And, actually, it is amazing. It’s amazing that [host Lee C. Camp] has integrated music, humor and scholarship into something so seamlessly entertaining.
Tokens is special because it embraces and dances with difficult and divisive issues, weaving them into the tapestry of a show so full of warmth and heart, that the audience is ready and willing to engage with the something new, something that might make them uncomfortable otherwise. . . . At its core, Tokens is not mere entertainment, it is not mere nostalgia, or Americana, it is a prophetic re-imagining of what life in this world looks like; a life with music and laughter and dancing and, yes, even banjos.
. . . our best date night ever!
You really have to “be there” to believe that a conversation with Yale theologian Miroslov Volf totally works on the same program with a hilarious skit by “Brother Preacher” Greg Lee, rocking gospel music by Mike Farris, and soulful singing from Odessa Settles.
From the soft a capella of “In the Sweet By and By” to the boisterous celebration of “O Happy Day!” with musical, cerebral, and comedic excursions along the way, “[Tokens:] Tales of Reconciliation” was an incredible ride. Once again, Tokens proved to be a tour de force of Christian entertainment, more Christian and more entertaining than just about anything. And some folks didn’t know what hit them.
Tokens transcends mere entertainment, ascending instead to the level of education, even enlightenment. . . . I left well-nourished, ready for the work that I had been called to do.
What I experienced . . . was contextually prophetic, musically energizing, mockingly delightful, profoundly Christian.
. . . a great evening all the way ‘round. I’ve lost track of the number of people who have praised, celebrated, and marveled at the Tokens show . . .
. . . a professor named Lee Camp, a very good friend, a Will Campbell/Garrison Keillor/Atticus Finch/Ken Heffner type. He’s been doing an Opry-like thing called Tokens, good/rich/invigorating/soul-restoring. It’s music and conversation and all manner of goodness. I attended an evening and it occurred to me toward the end that I’d been saved. ‘Saved from what?’ a friend asked. ‘From the myth of critical detachment,’ I replied. I could ramble on.
Humor plays a large part in the show’s sideways approach to theology and social issues. If he can get people to laugh, Camp says, they are more willing to listen. Even when the show takes on issues like justice, materialism, and the environment. ‘We try to use the humor and music to sneak up on people, and get them to look at substantive issues,’ said Camp. ‘You get a lot further by approaching things at an angle. If you approach things head on, then people get entrenched in what they think they already know.’
While TOKENS features the work of entertainers of the highest caliber, there is something much deeper than entertainment going on here. . . . TOKENS is one of today’s finest exemplars of exploration around the intersections of theology and the performing arts . . .
Lee Camp has it within him to organize a kind of Prairie Home Companion, but it’s southern and it’s theological and it’s filled with . . . some incredible music and skits and . . . this fellow called ‘Brother Preacher’ who was perhaps the funniest imitator of odd preaching I’ve ever seen. It was knee-slappin’ fun.
. . . if A Prairie Home Companion ever moved South and got religion—or at least went to divinity school—it might look a lot like TOKENS. While Camp and his cast deal with theology, they are after something bigger—glimpses of God’s action in the world . . . tokens of grace. . . . Camp knows the power of a pregnant pause, and how to switch from a song about environmental degradation to a radio skit without missing a beat. And the cast never seems to take itself too seriously.
. . . a virtuoso ensemble known as the Most Outstanding Horeb Mountain Boys: Jeff Taylor, Chris Brown, Aubrey Haynie, Byron House and Pete Huttlinger.
Tokens Show is smart, satirical, funny and instructive without being a pain in the butt. . . . Tokens Show (offers) a way to engage our faith and enter into conversation with folk who do not believe as we believe without fear and without shame. This is a very powerful and transformative experience.
To some, Christian entertainment is an oxymoron. To others it’s synonymous with bad entertainment, and some (sometimes the same people) see the idea as bad Christianity. Successful (lucrative) Christian entertainment is not the same as good, ethical, life-giving Christian entertainment. Too much Christian entertainment is neither Christian nor entertaining. And then there’s TOKENS. . . . a woven tapestry of music, comedy, commentary, and interview—all designed both to entertain and provoke Christian thinking. TOKENS . . . show(s) that Christian entertainment can be authentic, enjoyable, and provocative. This kind of entertainment is re-Creation in the true sense of the word.
Lee Camp discusses Tokens with Debbie Alan.
Tokens blends part of a tested formula with some unique elements . . . Judging from the wildly enthusiastic audience reaction, I predict this “crazy idea” is gonna fly, folks.
… in addition to a great band, the show featured taped interviews with authors such as Brian McLaren, plus skits that were–I know this is hard to believe–actually funny. The show was a delight.
As also last time, the music was spectacular … For only a second show, “Tokens” has got it going on like a program that has been around for a while.
Buddy Greene’s performance of “Rise from the Ruins” in our premiere episode was given the title Song of the Day.
Whatever the turn, Camp’s instincts are theological. Tokens refers to glimpses of God’s activity in the contemporary world. Embodied here is the idea that divine wonder and pathos and human solidarity come through in music and storytelling, not just doctrinal argument.
“I had been thinking a lot about the overlap of music and theology, the way a lot of good music raises perennial theological questions, but in a more succinct way than we theologians often do,” said Camp with a chuckle.
Tonight’s show on The Politics of Jesus was planned long before McCain and Obama received their nominations, and focused on issues instead of candidates.
Lee Camp continues to bring a great mix of brilliant thinker and multi-talented entertainer to his hosting duties and vision for Tokens.