Probably it isn’t often that the leader of a famous rock group tunes in to hear a sermon by a Christian Reformed pastor, but that’s what happened this summer.
Supertramp’s Roger Hogson downloads John Van Sloten’s sermon.
More than a year ago, John Van Sloten, pastor of New Hope CRC in Calgary, Alberta, preached a sermon entitled “How God Used Supertramp to Save my Life!”
Supertramp is a rock band that was popular in the 70s and 80s, led by and known for the distinctive voice of Roger Hodgson until he parted company with the group in 1983.
CBC Radio’s Russell Bowers, a friend of Van Sloten’s, was recently doing research for an interview with Roger Hodgson when he came across the Supertramp sermon online and told Hodgson about it backstage. The sermon, it turns out, has been viewed and listened to 16,000 times since it was originally preached.
Bowers wrote to Van Sloten: “When I talked to Hodgson backstage last night, I told him about your sermon and your work. He seemed quite gratified about it.”
Van Sloten, author of The Day Metallica Came to Church: Searching for the Everywhere God in Everything, published by Faith Alive, has preached sermons on the music of artists such as U2, Coldplay, Bob Dylan, Amy Winehouse, and Neil Young, to name a few. As he says in the preface of his book, “I believe they belong to God. And when things belong to God, they matter and they have something to say.”
Regarding the number of times his sermon on Supertramp had been listened to, he said, “I didn’t know the stats until I got the photo, but I wasn’t too surprised. For some reason, preaching God’s truth in the creational/cultural text catches people’s attention. Those people include the media, online church attendees and visitors, and sometimes those we preach on.”
When asked if he knew anything about the intentionality of Supertramp’s message, Van Sloten replied, “No. But looking back I hear all kinds of common grace truth there. Most of the time I don’t go looking for intentionality. I believe God’s Spirit supersedes intention at will, whenever and however it wants. Often the best stuff comes unintentionally in my experience.”
About the attention his sermons garner (last year there were over 500,000 downloads), Van Sloten said, “I think it is God’s way of saying, ‘keep at it.’ It feels like an imprimatur.”
How Supertramp Saved My Life! by John Van Sloten