In our finale installment of our four part interview series with Kevin Max, the singer addresses his plans for the future, the impact of Christian music on culture, and prominent figures in faith being placed on a "pedestal of perfection."
As stated in a previous part of this interview, Max has always been an artist who is not afraid to let art and faith intertwine within his music. Often times the results of such pairings create fascinating and intricate compositions of thought provoking material that pulls on the heart strings of the conscience.
"I think that music is a universal language. I think that people are usually opened up and changed by music quicker than any other language and I've seen first hand that people's lives have been changed through DC Talk music, through my music, through Audio Adrenaline," Max said, "I know that it's a scientific spiritual fact. I feel like that's why God created it, to kind of communicate with people on a different level."
He continued, "I do think music is a gift, it's pretty obvious in the scriptures that it's been a gift since the beginning of time. It seems the angelic race used it, God has used it. It's obviously something quite special, magical, supernatural."
The topic then changed to the topic of Christian celebrity, and how people have such a high expectation from people who evangelize. Max was asked if it was difficult to manage his steps because people are always watching.
"Again, I don't worry too much about what people think, but what God thinks of me. He knows my heart and He alone knows my intentions," Max said. "But I do believe that as someone on a platform you have to be responsible, and have a balance of moderation in trying not to offend. Evangelism is worked out in many different ways, my pro-activeness might be different then someone else's. I believe my gifts are in the one on one encounters and relationships, that is when I feel I can garner the position to open up about my faith and share it. I also believe by being a 'celebrity' or person of renown, you have to be ready to be a target. A lot of people think they know me, and I believe I am greatly misunderstood, but I can't really do much about that other than to live my life the best I know how."
Often times people look up to these "evangelists," "pastors," "singers," etc, as heroes. These are the authorities that help fellow Christians walk and faith grow. When they fail, it is often crushing, and we are not so quick to forgive. It is more often looked at as they were a phony or fake with no validation of the good they have done.
"I think people put way too much stock in other people. The truth is that we are all imperfect and capable of grotesque sins," explained Max. "That is the power of Jesus...He was the only one to achieve perfection, so it is our duty to point all toward Him. He is the only example we can follow to the letter. I do believe a large number of Christians are quite judgmental, but I think it is mainly due to the fact that they only have a limited picture of the world at large. I believe in travel and understanding other cultures...the more we learn about others, the more we learn about ourselves. We are all fallible and broken and none of us has the right to judge another person."
Max then admitted he has struggles just like everyone. Although his are not more "unique" than anyone else's, he is not afraid to talk about it. "The difference with me is that I don't hide much" he said.
A big topic about today's church is transparency and the reluctance to sometimes dig deeper than surface problems. On blogs and podcasts such as Bad Christian [read about Kevin Max's visit to them here, the hosts often highlight "flawed Christians" as far as differing viewpoints, open dialogues on sin, and exposing what really goes on behind the closed doors of every day believers.
"What you see is what you get with me, my wife always says this to everyone we meet. I am an extremely honest person, but that's not to say I don't have my secrets as well, it's just that I am not scared of them," the singer said. "Too many Christians in the spotlight, whether it be music, or pastoral service or authors and speakers, feel that they have to put on a 'brave face' to the world. It is in all actuality the face of 'The Imposter.'"
He continued, "I have learned much from Brennan Manning in my time with him, and one of the things that I go back to in constant, is the vastness of God's grace. If you don't believe that God loves you in your imperfections, and loves you beyond reason, than you will never love yourself. That said, many people live with huge amounts of guilt and instead of being honest, stifle and deny who they really are for a Imposter alternative."
Max then shared one of his favorite quotes by Manning on the subject: "In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others."
The Broken Temples singer said, "I continue to see in my own field of music, within the Christian culture, so many young musicians trying to be something they are not. They try to live up to a standard that has been outlined by the church or their fellow Christian supporters. Try living up to the standard of living that God wants for your life... and understand that His grace is sufficient."
The interview switched tones to holiday vibes, and shifted focus to Max's New Year's resolutions and what the future holds for 2015.
"Just being better and loving more. It's kind of like putting other people in front of myself. It's always a struggle and as an artist the perpetual struggle because we are taught it's all about ourselves. It's the only way to survive, and to succeed is to constantly talk about ourselves," he admitted.
Instead of that "me first" attitude, the singer is looking to put others first and be more of a servant. "I'm like, I think we should do more for other people, something that I love doing is being able to reach out and help people as much as possible. That would probably be the resolution, to love people more and to go out of my comfort zones more. To be a better dad, to be a better husband, to be a better artist."
As far as what is next, Max said he is working on a couple tours for next year. He said as an independent artist he would play shows here and there, but never a full tour. When he joined Audio Adrenaline, touring became part of his repertoire again. "I start in March on a 25 city tour so I'll be out there quite a bit. That's definitely a goal," he said.
Max even revealed that he has other albums in the works. With Broken Temples not even released yet, fans of K-Max can rest assured that 2015 will be a good year for them.
"I'm putting out another musical project toward the middle of next year," he revealed, "The next two albums I put out are completely different. I've got a new wave synth cover's EP with two original songs and a standard's album completely orchestrated coming out. Very different from Broken Temples, but it's kinda what I do. Never do the same thing."
He will also be putting out an actual hard copy of his book 'Fiefdom of Angels'. "We are getting ready to offload physical copies of my book. There are big updates to KevinMax.com. The website died when I went on the road with Audio Adrenaline. People can come and get product at my website."
Lastly he just wants to enjoy, "Seeing my kids grow up."
Special thanks to Kevin Max on this four part series and for helping BREATHEcast out by sharing the articles. K-Max thanks for your transparency, honesty, and willingness to dig deeper into a conversation than just what you are promoting.
Read part one of the interview where he speaks on his departure from Audio A here. Read part two where he talks about the meaning behind Broken Temples here. Read about Max being Christian music's John Lennon and DC Talk being similar to the Beatles as far as impact in their market here.
Be sure to check out Kevin Max's PledgeMusic campaign for Broken Temples. Currently 62% of the hidden goal has been raised. There are a number of awesome perks for those planning to pledge, such as signed merch, a private movie and golf cart ride with Max, and even a private house show. For more information, click here.
Broken Temples can be seen here.