Friday, September 21, 2012

"Sinner's Creed" by Scott Stapp: A Review

Sex, drugs, and alcohol. We've heard it all before. Its the lifestyle of the average rock star. Anyone who grew up watching VH1's popular show "Behind the Music" is familiar with the narrative. Every episode was the same. A group meets. They start a band. They get popular. They get strung out on sex, drugs, and alcohol. A tragedy hits. They have a revelation that things aren't right. They make a comeback.

One of the most watched of those episodes was of one of my favorite bands (I still remember watching it in my bedroom in high school) was Creed. Creed came out of nowhere and took the world by storm. They did not know how to publish a bad song and my friends and I would crank their songs all day every day. The question of their faith, and certainly as a Christian I interpreted some of their songs from a Christian perspective, never mattered to us, it was just the music.

They're break up disappointed me, but I still kept up with the band in general and their lead singer, Scott Stapp, particularly. I bought his solo album and awaited news for the sophomore album. Recently, Stapp released an autobiography/memoir of his life and experiences as a sex, drugs, and alcohol rock star called Sinner's Creed: A Memoir. I stayed up until after one in the morning reading it.

The story begins with Stapp's upbringing - abandoned by one father and abused by the other. Stapp's heart breaking upbringing, as he tells it, is a reminder of just how wicked legalistic, hypocritical religion really is. As a Christian I am heart broken that many children have grown up in such abusive homes of fear and religion. The real miracle of the story, in many ways, is that Stapp kept his faith, though barely.

After his childhood, Stapp tells us the story of college, another tragedy at Lee University, how the band started, and how they got their first breaks. From there, its all sex, drugs, alcohol, and rock and roll and it is tragic. You will have to read the book to get the details, but Stapp is honest in confessing his own sins - his own prisons if you will. He struggles with pride, ego, depression, alcoholism, bitterness, idolatry, and countless other sins. He almost killed himself several times.

The good news: the band is getting back together. That must mean more music and more Creed awesomeness, but that is almost as far as the good news goes. There is no real redemption in the story. Certainly Stapp's story remains unfinished as his career continues and the band picks up where it left off for the third time. But redemption is nowhere to be found. There is hope. There is effort for freedom from depression and alcoholism, but Stapp doesn't find it in the end. Of course the title of the book gave this away, Sinner's Creed. He still sees himself as a fallen man and rightfully so. He has fallen. But redemption is a story of Christ - a story Stapp knows full well - taking us as we are and He puts the broken pieces back together. Stapp is seeking a God of love - and aren't we all - but he can only find him in the cross. That is where he can be freed.

Overall, if you loved Creed, you will find this a fascinating story. It is a typical story of rock and roll with a twist. Stapp struggles to find God in all of this. And therein lies our hope.

This book was given to me by Tyndale Publishers for the purpose of this review.

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