June 25, 2013
“You alone can’t overcome the world and its horror.” – John Cooper
Over the recent decades, the entire world has seemed to migrate to an intense level of struggle, grief, callousness and tragedy.
Elementary students are being massacred.
Monster storms are obliterating entire communities.
Giant walls of water are washing away years of culture…and the people who practice it right along with it.
Add to that an unstable economy, polarizing politics and America seriously confronting its potential diminished presence on the world stage.
These are the things of life that shape us, inform us and enable us to either turn a blind eye in apathy or just give up.
These are the things that evoked a response from one of the longest-lasting, immensely talented crossover wonder, Skillet.
Since 1996, when the band formed, they have never shied away from expressing truth within their lyrics. It’s truth that resonates with the real stuff of life…that draws people from every background and faith tradition, as evidenced by their massive following in both the secular and Christian world (they have over 4 million Facebook followers…).
Throughout the years, they’ve faced opposition from Christian circles, given their rock sound, candid lyrics and, often, secular tour mates. Un-phased, however, Skillet has remained stalwart in its goals to not only minister to the fans, but, as John says, “…minister to the bands. Darkness doesn’t always come to the light. You need to bring light to the darkness.”
To take that one step further, John and the rest of the band firmly believe that it’s not them spreading that light through music or words; but God working through them to do just that.
That’s a reality they’ve experienced and surrendered to again and again over the years; yet a recent tragic event galvanized that faith.
“We were about to go out on tour with a secular band. Two weeks before the tour started, the lead singer’s brother, who was a part of the crew, probably took some drugs before jumping out a hotel window,” John shares. “Later, my daughter came up to the lead singer and told him we were praying for him. I didn’t really have to talk to him about Jesus for him to her the message of Jesus.”
And that’s the heart of Skillet…honoring God with their talents and then stepping out of the spotlight to let the Holy Spirit do its thing, which includes bringing circumstances into the lives of the band members to serve as muse for the music.
“You’ve got to write from your own experiences,” John continues. “What you’re going through; what you feel. For instance, the Boston bombings, September 11…you feel shock and horror and just get sick of it and want to do something about it.”
Listening and heeding their own internal struggles with the tragedy of the world around them, the entire band decided that, yes…they were sick of it and something had to be done.
Read the rest of the story in the July issue of CCM, available June 30!
Caroline Lusk is editor of CCM Magazine.