Meet Michael Card

With the sale of over 4 million records and 400,000 books over his twenty (20) year career, Michael Card’s response to God’s creation has clearly impacted many, but with his new project Scribbling in the Sand (CD/DVD/VHS), Michael Card invites his audience into the creative process which has inspired him. A live album featuring some of the best of Michael Card’s classic material, Scribbling in the Sand is accompanied by a companion video of the private concert taped in Nashville in the Fall of 2001, and the video includes exclusive “behind the scenes” b-roll footage of that which motivates and stirs Card in the creative process. As Card explains, “creativity comes out of community,” and this project is an attempt to reveal that kinship-based process. Appearing with Card on Scribbling in the Sand is an all-star cast of musicians whom Card considers personal friends, including Steve Green, Phil Keaggy, saxophonist Kirk Whalum, Sara Groves, John Catchings and Phil Naish, among others.

Strangely enough, for someone so inspired by community, Card initially sought out a career in forestry so that he would not have to interact with people. However, while studying for his master’s degree at Western Kentucky University, Card was encouraged by a professor to write songs, and so was birthed the long and storied career of one of the most thoughtful artists of our day. That same professor, the late Dr. William Lane, became a life-long mentor and friend to Card, inspiring, among others, the classic Card song “Emmanuel.” In fact, says Card, “despite all of the attention which [his song] ‘El Shaddai’ has received lately (including being named by RIAA as one of the 365 Songs of the Century), I think ‘Emmanuel’ is the best song I have ever written.” Appropriately, “El Shaddai” and “Emmanuel” are the first two selections on Scribbling in the Sand.

Scribbling in the Sand also includes two (2) new songs, the title cut and “Underneath the Door,” the latter of which is a personal account derived from Card’s childhood. The song paints a vivid picture of how Card, as a young boy in need of attention, would slide pictures and wiggle his fingers underneath the door of his father’s study, a place where the elder Card, a doctor, would lock himself each night upon his return from a long day of work. “I used to talk to him through the crack below the door,” explains Card, “and a good friend of mine who heard this said ‘I just realized who you are…you are still that little boy,’ and he challenged me to write this song.” Card elaborates that God has used this very painful experience “because He has put in my heart this crazy drive to communicate with people, and this image of speaking to people underneath the door is still my M.O.”

Over the past few years, Card has performed “Underneath the Door” at his concerts, but always said he would never record it. However, the more he told his story, the more he would receive requests from listeners wishing to share the song with friends needing to hear it. Accordingly, he determined that there was probably a legitimate need for the song to be recorded so that others similarly affected could experience healing or at least form the basis for the healing process to begin.

While “Underneath the Door” was recorded live, the title cut is the only studio-recorded song on the new album. “Scribbling in the Sand” is derived from the account of Jesus’ confrontation with the Pharisees and the woman taken in adultery, where Jesus bent over and wrote in the sand while the Pharisees were screaming at Him. “That moment, for me, is a wonderful parable of art. What Jesus did was unexpected. It was creative….and irritating. But it created a space in time where people could hear God and be convicted or not; respond or not. Likewise, art, whether musical, visual, dance or whatever, really just creates this space in time where people can hear God.” Card further explains that too many people are preoccupied with what Jesus wrote, while the Gospel writer John, apparently, understood that what Jesus wrote was not, in this context, as important as the fact that He wrote. “Sometimes it is not the content that is as important as simply the doing of it.”

And it is Michael Card’s “doing of it” (in response to God’s having already done it) which has encouraged and inspired countless others over the past two decades. In addition to his numerous awards and accolades as a songwriter and recording artist, Card was nominated for the C.S. Lewis Children’s Book Award for Sleep Sound in Jesus, and was nominated for a Gold Medallion Book Award in 2001 for A Violent Grace. For those desirous of a more in-depth study of creativity coming out of community, he has written a book entitled Scribbling in the Sand.

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