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Rocketown’s resident ‘Spock’ ponders next musical transition

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–As a general rule, most contemporary Christian artists aren’t likely to reference the father of calculus and modern mathematics during their concerts – unless you’re Shaun Groves.

His colleagues at Rocketown Records have labeled the deep-thinking musician as the “Spock of Christian music,” comparing Groves to Star Trek’s resident thinker. It’s a label Groves doesn’t seem to mind.

“It’s good to think about life and who you are and what you do,” Groves said. “It’s helped me to examine my life and see where my weaknesses are and where potential pitfalls are. It’s part of who I am.”

And it’s a part of his music, too. Groves’ thoughtful, Scripture-based lyrics have been widely accepted by listeners of Christian music. His debut project, “Invitation to Eavesdrop,” was heralded as a success, garnering the young Christian artist Dove Award nominations for new artist of the year, pop/contemporary recorded song and song of the year.

In the fall he toured with Bebo Norman and most recently completed “The Eleventh Hour” tour with Jars of Clay.

It’s a far cry from more than one year ago when the college-educated musician was earning a paycheck by cleaning a Nashville-area church. Still, the Southern Baptist musician hasn’t forgotten his roots and he’s not about to let fame and popularity seep into his life.

“I think I’ve chilled out a little bit over this past year,” said Groves, a native of Tyler, Texas, and now a member of the First Baptist Church, Franklin, Tenn. “That’s probably going to show up in some way in my next record.”

Groves said his second release will include some songs that are a little more celebratory.

“The songs on the first record came from the time of college to when I moved to Nashville,” he said. “I wasn’t liking the job I had. I wasn’t sure where I needed to be and I was wrestling with some deep ideas. I was knee-deep in some pretty deep things.”

From ballads to rock anthems, Invitation to Eavesdrop is a musical testimony of Groves’ transitional years that consequently invites listeners to hear a conversation between the artist and God.

“Musical style is easy to describe, but I wrestled with how to explain my lyrical style,” Groves said. “Until I realized that every song is a conversation, usually with God, about personal feelings or circumstances. Since I never write with anyone besides myself and the person I’m talking to, everyone else who hears the song is really eavesdropping on a moment of my life — a private conversation made public.

“I believe that the Christian life is a conversation with God and man,” he said. “We should live as if the world is listening to what our every action says about the validity of our faith.”

With one successful project behind him, Groves said he is looking forward to the future.

“I’m at a point where I am looking back and seeing how good God has been,” Groves said. “The hard work and discipline have paid off in a positive sense. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next album is a lot happier.”

With one year of touring under his belt, most people, Groves said, seem to understand his message.

“But I feel a certain amount of unrest,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate to be at churches that get it, that understand how to do ministry, understand discipleship, evangelism and worship. These are things that are needed to have a well-rounded biblically sound church.

“But I’ve heard some messed-up things out there,” he added. “I’ve seen people angry at Jars of Clay for playing in a club. I’ve seen them belittle them and tear them down as if the guys have no feelings.”

Some people, Groves said, are “completely close-minded to anything different, anything challenging. We live in a Jabez culture. We have this Christian ghetto mentality of ‘God just bless me. I will buy it. I will consume it if it will benefit me.’ I’ve met a lot of Christians like that.”

From his college years at Baylor University to his global stage, Groves said that he understands the calling on his life.

“I have been given a platform and I plan to use it to tell others about Christ,” he said. “I really do believe that we exist to increasingly know God and continually make him known. You would be amazed at how revolutionary that message is to people. I tell that every time I can.

“When I get to the end of my life, judgment time, when every act of my life is laid out as a brick in the wall and God lights that wall with the fire of his judgment, all the awards and accolades are going to burn up. But the time I spend with young people, the time I spend on stage challenging Christians to be intentional, to worship God not just with a song but with your life, those things are going to last. They will be the jewels that I will be able to lay at his feet.”

Ultimately, Groves said he wants to lead people to worship God and that brings us back to Blaise Pascal, the father of calculus and modern mathematics.

When Pascal became a Christian he had an extreme reaction. He wrote in his diary: “Today I found God. Not the God of the philosophers and theologians, but the God of Abraham and Moses. Fire! Fire! Fire! Joy! Joy! Joy! Joy! Fire! Joy! Joy! Fire! Unspeakable Joy!”

“Worship is my response to God with all that I am to all that God is, has done and is doing in me, through me and around me,” Groves said. “Worship is an encounter with God that leaves us changed. Our lives should be different if we’ve truly worshiped — characterized by, for lack of better words, fire and unspeakable joy.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: SHAUN GROVES.

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  • Todd Starnes