Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Margaret Becker - Inside Voice

  • 1999 23 Dec
Margaret Becker - Inside Voice

Although {{Margaret Becker}} is perhaps best known as a Dove award winning singer/songwriter, she has recently garnered significant praise as an author. Her first book, With New Eyes, a collection of essays written from personal experiences and observations, was a refreshing change from all the celebrity devotional books that have become the rage. She is currently putting the finishing touches on a new book, Growing Up Together, that explores the relationships of siblings.

When Margaret in not busy singing or writing, she spends considerable time on the road as a featured speaker at women's conferences. She recently took time out of her crowded schedule to talk with me about her faith and her multi-faceted career, and how the two intersect.

PP - You are a platform speaker for the new Voc conference. What is that all about?

MB - It is a very small, two-day conference that is sponsored by Lifeway Christian Resources, that is skewed more toward us (single women) than toward married women. We are trying to keep it deliberately small so that it will be an intimate setting.

PP - How does Voc differ from the Aspiring Women conferences that you have also been doing?

MB - At Aspiring Women I am considered way left of center, because the majority of the women that are on that tour are more from the center of contemporary Christianity. When I am at that conference there is a line that is very sure and fast that I must not cross. There are things that I would love to say to those women, but the times that I have said them there have been repercussions. Because they are not ready to hear it. They would much rather hear somebody else, another speaker, who is saying something that is more palatable, more familiar to them. When I go there, the big challenge is, 'How do I get my point across without offending too many people, but without diluting my point.' What is that middle ground? It is a precarious balance, so I always go with an 'edit' button. Everything I say, I am editing as I am saying it. And even then I make some people angry. Very angry. Angry enough to write letters.

This conference (Voc) will be a lot different. It will be a lot more passionate. And it will be a lot more challenging. And there will probably be people there that will complain, too. But frankly, that's part of life. When you are in the public eye, if you want to do anything worthwhile you are going to get a complaint.

PP - You have commented that Margaret Becker is 'Just a little left of center.' What does that mean?

MB - I am trying to warn people not to expect me to try to toe the line. It means I am not going to be your girl. I am God's girl. If He wants me to do a certain thing, God help you if you get in the way, because I would much rather answer to Him positively, than to answer to you positively. 'Left of center' means that I do not associate my faith-walk with an ironclad set of rules and regulations. There are certain truths that I take to be truths no matter in what light they are cast, and they are the truths that I think most people would agree on in light of Christianity.

Then I think there are nuances. I think there are interpretations. I think there are personal tastes. I think there are culturally relevant pre-dispositions. And those are the things Christians separate themselves over. They are also the very fuel and catalyst that they use to ignite one another, under the auspices of Christian living, but truly in a spirit of hatred and ungraciousness. It is a strong statement but it is true. I don't want to be a part of that. If someone has a belief that differs from mine in some of the nuance areas, the last thing I want to think is, 'How can you be close to the Lord and think that?' I would much rather stand in the shadow of mystery, and be considered left of center because I am not going to say absolutely yes and absolutely no, that's black, that's white, there is no gray. I believe there is a lot of gray. Because there is grace.

PP - How did you come to Faith?

MB - I was very fortunate in that I was raised in a very devout Catholic home, and my first impressions of faith were always majestic and High-Church. My mother was incredibly influential all throughout my life. She always led me to Christ, and led me to prayer. In every crisis situation in my very young life she encouraged me to go to Christ. She made sure that part of my life was taken care of. From the time I was little, I knew who Jesus was, and I knew that I wanted to be a part of His kingdom. As I matured I began asking deeper questions of my faith, and what started as a very Catholic experience expanded into other areas. I was hungry to learn more about what other people's applications were when it came to Christianity. I started studying different aspects of the Episcopalian faith, and then Pentecostal and Charismatic, and the Southern Baptist. I started to get a feel for what everybody was about. The one thing I felt I needed to really pursue was a close relationship with Christ rather than what I would call a 'majestic relationship,' and move a little closer to a personal relationship.

I have never stopped at any one point and said, 'Okay, this is the entire truth.' I have always gone from shade to shade and thought, 'Wow, that seems like truth; that seems like nuance; that seems like truth; that seems like opinion.' It is forming in me even to this day.

PP - If money were no object, what would you be doing right now?

MB - If I did not have to work for a living, I would choose to continue to write books. I love that process. It is just enjoyable at every level. I would consider different subjects and write a series on relationships, or personal retreats, or just write. I love the solitary aspect of it. And I love the ability to make a longwinded expression.

The other thing I would do is instrumental music. If I had the time and the money I would bring in different tutors to teach me all the different digital scenarios that you can work in now. I would buy a studio and just create instrumental music. And I would want to be the person creating it. I love instrumental music and I love the solitary nature of being in a studio.

With three Dove Awards, four Grammy nominations, and fourteen #1 radio hits, Margaret Becker is recognized as one of the most gifted artists in contemporary Christian music. Her latest project, ==What Kind of Love==, recently released on the Sparrow Records label. Her new book, Growing Up Together is due out mid-summer of 2000.