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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I Hope I'll See You in Heaven

When I was in college the second time, my friends and I considered ourselves members of the "3L decade", mostly because of our experiences the first time we went to college, but especially because we were all Christians in our teens when we were impacted by the still fresh evangelical MOVEMENT still going on at the time. We read books by Francis Schaeffer, CS Lewis, Os Guiness, John Stott, James Packer, and Martin Lloyd-Jones, and we listened to music by Phil Keaggy, Randy Stonehill, the Darrell Mansfield Band, and the group Daniel Amos. The helped shape our first steps in seeing Christianity not as a peripheral religious activity and to see it instead as a world and life view that informed every area of life. Such was our version of young idealism.

"3L" was our alternative to the 3M of the previous decade -- Marx, Mao, and Marcuse. "3L" stood for L'abri, Lausanne, and Larry Norman. The first was an alternative style mission run by Francis Schaeffer, pastor-thinker for post 60's students which he started with his family in Switzerland and now exists in many places through out the world. The second stood for the first evangelical international missions conference that renewed proclamation centered missions in contrast to the shrinking role of proclamation in what had become of the mainline missions movement, and which still continues today. And the third . . .

Well, the third was the father of Christian alternative music, the guy who asked the question, "Why should the Devil have all the good music?" He was our Bob Dylan (until Bob Dylan became our Bob Dylan for awhile -- thanks in part to Larry). Larry was the first to try to establish a distinctive Christian Rock on a distinctively Christian Record label, and he helped to put together a distinguished array of talented and faithful Christian performers as well as encouraging many others.

Larry Norman had been suffering from severe health conditions. On Feb. 25, they finally caught up to him and he passed away. Even though I didn't wind up agreeing with all of Larry's stuff all the time, I whole heartedly agreed and agree with his effort to that Christian distinctiveness in arts (including popular arts) does not mean exclusiveness to arts within the church. I, in my roleplaying, try to live up to Larry in his music.

Please pray for the Normans.

Hasta La Vista, Larry.

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