Oct 31, 2009

Between Wyomings: My God and an iPod On the Open Road

By Ken Mansfield
Thomas Nelson Publishers
It took me a long time to get through Between Wyomings, I may have even slept through parts, it's all kind of fuzzy.
I was so excited when I read the title. It implied something that I've always wanted to do:
  • Travel
  • Meet People
  • Listen to Music
  • Write a Book About It
What a disappointment to find Mansfield's narrative a bit tattle-taleish, a bit biased, a bit braggadocio, and, thankfully, a bit about God's redeeming love. I wish I could highlight the redemptive story and blackout the yawn-inducing, name-dropping stories.
If you love rock and roll history (ahem Tom), you'll love this book (he did). If you love gory, dark stories about who was the baddest in the '60's music industry, you'll love this book. If you're inspired by how a really wild person could be pursued, redeemed and loved by God, you'll see the good in this book. {sigh} It's just such a loud, dark, long read to expose such a good, loving life-changing, worth-giving God.
Mile Marker #9 (instead of sections, he has mile markers) was my favorite, like a breath of fresh air. That's the book I was imagining. And the chapter called "Precious Memories" brought it all together.
Mansfield produced the Gaither Vocal Band's 1991 "Homecoming," featuring legendary Christian artists whose music I grew up on, which led to the now famous Homecoming tours and videos and he discusses this part of his life in this chapter. In these artists, Mansfield got to see an alternative to the famous-musician lifestyle he'd been exposed to in his career. In these artists, he witnessed
"a tender mixture of softened hearts and gentle grace" and he
concluded, "it was the simplicity in the Word of their loving heavenly
Father that melded everything into sweetness and serenity....... How
delicious it is when I know in my heart God is all I truly need. It is
like a spiritual house cleaning where there is a wonderful sense of
accomplishment in knowing a lifetime of junk and clutter is cleared away.
It feels like a cool breeze on a warm day when I realize the empty chamber
inside can now become filled completely with His love and His promises.
Worldly weights fall away leaving in their place all that really counts -- His
mercy and grace and unfailing love."

You have to decide if it's your kind of book. Tom wished he could write the review for me, he knew his would be more favorable. I love the redemption story. I love his conclusion of Life. I love the last few chapters. But the stuff it took to get to that point? Ackk. I shudder.

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