Thursday, August 1, 2013

I Still Believe - Jeremy Camp

As I have mentioned, I am casually participating in a summer reading program through Tyndale Media Center.  Thus far, I have read the memoir of Lauren Scruggs and the account of two Christian women imprisoned in Iran for their beliefs.  My third selection was the memoir of contemporary Christian music (CCM) artist, Jeremy Camp.

As a teenager, I listened mainly to CCM - right around the time that Camp was a big name.  While my music tastes have expanded quite a bit since those years, I still found it interesting to learn Camp's story.

Camp experienced a fairly typical childhood.  His family lived in poverty, but his parents had strong faith and they always managed to get by.  He become heavily involved in music after his high school football career got cut short.  Camp had committed his life to Christ and football became a casualty of that decision.

As most artists, Camp spent a number of years building his career.  As anyone who has toured before can tell you, the life of a musician is decidedly glamorous.  During these early years, he fell in love with a young woman named Melissa.  They dated on and off and, eventually, Melissa was diagnosed with cancer.  The two were married after she went into remission.  Within months, though, the cancer was back and her young life gone.

Camp, now a widower at a young age, went through an understandably dark period.  It was during this time that he wrote what is arguably his most famous song and the title for his memoir, "I Still Believe."  I have known that song for years without every knowing the back story.  Just as with the classic hymn "It Is Well," the story makes the song much more powerful.

After the death of his first wife, Camp's music career really began to take off and he hit the road again, sharing his story with audiences along the way.  While touring with a number of other bands, Camp met Adrienne, the lead singer of The Benjamin Gate, a Christian band from South Africa.  Over time, their friendship turned to romance and the two were married.  They now have three

Overall, I found Camp's writing unpolished.  While he has clearly been gifted in writing music and lyrics, prose does not seem to be his strength.  I have no doubt of his sincerity or depth of emotion, but those qualities fight to come across on the page.  Regardless of his writing ability, he is obviously very earnest in his faith.  I found it refreshing to know that his songs are coming from real experience and emotion, rather than being churned out for the CCM charts.  His story is a powerful one and God has clearly used in many lives.  At the end of the day, perhaps his inexperience in writing prose is a testament to the reality of his situation and the tenderness of his heart.

Pages: 224
Date Completed: July, 2013

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