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Petra


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Geez. Who cares? I thought this happened a long time ago.

True story:

One time I was at an Olive Garden in Northern Virginia, waiting to be seated and this guy in a suit asked me (totally out of the blue) if I had heard of Petra. I said yes. Then he asked me if I would like to meet John Schlitt. I was kind of confused, and before I had a chance to answer, John Schlitt came walking out of the men's room and the guy in the suit (apparently his manager or agent) said, "John, I'd like you to meet a fan of yours" and John smiled and shook my hand before following the waiter to his table.

Weird.

I have a blog? here at A&F that I sometimes post in.

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There's a reason that Washes Whiter Than yielded their first real big hits ("I Can Be Friends With You" was one),

Nyet. That was on Never Say Die. "Why Should the Father Bother" was the big hit from Washes Whiter Than. It was STILL being played on the local schlocky Christian station last time I checked ...

Egads, you're sooo right. WWT also featured that lovely bit of treacle, "Yahweh Love" with the deep lyric:

YAHweh love YAHweh LOVE YAHweh love YAHweh love yahweh LOVE YAHweh.

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Love YAHweh.

Jesus is not a zombie...I shouldn't have to tell you that.

--Agent Booth, Bones

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This is such a weird topic to publically write on. I have often felt ashamed in my adult life for how much I loved Petra in Jr. High and in the first few years of High School. I even took some flack for loving the band, wearing a tour t-shirt to school and having some of the cool guys refer to me as "Petra." I saw them at least three or four times (I want to say even more than that but honestly can't remember) and I saw Greg X Voltz solo at C-stone (must've been... '89?) ... It's amazing that the group I so loved is the same group I ran from, and pretty much hated in the end, and I can't put a finger on exactly why. It can't be the plasticity of the band itself, or the show of Christianity on display -- if it were this, I may have run from all Christianity; I have yet to encounter an authentic form of the faith, one that has no hidden motives or agenda. So if I'm going to continue in this faith that I hope to better, why not also hang in there with its artists that I hope for better art from? But it just did not work out with this band. I fled from my love of them, and actually ended up hating everything from their style to the nature of their ministry.

The Schlitt era was the worst, IMHO, so I never heard anything after the live recording (which was also quite bad), "Captured in Time and Space." I think I would've fled regardless. There was a certain point at which I came into an understanding -- I couldn't even put it into words back then -- but there was an understanding that art does not necessarily need to be validated only in its use as a "tool for The Lord," a phrase I currently despise. The only point of Petra throughout the years has been to "win more souls for Jesus," a fine and worthy goal of anyone, but also an ideal that tends to disrupt and ruin potentially good art. I guess they had to start there -- in the beginning there was no melding of church and rock. In order to play what they desired they had to somehow convince the church -- and the convincing was in the converting. No Pastor has ever argued with numbers. It did take a few decades for some of the older "rock music is of The Devil" preachers to die, but today Petra is hardly controversial.

It is interesting to admit that at one time I did love this band, and that they affected my faith and gave me hope. They were the solid ground I needed as I argued with my friends whether U2 was a "Christian band." (Whatever that is). There's a part of me that longs for the innocence involved in loving an album like "More Power to Ya" or a song like "Judas Kiss." If I were to hear those songs today, the cynic in me would take over. This is neither good nor bad, but rather like reflecting on something of unknown value that is lost.

-s.

Edited by stef

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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I can relate to what you and some others have been saying, Stef - although my love and disavowal of Petra came later in life. I attended concerts from the 'Not of this World' and 'Beat the System' tours during my senior year of high school and the following summer, continuing to listen to them fairly avidly for the next 6 years or so. 'Not of this World' is my favorite of their albums, but I can't say whether that's out of nostalgia or an honest aesthetic appraisal.

It was around the time of 'Petra Praise 2' that I became convinced of the blandness, derivative-ness, and platitude-full-ness of CCM in general. I couldn't bring myself to listen to 'worldly' rock and roll like U2 (yes, I was rather judgmental and legalistic at that time), so I fled into classical music instead - a big-time passion for several years that I don't regret.

