It's often been said that Larry Norman was the grandfather of Contemporary Christian Music...that his pioneering blending of folk/rock music with spiritual truth in the late 60's helped create "Jesus Music" and was a major part of the soundtrack for the phenomenon of hippies coming to Christ that was called "The Jesus Movement."
I was never really a hippy, and I grew up in the flat-lands of Northern Indiana instead of the beaches of Southern California or anywhere near Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco...but I felt the influence nonetheless. The setting aside of theological navel-gazing and denominational chest-thumping and just focusing on this guy Jesus really struck a chord with me...and it didn't hurt that I could play along with the simple chords of classic rock that came charging from the vinyl grooves of the hard-to-find albums by the likes of Norman, Randy Stonehill, Phil Keaggy, and Love Song.
That focus on Jesus is what drew me to Norman, as is perfectly demonstrated in his song, "The Outlaw."
Some say he was an outlaw, that he roamed across the land
With a band of unschooled ruffians and a few old fishermen
No one knew just where he came from or exactly what he'd done
But they said it must be something bad that kept him on the run
Some say he was a poet, that he'd stand upon the hill
And his voice could calm an angry crowd or make the waves stand still
That he spoke in many parables that few could understand
But the people sat for hours just to listen to this man
Some say he was a sorcerer, a man of mystery
He could walk upon the water, he could make a blind man see
That he conjured wine at weddings and did tricks with fish and bread
That he talked of being born again and raised people from the dead
Some say a politician, who spoke of being free
He was followed by the masses on the shores of Galilee
He spoke out against corruption and he bowed to no decree
And they feared his strength and power, so they nailed him to a tree
Some say he was the Son of God, a man above all men
That he came to be a servant and to set us free from sin
And that's who I believe he was, 'cause that's who I believe
And I think we should get ready, 'cause it's time for us to leave
* * * * * * *Truth is...you can talk, you can talk, you can bicker, you can talk, you can talk-talk-talk, you can bicker-bicker-bicker...but it all comes down to one question: What do you say about Jesus?