Justin McRoberts has been a vital voice in my spiritual formation for most of my life. Introduced to me through his music, Justin’s songs became the words that my heart was longing to sing as an unwitting adolescent. As I grew older, having the opportunity to see Justin perform live, his voice continued to point out the numerous areas in my life that God wanted to speak into. Justin continues translating God’s voice to the deepest parts of me, through his life, music, and now the forthright pages of CMYK, with attitudes of faith and life that I can only hope take root in my daily walk. I thank God that He has chosen to use Justin to open peoples’ eyes to His presence.
Whimsical, convicting, redemptive, candid, hopeful and humble—even heart retching at times—CMYK shows how life together is not painstaking and perfect, but, in many ways, pain giving and yet remarkably good. Spoken through music, visual art, storytelling, and personal letters, this project has more dimensions to it than the typical book and, when you allow every aspect of it to surround you, it’s unclear if you should laugh or cry, sing or bask in the Truth that is brought forth. The stories shared are far more then anecdotes to inspire us into some form of limited action (though it does call us to a lively action), but with a prophetic voice Justin tells the brutal truth of the human condition and points us to a Creator and a story of the future “that we expect can and will be fulfilled.” CMYK shows us three underlying aspects of life that are rarely discussed (particularly in the church): “the necessary role of relationship in the formation of identity, the essential role of darkness in finding clarity, [and] the basic commonality of seemingly incompatible images.” This is also conveyed through the various mediums used for this project, shining light on the fact that all things belong to God, particularly creativity and Art. Wrapped in grace, this book speaks of the atrocities of the world, not to give them explanation, but to live through them—seeing God in every step of the way.
One of the more endearing qualities of CMYK is the inability to separate the songs and stories from the relationships they stem from, making it “clear that a beautiful and meaningful life is lived and worked together.” Crafting a personal and modern equivalent to Dietrich Bonhoefer’s treasured book Life Together, Justin allows God to speak through the audacious life he has walked with Jesus and others. Whether an account of courting his wife or friends lost along the way, Justin shows us the beauty that is living out of the Truth of Jesus Christ together. CMYK is a must-read for everyone who calls themselves Christian and/or honestly struggles with their spiritual existence, not for instruction or exegesis, but for the rawness and humility of Justin’s own faith journey; because, it’s not just his, but a part of this story we’re all in together.