In all honesty, you may not be ready for this.
Following his big, anthemic, modern rock, corporate worship CD, GENERATION, Reuben – an Atlanta-based worship artist – felt a tug on his soul to do something quite a bit different with this project. Fans of Gungor, take note: though THE SIGNS OF GOD sounds nothing like Gungor, that same stretched feeling you got when first challenged by Gungor’s unorthodox take on worship resides here as well, for many reasons.
Reuben explains his heart behind THE SIGNS OF GOD; “It all started when I attended the Jesus in the Qur’an seminar.” Now, if that sentence has already thrown you, these articles Muslim Followers of Jesus? and A Muslim Follower of Jesus: a Response from Christianity Today may be helpful. Reuben continued, “It blew me away when I realized how much Muslims and Christians had in common.” Based on the 7 stories that the Bible and Qur’an have in common, THE SIGNS OF GOD, Reuben says, “is rooted in finding peace through what we have in common. Rarely are great relationships born from disagreement and argument. I hope that we can sit down with a Muslim friend and talk about how significant these stories are as they relate to God’s mercy for mankind – that we’d set our preconceptions and agendas aside and just talk about life, family, and Jesus!”
Musically, Reuben experiments greatly with the same approach of combining middle-eastern melodies with modern Brit-rock and English folk songwriting that the Beatles experimented with in their mid-to-late period. His vocals are authentically raw and at times almost fragile, and the music and tempo of each song are well paired with the themes of each Biblical story. The results are fresh and interesting, at the very least, and at best, quite challenging and captivating.
My personal highlights would be “Abraham”, which feels at once both ancient and modern, “Moses”, an epically triumphant call to freedom, and “David”, the albums’ only – but very effective – guitar-driven, raucous rocker.
I can’t help but admire Reuben for his love of Jesus, his radical heart for Muslims, and his absolute refusal to retread the same old ground. This CD is risky and he knows it – and many will not be ready for it – but Reuben has taken a big step towards being Jesus to a people who don’t often encounter Christ – sadly though it be – in their engagements with so-called Christians. If you’re willing to face the challenge, this CD is for you.