep hurts.
Those feelings and emotions belong to those being interviewed,
not to you. Feelings
are a product of someone's interpretation of the facts and therefore
shouldn't determine the way we feel. These feelings rise to the surface
as those being interviewed reflect on past events.
Let the facts determine how you feel, not the feelings and
emotions of others. That
being said, for those who have fond memories of Larry Norman, it will be
hard not to let the emotions of those on the video affect you.
may feel somewhat saddened and disappointed as you pull the video from
your DVD player, but I think there's one thing you should realize.
The Bible itself does not withhold the downfalls and sins of
those our Lord uses, and I do believe Jesus used Larry Norman,
especially in the early years, despite his problems.
That being said, the DVD is one man's opinion. We
don't know its accuracy.
That being said, the DVD is one man's opinion. We don't know its accuracy.
thought that comes to mind after watching the video is the fact that
God's grace extends to all of us who want to serve Him, even to those
whose lives show a dichotomy of sorts.
I look at Abraham as a man whose life showed such a dichotomy,
but God still declared him as being righteous, when in fact he wasn't.
Remember, God didn't declare Abraham to be righteous because he
was righteous. God declared
Abraham to be in a state of righteousness because Abraham simply trusted
that God would do what He said He would do.
That's it. That being
said, I believe the New Testament does raise the bar concerning the way
we should live. We are
expected to live more righteously than Abraham, and also than what Larry
Norman apparently lived.
might ask yourself at the end of this video, "how and why does God
choose to use certain people"?
You might even wonder if you're not all that different from
Abraham, or the Larry Norman portrayed on the DVD.
I certainly don't excuse Larry Norman's sins.
I'm sure he wasn't perfect, but on the other hand, I didn't personally
know Norman to really know what sin he mighty have had. Neither should we excuse our own sins as we often do. Let's
keep the bar raised high and call sin for what it is, yet at the same
time extend grace to the sinner, because you and I are sinners too.
Christian music lovers who were around in the late 1960's and 1970's,
there's also a sound track to the DVD called "Paradise Sky",
sung by Randy Stonehill. He
has gone into the studio and has rerecorded some of his songs from the
1970's with an up-to-date flavour. It's
worth buying this CD. He
does a great job of remaking these songs, and for those of you like me,
the CD will bring back lots of good memories.
May Jesus help us all in the pursuit of living a more righteous and less selfish life than we presently do. We do represent Him to a fallen world.
Since I've written the above article, I've now discovered the other side to this DVD. I'd strongly suggest you visit the following web site. If you watched the DVD or if you will watch the DVD, you must visit this site, if not for any other reason than to bring balance to the DVD.