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The Crowd, the Critic, and the Muse Paperback – November 22, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael Gungor is a creator who tends to make things out of words, rhythm, and timbre. He leads a multiple--Grammy nominated ''liturgical post-rock'' musical collective called Gungor, and lives in Colorado with his wife and bandmate, Lisa, and their two-year-old road warrior, Amelie. Michael and Lisa are also the founders of Bloom--a community of house churches that seeks to cultivate ''gardens of resurrection'' in Denver with beauty, justice, and sacrament.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Woodsley Press (November 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988242907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0988242906
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #630,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I want to thank Michael Gungor for writing this encouraging book. Believers have long needed a call to the arts, in the vein of Julia Cameron and Steven Pressfield. His journey out of fundamentalism (a word that has truly been stripped of its meaning--in this context, it means a type of faith that makes no room for questions, doubt, or expression beyond what some tradition or authority figure deems appropriate) in some way mirrors my own.

Many reviewers have said things along the line of, "This is an autobiography, not a book on the arts." I would completely disagree. I'm a married musician, and a mother of three kids, so I was thrilled to find another family who is living the creative life together. My husband, like Gungor, is an analytical introvert. Like Lisa Gungor, I'm the one who will all-too-often say "nipple" in church and just laugh my head off while Brother-So-and-So turns beet red. I felt such a joy in seeing that his family struggled with cultural, faith, and financial questions while still being true to their calling and their Creator. Reading their story let me know that I'm not alone, that this path can be walked with kids alongside as "road-warriors," and that creative people can contribute to both the arts and the faith without compromising values with either side.

That being said, there was one aspect of the book that bothered me: Gungor frequently warns believers that the "Us-Vs-Them" mentality foisted upon us by many fundamentalists is damaging and counter-productive. He gave an emotionally gripping example of what happens when that mentality is taken to its logical conclusion--a step-by-step tour of holocaust gas chambers. Gungor is *right.
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Format: Kindle Edition
An excellent work of creative literature and a must read for anyone questioning how their belief system is meant to affect their purpose in life! Filled with hilarious "playful jaunts" and insightful stories from Michael's childhood. An outstanding read for the stoic and the thespian! As Michael puts it,

"Art, along with all work is the ordering of creation toward the intention of the creator."
"Most of human creativity gets ignored for the genius that it is... Take sewer systems for example..."

As a Christian who happens to be a Filmmaker it has been easy for me to slip into a dogmatic perspective of my creativity. But Michael, through humility and vulnerability in sharing his own story removes the vail from the mystery that is our Creator's intent for our existence.

This book was exactly what I needed! It helped me realize where I was producing for the wrong reasons, and set my feet back on solid ground from which now I can truly create! I was extremely blessed through Michael's wisdom and insight. And if he were ever to read this review, I would say, "Thank You". -Matt Short, Executive Producer of Bokeh FX

"Whether or not we create is not up to us. We are human, and creating is what we do. Every interaction, movement, and decision is creativity at work."
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book by the popular Christian musician Michael Gungor is a wonderful read. Gungor is passionate, humorous, and insightful in his approach to the subject of how a person’s faith should affect their art. As a musician, the majority of Gungor’s examples are drawn from the world of music, but the implications are clear for every art form. The book includes several powerful quotes, as well as a very helpful discussion on the frustrations inherent in the “Christian Music Industry.” I would highly recommend this book for artist and every art lover. For my brief review on this book and most of the books out there on Christianity and the arts, see: theologyforreallife.com/artsbooks
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Format: Kindle Edition
I knew that I would relate well to the full text of Michael Gungor's new book, "The Crowd, The Critic, and the Muse: A Book for Creators" when it started with the following sentence,

"Burnout is what happens when you try to avoid being human for too long. It's awful-like the blood has been drained from your body, the breath emptied from your lungs. Still, the world is obstinate in its demands. Produce! Perform! You just ...can't...get air, but they keep telling you to sing, and they expect it to be in tune."

A few months before the release of the book, Michael Gungor posted an opportuniy for people to review the book before the release date. A few years ago, I co-wrote a book called carried. and since then, I have occasionally had opportunities to review other book releases such as Mark Batterson's, Primal, and Blake Mycoskie's, Start something that matters. I submitted a request for Gungor's new book and received an advance copy from the marketing agency. Personally, I have always been inspired and challenged by Michael Gungor's music, live show, dialogue, and provocative blog posts, so I was more then thrilled to dive right into the book.

The digital copy of the book arrived at an interesting season in my life. My band, Willet, just started a 2 month nationwide tour as the supporting act for Family Force 5 & Disciple (strangely enough, "Willet" is the last name of my 2 brothers and I that make up the band...what's up with people using their last name for band names, i.e.; "Gungor"?) We were coming right off of a 2 week Florida tour, which was preceded by a full summer festival tour, a tour in London, and were about to hit the road for another 2 months living out of a van and trailer. Needless to say, "burnout" was a word that I could relate to.
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