Devotion and obsession are so similar, they may in fact be the same condition with varying degrees of positive and negative attributes depending on the beholder.
The first time I heard Chris Tomlin‘s song “I Will Follow,” I thought it was very upbeat, catchy, and encouraging. It didn’t take long for it to remind me of “Every Breath You Take” by The Police and for the former to sound like it could be the anthem for a follower whose “master” answers with the latter. Compare the lyrics:
I love The Police’s song but considering the lyrics alone, there’s something a bit unsettling about it, which in turn generates a reconsideration of Chris Tomlin’s song…if only for schnitzels and strudels.
A few months ago I wrote about how the music of Jars of Clay comforts me when all the YouTube videos of cute puppies and pet-returning-soldier videos no longer make me smile. I like their music because it is good music period. As hyperlink travels in YouTube led me to Chris Tomlin’s body of work, I found another source of musical salve. Some research revealed that the last stop of his Burning Lights tour would be in Atlanta. I really wanted to see him perform live as YT videos indicated he was possibly better live than on disc.
The concert was last night at the Gwinnett Arena. Louis Giglio was the intermission. Indeed it was an amazing performance. Chris sang all of the songs that I’d heard that I liked, specifically “Awake My Soul” and “God’s Great Dance floor.” Louis’s mid-concert testimony was witty and without any hint of brain-washery.
This morning as I was going to get my Starbux fix, I thought about the experience and how I really felt there. Even though I had a good time and liked what I heard — Chris Tomlin is awesome live — something wasn’t right. I couldn’t enjoy myself as much as I wanted because I spent the entire time on the verge of tears. Correction, there were tears, there was a lot of snot, it was such an overwhelming experience that I couldn’t connect with the “fun” aspect of it. Not in the way that I was so effortlessly able to when I saw Toad the Wet Sprocket live.
I had a Stendhal Syndrome moment at a contemporary Christian music concert. I was not expecting that kind of catharsis. I did feel connected to something on such a different wavelength that I couldn’t control my physiological response.
I would see Chris Tomlin again in concert, and now I have to keep my eye on whenever Jars of Clay will roll into town.