i completed body piercing saved my life: inside the phenomenon of christian rock by andrew beaujon recently. i thought it was a pretty fair-handed attempt by an agnostic outsider to look into the world of christian music — where it came from, what it is, and what makes it tick. he had interviews with brandon ebel (from tooth and nail records), david bazan (pedro the lion), mark soloman (the crucified and stavesacre), steve taylor, doug van pelt (hm i.e. heaven’s metal), etc. as you can see from my list, he — unlike a lot of people writing about christian music — actually pays a lot of attention to the alternative xian music scene. which is cool for me, since that’s where most of my past experience and interest is. it would have been really easy for him to turn the book into a way of belittling and mocking the scene. and there is certainly plenty about it to dislike or find odd, especially if you are an outsider to it. but fortunately, he manages to rein in some of the knee-jerk reactions a lot of people have and present what i found to be an interesting and worthwhile outsider perspective of the scene. if you’ve ever been into the xian music scene, i recommend this book. and if you haven’t, i think it’s a good introduction to the scene and its oddities.