“Look at it this way,” Carr posits, “which is more popular: documentaries or fiction-based movies? Documentaries are important because you need to learn the facts about an issue, but getting involved in a story brings the emotions into play and makes things far more personal and involving for people. 'Wire' is a more personal record for us, and it is a risk because we could easily come out with 12 safe songs that say what people want to hear; but we had to make the record that was on our hearts and minds to make.”

“For me,” says Mac, “the challenge is: How do you be strong and straightforward in your faith and, at the same time, be accessible to people who are not believers and talk in a way they can understand? I was reading Charlie Peacock’s book ["New Way to Be Human"] the other day, and I wrote this down: ‘The reason that we make Christian music is because there are people who buy Christian music. If there wasn’t a market for Christian music, what would we be doing?”’

Well. That rhetorical question is reminiscent of comedian Bob Nelson’s classic bit about the NFL player trying to ad lib his way through a public service announcement, stating, “If it were not for football in my life, I would not be playing football today.” It may be deep logic for Yogi Berra, but for the men of Third Day this afternoon it is fodder for continuing a very stimulating discussion between friends who clearly respect each other’s ideas. And that just may be the glue that holds this band together when music isn’t enough. Regardless, this discussion is far from finished, as Anderson jumps back in.

The Price of Relevancy

“The question for me is, ‘Are we serving the church?’ The best way we can serve God’s people is by making sure our message is relevant to our particular culture at this time. We all want to say that we support that idea, but how well do we do it? We, in this band, are all Christians, most of our crew on the road are Christians; we’re having Bible studies together and hanging out together most of the time with Christians.

“Well, we basically took a year off and spent time with our neighbors,” Anderson continues, “We want to share our faith with our neighbors, of course, but we do that pretty differently one-on-one than how we would from a stage on a Christian music tour. I’m interested in the idea of sharing Christ through our music more in a manner that we might in our personal lives … now that I remember what a personal life is all about! [laughs]

“People say, ‘You can’t serve two masters; you have to serve the church or the world. We’re attempting in this band to serve one master — and that’s God — but we’re not interested in making dividing lines in our audience between Christians and non-Christians. They are people coming to our shows, and every one of them has a soul. Our goal is simply to create an atmosphere where the Holy Spirit can draw people and do what the Spirit does in their hearts.”

There is a pause in the room, a selah in the discussion, to use the psalmic term. Lee breathes deeply and, in his quiet way, says a mouthful.

“You know, I used to kind of roll my eyes when people started talking about the ‘culture wars.’ Maybe it’s because I never felt like what we did was very important in the grand scheme of things. We’re a band, and there are probably a lot more important things we could be sitting around thinking about than music, right? But when another culture is mad enough at our country to hijack a plane to take a bunch of Americans’ lives and their own in the process, there is something about our culture that really angers them.

“I want to believe that our contribution to our culture, in what we have to say through our music and by the way we are attempting to live it out, will have a positive and redemptive effect on everyone who hears it. We have to remember that it’s not just kids in church youth groups who hear this anymore. This music can be heard worldwide through the Internet now, and we feel a great responsibility as the people making this music that what we’re saying in our lyrics is consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ and not just the product of an American point of view on Christianity.”