Zach Lind on "The Gospel According to Phil Collins"

A couple of months ago I heard Zach Lind, the drummer of Jimmy Eat World, give a presentation about "The Gospel According to Phil Collins." You can hear Zach discuss some of the thoughts he shared during that talk in his podcast with Luke Norsworthy.

I've been thinking about Zach's talk ever since I heard it. The point that sticks with me was Zach's observation about shame and creativity.

To get that point you need a little background about Zach and Phil Collins.

(BTW, the photo here is of Phil Collins, the same photo Zach used in his presentation.)

As a drummer in the indie music scene Zach and the crowd he ran with was fiercely dismissive of pop music. Pop music was "selling out."

And then one day a few years ago Zach was driving down the road with his kids and a Phil Collins song came on. And for some reason the song captured Zach's imagination. That day Zach became the fan of a pop music icon. Phil Collins.

It was incongruous. On the surface, as a pop star, Phil Collins represented everything Zach was artistically opposed to. But the more Zach pushed past his prejudices and began exploring Phil Collins as an artist the more of a fan he became.

But given the music scene Zach was associated with being the fan of a pop star came with a cost. And that cost was social shaming, good natured no doubt, but Zach did get made fun of by peers for his enjoyment and admiration of Phil Collins.

Which brings us to one of the points Zach made during his presentation about "The Gospel According to Phil Collins."

Specifically, Zach said don't let anyone shame you for liking what you like. Especially if liking what you like is associated with your own creative expression, exploration and inspiration.

So if you like Phil Collins, like Phil Collins. Ignore what everyone else thinks about Phil Collins. Like whatever it is that gives you joy. Even if it's pop music.

Brene Brown in her book Daring Greatly talks a lot about the relationship between shame-resilience and creativity. Creative expression involves a lot of risk, mainly the risk of being shamed by others. So if you lack shame-resiliency you'll struggle to take the risks you'll need to take to be truly creative. This is the exact point Zach was making.

And the reason Zach's lesson has stuck with me is because I find living as a Christian to be a highly creative and artistic activity. Which means that living as a Christian means cultivating shame-resiliency so that you can take the risks you need to take to creatively and artistically explore the shape of Jesus in our world. In living artistically in how you creatively express the life of Jesus in your own life you'll have to take risks in what you say or do, things that might cause shame or embarrassment.

I'm reminded of the woman who crashes the party to anoint Jesus. What a risk! What shame-resiliency!

And the woman does get shamed.

But Jesus says, "Leave her alone, she has done a beautiful thing."

A beautiful thing. Not a good thing or a religious thing. A beautiful thing. A creative, artistic thing.

That woman took a risk, faced the shame and did something that was creative and beautiful.

That's "The Gospel According to Phil Collins" according to Zach.

Taking the risk to do the beautiful thing. Taking the risks to live a beautiful life.

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15 thoughts on “Zach Lind on "The Gospel According to Phil Collins"”

  1. Phil Collins is a class act. It sounds to me like Zach was just being a snob. If, however, he had started preaching, say, "The Gospel According to One Direction" ...

  2. Back in the sixties, being a huge Beatles and Bob Dylan fan, I kept a secret from my friends...I loved Karen Carpenter. That voice melted my soul. So when she died from Anorexia, it was heart breaking. An awareness of another's suffering sometimes comes from where one never expects. AWARENESS=AWAKENING..RESURRECTION.

  3. Awesome!

    I was thinking this morning of the SNL skit with Will Ferrell wearing a speedo to an office meeting. (Google [Will Ferrell speedo], or... *don't* google it. You've been warned.) and Chris Farley auditioning for chippendales (Google: [chris farley chippendales] or... *don't*). The humor in both of those worked because neither of them had any sense of shame. Not many people could pull off those sketches because the sort of shame most everyone would feel in those moments would be completely transparent. But pushing past that shame releases that great creativity like Zach says.

  4. Thats just a matter of context. Phil Collins is the man, but to the pink/grunge scene he was just empty Pop - much like 1D is to many music lovers today.

  5. Nice story. And KC did have a stunning voice. No shame. However if we're really fessing up here ... I bought a Monkees album as a freshman at Wesleyan University in '66. A MONKEES album for heaven's sake!! I acted in haste -- and I've been repenting at leisure for nigh on 50 years.

  6. No, there is only 1d for 1D -- south. (See my comment/confession above about the Monkees.)

  7. Hey, I watched them every week. O course, the best songs, for my taste, we those by Michael Nesmith.

  8. The anointing story is indeed one of the most beautiful in the gospels. All four of the gospel writers tell the story. Even though the details vary a little, this rather strange and unusual act happened only once–not two or three times as claimed by some commentators. Each writer told the story as he understood the facts. Yes, we need to break the alabaster jar more often in our lives–show beautiful acts of love and hospitality toward others.
    In John 11:2, the name of the woman is given–Mary of Bethany whom I believe is the same person as Mary Magdalene. I believe that can be proven by both the text and by extra-biblical literature. "Magdalene" is a title and from a Hebrew word "migdal," meaning tower. Shepherds built these towers from which they could see the sheep. In Micah 4:8 the term is used in reference to Jerusalem—"tower of the flock" (magdal-eder). During the life of MM, there was no such village called Magdala.
    It is a shame that the remarkable legacy of this great women has been lost. Let's break the alabaster jar for those we love.

  9. I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord

    And I've been waiting for this moment for all my life, Oh Lord

    Can you feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord, oh Lord!

    ……..or was it “hold on” ?

  10. unrelated to the point of the post, but the Phil Collins I associated with was not the pop singer but the same Phil Collins who played drums for the jazz/rock fusion band Brand-X in the 70s. That was a killer band and he is a killer drummer, so anything he did in the pop scene was foreshadowed for me by Brand-X.

  11. Nice piece but I still can't forgive him for ruining Genesis.....

    Shame resistance can go both ways though, right? We hold those up as examples who resist the shame we don't agree with but some of the most horrible people in history also had pretty high shame resistance too, yeah? Isn't shame a necessary tool for culture to enforce its mores, especially ones it is not willing to make an outright prohibition against? Could you have a properly functioning culture without shame?

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