I first heard about Christa Black when I was in my full on Hardcore Jonas Fangirl mode. I had to know everything about everyone who had anything to do with them, and as she was the violin player in their band, I started following her on twitter and reading her blog religiously. After reading a few of her posts I discovered I loved her for who she was more than her job description and became a massive fan. She has recently released a book and has been kind enough to answer some questions for Frangi Faith. Read on for what she thinks of God, Love, Sex and touring with The Jonas Brothers.
Frangipani Princess (FP): Have you always been a Christian?
Christa Black (CB):The term ‘Christian’ has such a bad wrap these days. I like to call myself a God-follower who just happens to think Jesus hung the moon. Literally. (:
I was raised in a Christian home, but even though I got baptized as a baby and said a little prayer as a kid, I definitely wasn’t too keen on Jesus Christ—especially in my rebellious teenage years. I think because I had a close-up look at all that’s wrong in churches (my Daddy is a pastor), I equated mean, judgmental Christians with God and wanted nothing to do with either parties.
It wasn’t until I realized that a lot of the so-called ‘Christian behavior’ I was experiencing had very little to do with who God really was and is. It wasn’t until I met the real Him—unconditional love—that I decided to throw my heart in, hook, line, and sinker. (I mean, who doesn’t want to be unconditionally loved all the time??)
FP: Have you had a defining moment in your faith?
CB: I’ve had more than I can count.
The thing with God is, He’s always got more for us—so there are endless amounts of surprises and defining moments.
The first thing that comes to mind was the time I was walking around London with a group of friends, and I stepped off of a staircase and twisted my ankle. Badly. I tried to play it cool by biting my lip to help the excruciating pain, but as the size of my ankle expanded beneath my sock, and purple and black began to show through the skin, I knew I was in trouble. A friend of mine (one of those awesome, crazy Christians who actually believes the Bible) said, “Well, let’s just pray for it right now.”
So sitting in Harrods café, amongst the grandeur of all that is London, we gathered a few curious gazes and chuckled comments as we bowed our heads to pray. I really wasn’t expecting anything to happen (I mean, don’t you just pray as a formality because you’re supposed to?), but suddenly, the shooting pain coursing through my foot disappeared. I looked down in shock to see that the swelling and bruising was gone in an instant, and as crazy as it sounds, a miracle had happened.We spent the rest of the day traipsing all over London—and I skipped a few times with my brand-new ankle.
FP :What is your favourite thing about being a Christian?
CB: My favorite thing about God is that I’m never alone. Ever. If you know me at all, you know I love to talk, and I always have someone to talk to who just happens to be the wisest, most gentle, most compassionate, most patient, most intelligent being in the universe.
Oh, and I like the fact that I’m constantly loved all the time. You get kind of addicted to being loved that completely. Once you get a drink—it’s a bit hard to stop coming back for more. (:
FP: Is there anything you would like non-Christians to know about the Christian faith? Any misconceptions you need to clear up?
CB: Good grief, where do I start? Christians have done such a terrible job of representing the God of the universe—and I’m just as much to blame as anyone else.
I’ve come to realize, we give away what’s inside of us. That’s why, more than anything, I know I need to actually RECEIVE love in order to then love God and love others. I need to RECEIVE forgiveness in order to then forgive God and forgive others.
For years, I was giving away what I had in my heart—and because I had pain, bitterness, negativity, and self-hatred inside—it’s exactly what I gave away. I got to the point where the junk inside of me was destroying me (and devastating those around me), and I needed help. I needed to be loved into wholeness.
I stayed away from God because I believed He was looking down from His throne, ready to prod me with a lightening bolt anytime I messed up. I didn’t understand this very basic truth: That there is NOTHING that could make God love me any more…or any less…than He already does.
Unconditional love means just that—unconditional. It means….you can’t earn it. (:
That kind of love makes me run TO Him—not from Him.
I could go on and on and on here, but I better stop myself.
FP: Music plays a very important role in your life. How did you first become involved with it?
CB: Well, I started singing and playing violin before I was even potty trained, so I can’t remember a time when music wasn’t involved. I did musical theater, choir, orchestra—anything I could.
