Many people I come across seem to have some gospel sort of connection. It’s probably not true of all countries (hence the importance of Jesus’ great commission) but in many parts of the UK and USA as least, it seems quite common that someone has had some contact with Christianity and the gospel: A believing parent or sibling, a faithfully witnessing friend or college, even a past faith of some sort. Well, as it turns out, the lead singer of the heavy metal rock band Metallica is no exception. He recently appeared in a film on Fatherhood along with guys like the Christian author John Eldredge (Wild at heart heart) and is now good friends with the film maker and Christian, Justin Hunt.
Clouding the waters however, is the fact that James was brought up in a “Christian Science” family. His parents were Christian Scientists. Here is their web site and what the organisation say about themselves.
Quotes from their site:
“God, our all-powerful, ever-present, tenderly loving Father-Mother”
I may have missed it but I could not find anything about forgiveness, Jesus as our substitute, the need for faith, etc. They seem keen to sound part of Christian orthodoxy but reading about their beliefs seems to suggest otherwise. Their Wiki article is here . More info here. Basically they emphasis Jesus’ healing in their teachings, sometimes to the extent that they reject modern medicine and doctors and stuff. In fact more generally they emphasise the reality of the spiritual over the physical world. And they augment the bible (they say it’s “based on the bible and is explained by Science and Health with Key to Scriptures and other writings by Mary Baker Eddy”).
James’ father left him and his mother when he was growing up. A few years later his mother died of cancer.
Hear are some quotes from an interview with James and Justin:
Question: How did the loss of James’ mother compare to the abandonment loss he felt from his father?
James: My father made a decision. He chose to leave and that hurts. That hurts more. You know, watching my mother wither away because of the rules of the “religion” was extremely difficult, and not being able to step up. Not even being able to say anything about it. The family was, you know, I hear from other families, (in a hushed voice) “we didn’t really talk about sex … or things like that..” [In my family] we didn’t talk about practically anything around health. [Watching] my mother just becoming so thin.
But the Father Wound of him leaving, and not saying good-bye, and showing up, like maybe a year later, in his sports car of some sort. [I think] he had a Sting Ray, saying, “Hey, come on lets go spend some money.” Meanwhile, [my mother, sister, and I] are living in poverty. It hurt a lot.
James: The fame and fortune doesn’t fill the hole that a father leaves, or a mother, or anyone important in your life
James: everyone in the band is a father so two weeks on, two weeks off is what we do. Nothing is going to make us stray from that ’cause it is very important. There is a very clear priority list and family’s at the top.
But what does James think about Jesus? From here:
Interviewer – “So the cross tattoo just where your shirt opens, that is more a metal symbol then a religious symbol?”
James : Symbolism is pretty big for me, and the cross for me represents balance and connection with a higher power…
Also from here
Without this god given gift I don’t know where I’d be.
Well, as you can imagine I was eager to watch the film. I’ll blog on that next…
PS. Another article