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Hear No Evil: My Story of Innocence, Music, and the Holy Ghost Paperback – February 16, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After a childhood roped off from popular culture, Turner (The Christian Culture Survival Guide) chased dreams of becoming a Christian singer only to find the safe genre more plastic than relevant. In this memoir, Turner strings together his journey from starstruck child to Christian music editor, with tales of music's influence on his Independent Fundamental Baptist upbringing. At times, the book takes aim at the denomination, lamenting the anxiety its moral absolutes produce: few things existed that were more frightful than a syncopated beat. At other points, the book becomes a critique of unoriginal Christian music. Turner calls for honesty from all Christians, begging artists to tap into guarded imaginations and urging churches to be more forgiving when singers step outside the box. Despite his misgivings, Turner maintains a playful tone, like a teenager rolling his eyes at an embarrassing parent. Still hopeful, he seeks not to discount Christian music and its listeners but to fine-tune his Christian church and shake up the genre that remains a consistent thread of grace in his life. (Feb.)
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Review

“Like a good Amy Grant song, Hear No Evil will worm its way into your brain, lodge itself there, and refuse to leave.  Every page is funny, honest, and full of the best kind of faith.  Matthew Paul Turner isn't just a great Christian writer.  He's a great writer, period.” 
— Kevin Roose, author of The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University

“The most glorious part about Hear No Evil is Matthew Paul Turner’s humor and authenticity.  Brilliantly affective, this collection of stories about music--its triumphs, its dysfunction, and its value in people’s lives--will conjure up memories about your own musical journey and experiences. Matthew's funny and sometimes irreverent tone reveals not only his social relevance but also his sincerity.”
—    Josh Shipp, host of Jump Shipp, author of The Teen’s Guide to World Domination, MTV personality

“There’s an adage: ‘Never make fun of a group of which you are not a member.’ Matthew Paul Turner grew up in the fundamentalist bubble and worked in the Christian Contemporary Music scene. And make fun of them he does ­ however, not with outsider venom but with insider empathy. Hear No Evil is hilarious, cringe-worthy, and all too true. And Turner's faith survived. Halleluiah. That’s what humor can do.”
—    Susan E. Isaacs, actress, comedienne,  and author of Angry Conversations with God

Hear No Evil is a compelling story that will send you on a journey where you’re laughing one second and doing a painfully honest heart check the next. When you finish this book you’ll have a new understanding that God works in very unique and surprising ways as He draws us closer to Him.”
— Pete Wilson, pastor of Cross Point Church, author of Plan B

“Anyone who grew up in the evangelical bubble will relive their own adolescence through Turner’s witty, devastatingly forthright account of his own. Couching his unsparing observation in self-effacing mirth, he drags the superstition and cultural backwardness of the good ole Christian subculture right out into the open. Even if you’ve had bad experiences with exorcisms in the past, Hear No Evil is the last one you’ll ever need.”
—    David Sessions, founding editor of Patrol magazine

 “In Hear No Evil, Matthew Paul Turner writes ‘The odd thing about Christians pursuing fame is that they do it while pretending not to be interested in fame’. I would buy this book even if this was the only sentence printed inside. It’s that valuable.”
—    Jonathan Acuff , creator of StuffChristiansLike.net and author of the book Stuff Christians Like
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook; 1 edition (February 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140007472X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400074723
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,403,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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I'm only halfway through and.......are we the same person?
Your life is pretty much an exact mirror of mine, but I'm female.

Dripping with unexaggerated sarcasm, this book shines a light on the negative impact religious indoctrination and sheltering can have on a child. This is not fiction.

I'm now an agnostic anti-theist.
Why? It's obvious.
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Matthew Paul Turner has released books that do revolutionize a way that many people have perceived Christianity, and others who have felt a bit of an outcast from the world because they've not fallen into the American idea of it. While there are some things I agree with him on, and other things I don't, this book can at least get me on the same page with him. I grew up through some of my middle school years, and high school years with a passion for the Christian music scene, but somewhere in college began listening to music outside of that label. I'm glad that I did as well before reading this book because many parts of this book is a dark look of the world of Christian music.

Summary: Turner grew up in a household where anything that involved percussion or electric instruments was banned. Over time though as he grew up, and got out he discovered a lot more music, and the impacts it can all have on people. Turner shares his experience with the Christian music industry while working at CCM, his years at a Christian music oriented college in Tennessee, and his current stance with music and worship.

Characters: Matthew Paul Turner usually comes off pretty likable in his book to me. He's a guy who has experienced much the same things I did growing up in a Christian home, but thankfully most are more nostalgic than something has scarred me. It seems that Turner still gets along with his parents despite the fact their views shifted apart. Turner really is the main person in the novel, with other people that he encountered in life that impacted his view on music.
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Format: Paperback
In his new book "Hear No Evil," Matthew Paul Turner establishes some of his current thoughts towards the blending of religiosity and music, and then proceeds to illustrate the pitfalls through stories of his childhood through his early writing career. Though the world of music was an easy theme for Turner to focus on, Hear No Evil also covers other aspects of art and expression such as movies, television, fashion, performing, and Calvinism.

Like his book, "Churched," Turner's writing is full of hilarious anecdotes and very clever observations, while at the same time the stories are a sober reminder that there is no fun in fundamentalism, whatever its particular brand. As the chapters proceed and the little boy grows up he must figure out what to do with all the religion he has soaked up over the years. He journeys through college, living in Nashville, booking music for a Christian coffee shop/concert house, and having a job as a writer and editor for CCM (Christian Contemporary Music) Magazine.

While his inside view of "the business" provides insights to the Christian music scene (especially thoughtful are his interactions with Amy Grant, a musician he calls "James" who left the industry, and a church worship leader named Kyle) Matthew's writings aren't an expose on others as much as they are a tell-all book about himself. As he says, "Honesty can sometimes sound judgmental to those who don't fully understand the topic of conversation." And that is what this, an honest conversation from a man who is walking out his faith in sincerity, even when it means being uncomfortably raw, in hopes that tomorrow's songs will be sung in freedom.

I highly recommend this book.
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I was hooked at his description meeting "Adam" (great description about his CCM-dar, p. 5, "He's right; he doesn't dress like the ordinary Christian, but he does dress like the ordinary Christian rocker.") which succinctly reminds me dealing with my own sense of dreaded MLM-dar and trying to avoid/deflect/shut down too-"friendly" snoopy conversation$.

I came to the book via goofballing around those "rock music is the devil's music" juvenile advice books by Bob Larson, Dan/Steve Peters record burnings, satanic backmasking paranoid conspiracies that were so popular in the late '70s and '80s. I was only vaguely aware that Jeff Godwin (wow) thought Amy Grant was eeevil, but the only other volume that hinted there was an issue with more-vanilla-than-Pat-Boone pop, CCM, was a fence-straddling Dan/Steve Peters-Cher Merrill WHAT ABOUT CHRISTIAN ROCK? book, suggesting CCM was a Christian music niche for their own youth market. But then, I stumbled onto the old mid-'50s "the beat!" devil-rock arguments full of codewords that keep being recycled (all the way back to syncopated ragtime/jass/jazz with flappers from World War I), like those THE HORROR OF HAMMER sequels exhuming Christopher Lee's corpse for another full-fanged scare. Matthews book is a nice look at that culture still in play--really, Sandi Patti, Sheila Walsh and Amy Grant are eeevil? Buying and throwing out/your mother throwing out Grant's vanilla-pop HEARTS IN MOTION crossover album as rock-offensive (???) several times over: that's harsh.

The downer part of the book for me, as a record junkie, is the short-shrift of information about Matthew's stint at CCM.
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