I moved to Nashville after college after a publishing company had heard some songs that I had written. They wanted to work with me—the deal fell through—but it got me to Nashville and got my foot in the door. After that, I got a gig with Jennifer Knapp, then Michael W. Smith. I started writing songs with people, doing my own music, eventually touring with the Jonas Brothers last year.
It’s a crazy life, but it’s definitely never boring!
FP: What is the highlight of touring with the Jonas Brothers?
CB: The catering! Kidding. Well, sort of. We had a juicer with a big bowl of fruits and veggies and John Taylor and I would juice every day. I love to juice, but hate cleaning up the juicer. It was awesome to have someone cleaning up after you all the time. (haha).
I loved the travel. I loved getting to play all the late-night talk shows. I loved how every day was different and there was always something crazy that would happen during the concerts. It was an adventure, all the way around, with a lot of stories and memories that will never be forgotten. Definitely an honor to play with one of the biggest touring acts in the world.
FP: What was your favourite song to perform with them?
CB: My favorite song was ‘Much Better.’ I’m an 80’s kid and it felt 80’s to me. That was my favorite song to listen to, but my favorite song to perform was probably ‘B B Good.’ I got to play Nick’s flying V guitar, which was super rock-n-roll…and the song had a great 50’s feel. Those boys know how to write a catchy song, that’s for sure!
FP: Did you ever witness or experience any especially crazy fan moments?
CB: Every single day.
I think the Latin fans were the craziest, most passionate, most insane fans (and I say that as a compliment). We’d drive into stadiums and they’d rock our buses back and forth like teeder todders. One time in Argentina, the fans broke the police barricade and surrounded our buses. I think I have a video of it on my youtube page. We laughed so hard our sides hurt.One time in Mexico city, a girl pushed her way into my room yelling, ‘Where are they? Where are they?’ I had to physically push her out of my room while saying, ‘Girl, seriously. Do you think I’m hiding Nick under my bed??’
Yep, there were several insane fan moments.
FP: What is the song you’ve written that means the most to you?
CB: Definitely “God Loves Ugly.” It’s the song that’s closest to my heart and describes my healing more than anything else. It’s also the song that both Jordin Sparks and Natasha Bedingfield wanted to record…and the songs that I get more emails about. There’s something powerful about releasing your raw, unedited story—especially where people can relate to it.
Not sure I’ll ever get tired of singing this song.
FP: What made you want to initially share your story on your blog, and then by writing a book?
CB: I think the best way to hold onto the freedom you’ve been given is to give it away. It’s like that with anything in life. I didn’t just get free for myself. How selfish would that be? I got free to share what I’ve received with anyone and everyone going through the same struggles.
I find, also, that my freedom gets solidified even more as I teach. It’s powerful to hear the truths you live by over and over.
The first show I had with the Jonas Brothers, I looked out at that beautiful crowd of 50,000 screaming girls and thought to myself, “If only I could tell you what I’ve been through—maybe you wouldn’t have to go through it.” I basically decided to take everything I wish someone had told me as a young woman and put it into book form.
I wish someone had told me that a lot of my belief system was defined from hurts and trauma in my life, and that in order to change my behaviors, I had to get healed. I wish someone had told me I didn’t have to be an emotional rollercoaster all the time. I wish someone had told me how to get free from addictions and depression. I wish someone had given me the raw, sometimes painful truth. If they had, I might have avoided years of heartache.
My heart cry is that those who read this book might find life in the truths I’ve found—sometimes the hard way.
FP: How did you and your husband meet?
CB: We met at a coffee shop in Nashville.
He shook my hand, got really awkward, and left in a rush. I found out later he called his mother and his best friend and let them know…he had just met the girl he was going to spend the rest of his life with. (:
FP: On your blog, you devoted a few posts to sex. How do you feel about teen and pre-marital sex?
CB: Sex, sex, sex. The hot topic of the world is sex.
Sex is A LOT of fun. Of course it is! It was created to be a lot of fun! Our culture is obsessed with instant gratification and pleasure. But pleasure and satisfaction are INFINITELY different in their definitions. We think because we’re finding pleasure, we’re being satisfied. But is a girl really satisfied after the guy she just had sex with walks out the door? From my experience, and from the friends and people I’ve talked to…the answer is almost always, ‘No.’
