Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Beatitudes Project encourages “Holy Troublemakers”

Martin Smith (left) and Stu Garrard are pictured
at RAK Studios in London while recording “Holy Troublemakers” for Beatitudes.
Rick Hoganson

The Beatitudes Project (www.thebeatitudesproject.com) is keen to encourage modern day “holy troublemakers” as modeled by Jesus, who declared a blessing on those who are persecuted because of righteousness (Matthew 5:10).

Award winning guitarist, songwriter and author Stu Garrard (Stu G) is joined by Martin Smith on the song “Holy Troublemakers” and Propaganda on “Make A Little Trouble.” Both songs are featured on the 5-star acclaimed, Entertainment Weekly-lauded, multi-artist recording Beatitudes, which is featured on the current cover of CCM Magazine and has been released to digital and physical retailers worldwide from Stugiology Music with management, marketing and distribution through The Fuel Music.

“Holy troublemakers are people who are compelled to live a life worthy of a pushback—a life worthy of persecution,” says Garrard. “They’re the people who don’t just hear the Beatitudes but who actually become the Beatitudes. They collude with this counterintuitive King and his upside-down message.”

Propaganda is pictured in the recording studio while
recording “Make A Little Trouble” for Beatitudes.
“…people like John the Baptist, they were troublemakers. Not in a rebellious sense. They had that thing in their gut which is like, ‘I want change. I want to stand up for justice. I want to stand up for the things that Jesus talks about—the loving each other, laying your life down,” says Smith, whose song with Garrard for Beatitudes marks the first time these two have recorded together since 2007 and since their band, the RIAA Certified Gold-selling, GRAMMY-nominated and Dove Award-winning British band Delirious?, disbanded in 2009.

“So being a holy troublemaker implies a complacency of culture, which is the very [reason] why I have to make action…and being willing to take that action no matter what culture or society feels…to me, that’s a troublemaker,” adds Propaganda.

In the album’s companion book, Words From The Hill (An Invitation to the Unexpected) available now from NavPress, Garrard highlights icons like Mother Teresa, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Clarence Jordan, along with living, modern-day holy troublemakers like Becca Stevens, who is an Episcopal priest and founder of Thistle Farms, the largest social enterprise run by survivors of trafficking, prostitution, abuse, and addiction in the United States. He also shares the story of Scott Roley, who adopted two African American boys and moved into a low-income neighborhood in Franklin called Hard Bargain, Daniel White, a humanitarian photographer and artist liaison for Food for the Hungry, and Shane Claiborne, a The Simple Way activist whose work sometimes rubs up against the law of the land.

In addition to those that are persecuted for being “holy troublemakers,” The Beatitudes Project reveals a wide world of connected stories: real people from all faiths and walks of life who embody mercy, poverty, meekness, the hungry and thirsty, the mourners, the peacemakers and the pure in heart—as seen, heard and experienced through a 21st century lens. Along with the album, book and upcoming documentary film, View From the Hill, the project is the culmination of Garrard’s 15-year excavation of these “blessings at the bottom of life.”

Besides Garrard, Smith and Propaganda, artists featured on the Beatitudes album include Amy Grant (“Morning Light”), Michael W. Smith (“Carry On”) Hillsong UNITED (“The View from Here”), Matt Maher (“Oh Mercy”), John Mark McMillan (“Heaven Is Around Us”), Audrey Assad, All Sons & Daughters, Amanda Cook, The Brilliance, Anthony Skinner (“Oh Blessed”), Terrian Bass and Becky Harding. Collectively, these artists have sold more than 62 million records, won 11 Grammy, 90 Dove Awards and amassed dozens of hit songs and millions of followers on social media.

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