Jars of Clay frontman Dan Haseltine responded today on the band's fansite www.jarchives.com, regarding the ensuing outcry from fans over the lack of major nominations for the band's critically-lauded and Grammy-nominated project, Who We Are Instead.
Following is his thought-provoking response to the fans:
Thanks to everyone. I really appreciate your disappointment over the fact that WWAI did not get a nomination. We too were disappointed. Ultimately, the reasons for making music and engaging in the arts have nothing to do with winning Dove awards. It is nice to be acknowledged, but in an industry that still has a long way to go in supporting true artistry and not simply perpetuating a "cultural Christianity," we must not get discouraged.
We love the Switchfoot guys, and are happy to let them shine this year. They have worked very hard. So we will be rooting for them. We are also very thankful that Show You Love was nominated.
This is all part of the tension that Jars of Clay has existed in for many years. How do we seek to develop as artists that can speak into the lives of both Christians and non-Christians, uphold our belief that being excellent artists is as much a reflection of the Gospel as any verbal testimony, and continue to write songs that challenge and serve the greater story of redemption well, AND hold a highly visible spot in a Christian genre and industry that does not necessarily put the same kind of value on these things? This seems impossible. I do not know many, if any, artists that are dedicated to these same values, and have a strong high profile status in the CCM world. And we are alright with this arrangement. On my worst days I hunger for and seek after the recognition...but that is only when I am feeling the unquenchable need to be defined by something other than God.
At the core, Pop music is telling people what they want to hear. Christian Pop music is no different. This presents a great problem when my understanding of the Gospel is that it is NOT what we want to hear. It is ultimately offensive, and revealing in the most violent of ways. One of the hymns we sing on Redemption Songs has a verse that begins, "I am evil, born in sin...." Not exactly the words we want to keep singing in our heads on a sunny day...but it is the truth.
Don't be surprised by the CCM industry...They have created a monster and now they do not know how to kill it gracefully. And even though it is a monster, most times it's motives are to become a very good monster. So...anyway, thanks for caring. We will press on, and in fact, have been writing furiously for the next record. We will begin recording in May. We are already VERY excited about quite a few of the new songs.
We will be meeting up with our friend Ron Aniello and some other songwriters in L.A. when we go out for the Grammy's. So hopefully good things will come of those sessions.
Sorry for such a long response. Just thought I would let you know we shared your disappointment, but we are doing great! -peace, dan