So yesterday, I was flipping channels. Everyone and their dog seems to know what the show Jersey Shore is about but me, so I thought I’d watch an episode (and oh my gosh it was like a train wreck. I was in such shock I couldn’t look away!)The particular episode I stumbled upon was one where the 2 guys in the house had found ‘wife material’ and proceeded to tell the cameras that, ‘these girls weren’t girls to just bring home and bang….they were girls you wanted to bring home to your mom. They were wife material.” There was another girl in the house they referred to as the ‘Staten Island Ferry’ because ‘Everyone gets a ride and it’s free.’ None of the guys respected this girl. They didn’t respect the girls they brought home to sleep with. But when they found a wife material, they didn’t want her to come home and sleep with them—and they definitely didn’t want her going out and doing it with anyone else.
I just find it very interesting that ‘love’ and ‘sex’ seem to be interchanged in our society—and yet, they couldn’t be more opposite things.
Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 8 from my book on the topic:
“Sex and love are not the same thing. They are vastly different in their definitions, yet in our culture, the two seem to get thrown into the same pot and used interchangeably. If I could have, I’m positive I would have given away a whole lot of sex while looking for a whole lot of love in the early years—hoping to feel some sort of connection with anyone who would take me. But if I’d used sex like a worm on a hook to
try and catch love, I would have consistently come up short. I’ve been the strong shoulder of many friends—crying their eyes out in agony over giving themselves to someone who disappeared after they got what they wanted in the bedroom.
Inside the parameters of love, sex is unsurpassable. It brings two people closer together than they ever could have imagined. But it doesn’t create love. It enhances it.
There is such a thing as sex without love. It happens every day all over the world, but for whatever reason, this wasn’t something that was ever of interest to me in my adult years. I didn’t see the worth in getting physically naked with someone before I got emotionally and spiritually naked with that person. In fact, giving someone my body before I had time to figure out if they were worth getting involved with seemed unwise to one already so tattered. I found it hard to believe that my heart could stay unattached while doing something so unbelievably intimate, and I definitely couldn’t see how confusing my emotions prematurely would help at all to decipher whether or not this person was someone I wanted to do life with.
Most people think of sex as something they do with just their bodies. They view it as harmless and innocent—something you do when you want to feel good and have a good time. But the body isn’t the only thing involved when two people are having sex. The heart is always affected in some way, even unconsciously, because the heart and soul are affected by every single thing that we do. Many people think the heart is something that can be turned on and off like a light switch—simply forgotten in this passionate act. Your heart can numb over time, hardening with each meaningless give-away, but I don’t believe it can ever be turned off completely.
I wouldn’t want it to.
Protecting and treasuring your heart and soul doesn’t mean you need to become a nun. It doesn’t mean you need to lock on your iron chastity belt and throw away the key. It just means you need to be aware of the wealth that is inside of you, and that every time you choose to let your heart be captivated by the gaze of another, it’s your job alone to make sure that they are someone worthy of holding your most precious possession. In order for you to flourish, the person you entrust your heart with has to be someone who wants to see it flourish as much as you do, and vise versa.
Take a deep, long look inside of yourself and see the worth, the gold, the potential, and the unique creativity that makes up you.
And then feel empowered to be extremely picky in choosing the person you hand your gold over to.”
FP: When you were younger, you have shared that you suffered from an eating disorder. How has this affected your life? Do you think it has helped you become the person you are today?
CB: Absolutely. I would never be the person I am today if I hadn’t gone through everything I’ve been through. It’s bittersweet, because I wouldn’t change anything, but I don’t want anyone else having to go through the hell I endured. I know my strength comes from my past, but I know people just as strong who haven’t been through the tragedy I’ve experienced. My goal with this book is to
help people avoid the potholes I hit—and find some shortcuts out of the valleys of life.
FP:What are your plans for the future? Can we expect more music, more books, more tours?
The plan is to go on the road this year as much as possible—touring, speaking, singing. It’s exciting finally getting to set my own schedule and do my own tour. After 9 years of touring with other artists, it’ll be fun to do my own tour.
Christa’s book, God Loves Ugly, is available now from http://store.christablack.com and ships worldwide. You can also find her on tumblr at www.tumblr.com/christablack or on twitter at www.twitter.com/itschristablack.
A massive thanks again to Christa for agreeing to this interview, and for sharing her inspirational story with the world.
frangipani princess xoxo