So now, a handful of Petra tapes sit on my shelf, along with a handful of other refugee CCM music, unlistened to for several years. For some reason, though, I can't bring myself to toss it out. This stuff did help me to grow spiritually for a few years, and provided some emotional support thru some very tough times, so perhaps there's some gratitude on my part. But I think I'd be embarrassed to listen to it now, in part due to some cheesy lyrics and music no doubt, but mostly because I don't presently possess the same arrogant certainty of rectitude and specialness within my faith, some of which I miss if I'm honest with myself.

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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I missed almost the entire musical decade of the 90's because of Petra (and Michael W. Smith, and Newsboys, and Audio Adrenaline, and Steven Curtis Chapman, etc etc).

Want to know how many times I'd heard Nirvana between 1991 and 1997? It was probably less than 5. I heard Stars by Hum on the radio once and thought it was a new song. Pearl Jam? Nope. Stone Temple Pilots? Nope. I'm still catching up.

I spent the first half of that decade rocking out to my cassettes of Wake Up Call and Beyond Belief... occasionally even the older things like Captured in Time and Space.

I was the first (and only) kid on my block to get Never Say Dinosaur. Soon even the harder stuff, like Whiteheart and Whitecross, seduced my feeble soul and led me down a path of eternal darkness.

And yet... despite all the nostalgia I don't much care that Petra has broken up. The spell of CCM cast on me by Petra has entirely worn off.

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I have yet to encounter an authentic form of the faith, one that has no hidden motives or agenda.

Yipe! Must one lack an "agenda" in order to have authentic faith? Didn't Jesus have an agenda called "the kingdom of heaven"?

I missed almost the entire musical decade of the 90's because of Petra

You didn't miss much IMHO.

Want to know how many times I'd heard Nirvana between 1991 and 1997?  It was probably less than 5.

You lucky dog. They were hard to get away from if you lived in Seattle.

Edited by mrmando

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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Maybe if I would have capitalized The Faith it would've helped. I'm not saying people's faiths are not valid, just that I've not run into a situation where The Faith is presented without some kind of outside reason for the presentation itself (could be something as simple as the ego of the person presenting The Faith. Still, this is an outside agenda.) I'm sure that Jesus had an agenda called "the kingdom of heaven," but if The Story is true, then he laid down his life for his agenda and rose again to prove the reality of it. I haven't met a Christian who will leave his possessions behind, much less his "Life," whatever living or identity he's carved out for himself.

Look, a statement like that doesn't exclude myself in the mix. I get paid for what I do at the church every weekend. And I do it many times out of compromise in order to keep things flowing -- the "things" of which include my paycheck. No minister is different. I've often imagined that if there were no paycheck, there might be a lot less separate motives.

But this thread was supposed to be about Petra. Has anyone ever noticed how similar Boston's cover art is to More Power to Ya and Not of This World?

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Edited by stef

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Has anyone ever noticed how similar Boston's cover art is to More Power to Ya and Not of This World?

Yep.

I bought my first Petra album, "More Power to Ya", thinking it might sound something like Boston because the cover artist was obviously ripping off Boston's cover art ideas.

Once I got over my disappointment, I actually liked some of the album.

Say, did anyone watch the Katrina fundraising special tonight and hear Tim McGraw cover Petra's "More Power to Ya?" ohmy.gif

"If the Christian subculture exists primarily to condemn the world, you can be sure that Jesus is not having any part of it." - John Fischer

"Ignorance is excusable when it is borne like a cross, but when it is wielded like an axe, and with moral indignation, then it becomes something else indeed." - Flannery O'Connor

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  • 4 months later...

Sampled this "Farewell" album just to hear Volz's vocals. Seems like he has lost his range like he has his hair.

Brandon

"God is so great and merciful that he does not require that we name him precisely. God is even willing to be anonymous for a time. Remember how God led the Three Wise Men from the East to Christ? The Wise Men did not know the God of Israel or Jesus. They worshipped the stars. So God used a star to lure them."--The Twelve Steps for Christians

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  • 5 years later...

Link to our thread on the classic Petra reunion.

Link to our original thread on Petra, which concerned the album Jekyll & Hyde (2003).

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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