Roger McGuinn: A New 'Season'
By Tim Branson, Barbara Cornick, and Scott Ross
The 700 Club
Roger McGuinn’s musical roots have always been in folk music. But after co-founding the folk rock band The Byrds in 1964, Roger became part of rock‘n'roll’s “in” crowd.
“Flying out to L.A. and starting with The Byrds; meeting The Beatles and hanging out with The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and Jimmie Hendrix, and going to parties with them…,” he recalls.
He also got “in” to the drug scene and eastern religion.
“Well, I’d been searching for God all my life. I was brought up in the Catholic tradition, and I got away from that in my teen years. I was pretty much agnostic for six or seven years...”
Then in 1977, four years after The Byrds disbanded, Roger found God -- or rather, God found him. He met his wife Camilla just two months later in an acting class. During a class exercise, Roger played Camilla a song called “I Like the Christian Life.”
Camilla asked how long he’d been into Jesus. Roger told her it had been about two months. She scoffed. “Give it a few more,” she said. “You’ll get over it.”
Then only a week later, Camilla had re-dedicated her life to Jesus. Two months after that, they married.
“Separately the Lord showed me through two different ways that I would be marrying Roger,” she says. “I said, ‘That’s fine, Lord, but You tell him.’ And He [did].”
Roger says, “Gene Clark and I were doing a duo, and we were coming back from tour. It was a Washington, D.C., to L.A. flight. An inner voice said, ‘Marry Camilla,’ and I went, ‘Wow, that’s a great idea.’”
That was in 1978, and while many things changed, Roger and Camilla still listen for God’s voice.
Every day they read the Bible together. “One of the scriptures [is] very important; we call [it] the Valium chapter,” she says. “'Be anxious for nothing, but through everything in prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God.'"
Many of those requests include praying for the nations and the war on terror.
“We talk about how we are going to fight terrorism in the world,” Camilla says. “We fight it through prayer. We fight it by pulling down the heavenlies."
“Because it’s a spiritual battle,” Roger adds.
“These people are being controlled by Satan, and he is just as real as [Roger] is and I am,” Camilla continues. “The most important job any Christian can do is to pray.”
An immediate area of prayer that Roger moves in continually is music. He has made great efforts to resolve his spirituality with the world of show biz.
“One [of the steps] is not being unequally yoked and working with The Byrds,” he says. “I can’t do that.”
Roger still performs at secular concerts. He prayed to the Lord about whether to be a traditional Christian artist and felt the call to stay where he was. But it’s more than a job. Roger and Camilla believe they are to be salt and light to those God places in their path.
“We’ve always said, ‘God will take us around the world for one person’ because He is no respecter of persons,” Camilla says. “He loves every single person on this earth so dearly.”
Over the years Roger has drifted back to his folk music roots, as you can hear in his latest album. But his favorite project is an Internet site he started called “The Folkden”.
“So I came with the idea to Camilla,” he says. “‘What do you think about me putting a song up on the Internet every month for people to download free? The old folk songs.’ She said, ‘That’s a great idea.’”
Roger and Camilla believe they are doing what’s in their heart. They travel around the world in what they describe as a “27-year honeymoon”.
“Yeah, we love it,” Camilla says. “Because Roger’s heart’s desire is when he’s on stage. It’s the performance. It’s the concert. It’s telling the stories to the people and singing the songs.”
What happens over the next 20 years, only God knows. As Roger has often pointed out…
“To everything (turn, turn, turn), there is a season (turn, turn, turn)…”
Message Board: Should Christians listen to secular music from the '60s or other eras?
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