The most honest voice I've read, perhaps ever.
There's no way I can adequately describe what this book has meant to me, but here goes:
I'll start by saying that I've grown tired of the "self-help" book. Authors write like they've found the secret to happiness, and if you just follow their (often vague) advice, everything will be fixed and you'll never know sorrow again. I can feel their narcissism and the falsehood behind their words oozing out of the page. They just wanted to write the next best-seller and buy a yacht.
This book is not one of those books. Michael Gungor is not one of those authors.
He is just a seeker, having gone down many different paths, at times filled with hope and laid low with despair. He is readily willing to admit his own faults, putting them into perspective rather than hiding them from sight. As a human, faults and all, he only strives to put words and melodies to the infinite beauty that surrounds us in this universe, knowing full well that it's impossible, but it makes for beautiful prose anyway. After all, that's what art is, and he has dedicated his life to it.
If you are an artist struggling for real inspiration (or wrestling with how important your role is or isn't in society), this book will help. If you are a human being striving for meaning or direction, or at the very least a friend who knows well the pain of that longing, this book will help.
I needed it badly at this stage in my life, and I expect I'll return to it many times.
Thank you, Michael Gungor.
This book was exceptional and creative in it's own right with a few built in features such as sound clips. Not only did this book help spark creativity, it brought clarity to what that means for the individual, and the group.
The first half of the book brought life to what it means to create while, the second half brought a new light to some foundational thoughts about beliefs and about where creativity stems from.
This needs to be shared. Buy it for yourself. Buy it for others.
A Must Read for any "creator"
By Jeremy Willet
I knew that I would relate well to the full text of Michael Gungor’s new book, “The Crowd, The Critic, and the Muse: A Book for Creators” when it started with the following sentence,
“Burnout is what happens when you try to avoid being human for too long. It’s awful-like the blood has been drained from your body, the breath emptied from your lungs. Still, the world is obstinate in its demands. Produce! Perform! You just …can’t…get air, but they keep telling you to sing, and they expect it to be in tune.”
A few months before the release of the book, Michael Gungor posted an opportuniy for people to review the book before the release date. A few years ago, I co-wrote a book called carried. and since then, I have occasionally had opportunities to review other book releases such as Mark Batterson’s, Primal, and Blake Mycoskie’s, Start something that matters. I submitted a request for Gungor’s new book and received an advance copy from the marketing agency. Personally, I have always been inspired and challenged by Michael Gungor’s music, live show, dialogue, and provocative blog posts, so I was more then thrilled to dive right into the book.
The digital copy of the book arrived at an interesting season in my life. My band, Willet, just started a 2 month nationwide tour as the supporting act for Family Force 5 & Disciple (strangely enough, “Willet” is the last name of my 2 brothers and I that make up the band…what’s up with people using their last name for band names, i.e.; “Gungor”?) We were coming right off of a 2 week Florida tour, which was preceded by a full summer festival tour, a tour in London, and were about to hit the road for another 2 months living out of a van and trailer. Needless to say, “burnout” was a word that I could relate to.
As I began to read the text, I found myself internally, and sometimes verbally shouting “YES!!! I’VE BEEN SAYING THIS FOR YEARS!” or “THAT IS EXACTLY HOW I FEEL!!”. I would often want to grab my phone and quote Michael in various tweets, but then quickly realized that this was an advanced copy of the book, and I shouldn’t ruin it for readers before the book was released.
if you are a “creator” of any kind (songwriter, musician, Pastor, author, painter, inventor, etc)….
BUY THIS BOOK!
BUY MULTIPLE COPIES OF THIS BOOK!
SURPRISE YOUR FRIENDS WITH A COPY OF THIS BOOK!
With the exception of Shane Claiborne’s Irresistible Revolution, I have never read a book so fast in my life, nor related to the content so much before! After finishing The Crowd, The Critic, and the Muse, I was inspired to dig further into scripture, rejuvenated with creativity, and encouraged to continue living my life to serve the poor.
Far More Than Mere Lyrical Metaphors and Allegories!
By Matthew R Short
An excellent work of creative literature and a must read for anyone questioning how their belief system is meant to affect their purpose in life! Filled with hilarious “playful jaunts” and insightful stories from Michael's childhood. An outstanding read for the stoic and the thespian alike! As Michael puts it,
“Art, along with all work is the ordering of creation toward the intention of the creator.”
“Most of human creativity gets ignored for the genius that it is... Take sewer systems for example…”
As a Christian who happens to be a Filmmaker it has been easy for me to slip into a dogmatic perspective of my creativity. But Michael, through humility and vulnerability in sharing his own story removes the veil from the mystery that is our Creator's intent for our existence.
This book was exactly what I needed! It helped me realize where I was producing for the wrong reasons, and set my feet back on solid ground from which now I can truly create! I was extremely blessed through Michael's wisdom and insight. And if he were ever to read this review, I would say, “Thank You”.
“Whether or not we create is not up to us. We are human, and creating is what we do. Every interaction, movement, and decision is creativity at work.”
Very, Very Timely For My Soul
By Nathan Ziehnert
It's as if Michael has peered into my heart and mind and articulated what I have been unable to for nearly a year. Burnout, fundamentalism, the struggle to maintain a more perfect and elevated status than others because of a perceived status, amongst many other extremely relevant topics to the American view of Christianity. In most of my "non-fiction" reading I'm never compelled to re-read a whole book a second or third time, but the language of this book doesn't read like a dry exposition of liturgy; it's an piece of art all its own that my soul longs to read again. Thank you Michael.
The Unfiltered Heart Behind the Melodies
By Stephen Proctor
Never in your entire life have you ever read a book like this... trust me. If you think Güngör's latest contributions to the world of liturgical music are astounding, then just wait until you hear the unfiltered heart behind the melodies. Be prepared to have your preconceived ideas of sacred art slowly unraveled and sewn back together with Mystery and Beauty!
Michael's musings are beyond hilarious yet radically prophetic. You will taste a hope for a world free from the chains of fundamentalism and catch a glimpse of the culture of sacred creativity that ought to be. I couldn't think of a more timely message for artists & industry professionals in the early 21st Century Church. I hope that you'll allow these stories to shape you as they've shaped me.