Singer-songwriter Michael Card visits the Gospels in his new “Biblical Imagination Series,” with books, DVDs and CDs dedicated to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Christian Retailing talked with him about the series and its first installment on the Gospel of Luke.
What do retailers need to know about the “Biblical Imagination Series”?
It’s going to cover the four Gospels initially. We’re thinking it’s going to take five to six years to finish it. There will be a book, a record and a teaching video on each one of the Gospels. … The video has already come out, it’s with Day of Discovery. The book and the record are coming out with InterVarsity.
You started with Luke. What drew you to his Gospel?
I had just written a book on slavery, and because of that research, I became convinced that Luke was a slave, so (with) this whole idea of engaging with your imagination, you ask, who is it that wrote the Gospel? What is it about their personality, what about them as an individual would shape the Gospel in certain ways? So I started out just trying to read the book as having been written by a slave. Certainly he was a doctor—we know that for sure because Paul said so. So that’s how I got into it. The book really came to life.
So you’re working on whichever Gospel is firing your imagination at the time?
I couldn’t have started with Matthew because I know the least about Matthew. I am the Wednesday-night Bible teacher at our church, and I am working through Matthew, just getting started. But it’s been interesting with this approach, this engaging-with-the-imagination approach. Matthew is starting to come to life to me, too. Matthew was always my least favorite Gospel.
What is your process of engaging with the Scriptures and how that evolves into music, books and videos?
I was discipled by a wonderful man named William Lane, and (he) is the person that really started this ball rolling. He used to say that we need to engage with Scripture at the level of informed imagination, but he never told us how to do that. He just did it. He discipled me for about 27 years. We were together constantly for six years, then for another 21 years we were together a lot. So I was left to myself to figure out how to do this. Over the years, what I realized is that it’s the imagination that really integrates us in our heart.
These songs are all written by you. Do you ever work with other writers?
I work with other melody people. One was written with Scott Brasher; Scott is a melody writer. Two of them were written with my best friend, Scott Roley. Scott and I, we’ve been best friends for 30 years. We sort of finish each other’s sentences, we have that kind of friendship. ... He’ll start a song and I’ll finish it, or I’ll start a song and he’ll finish it—that’s how we worked. At a point when I would be discouraged or depressed about the whole process, he is about five years older than me, but he brings his youthful enthusiasm into the room and (you) finish things that you wouldn’t have finished otherwise.
What would you say to retailers about this series?
I think the church in general is recognizing that they are hungry for Scripture. I think in the wake of the current sort of worship movement, a lot of people have realized that are really just hungry for the Bible. I hope that retailers will (be excited), maybe since it’s a timely series. Hopefully it will be something that will wash people’s feet.