By Stan Friedman
CONCORD, CA (January 2, 2015) — Justin McRoberts’ latest book Title Pending: Things I Think About While I’m Creating may sound like some sort of vanity project, but it really is an exhortation for people to live out who God called has called them to be.
“I want to encourage and inspire people in their every day lives to create,” he says. “It doesn’t matter whether you are baking bread, making music, developing spreadsheets, or engaging in a hobby, we’ve all been made to create.”
He also wants people to do it poorly, imitate others, and make sure we spend time with art we don’t like. And be encouraged. It’s all part of discovering and developing the better part of ourselves and connecting with others to form true community.
McRoberts has been creating a lot of exceptional art in different forms. He’s released multiple albums and EPs dating back to 1999 and written two books. He has worked as a YoungLife leader, serves as a Compassion International representative, and is co-founder and current associate pastor of Shelter Covenant Church in Concord.
McRoberts (McBob) turned 41 on Monday, and says he is transitioning from one phase of his life which has focused on discovering his identity to a phase in which he now focuses on leaving a legacy by inspiring others to “add beauty, truth and goodness to your world.”
Title Pending reflects the unfinished nature of lives to which each work contributes. “You don’t know the end,” McRoberts says. “You don’t know how everything is going to turn out. You put your best foot forward. You fulfill your responsibility to participate… and then you submit that to the larger process that God cares for you. There is no knowing how things are going to turn out exactly.”
That was certainly true of his previous book, CMYK: The Process of Life Together. The unusual title references the colors cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black), the four colors used in full-color printing processes. Without each, the process would not be possible.
There are two editions of CMYK – one that is primarily text, and a version that defies the description of “book.” It is filled with artwork from multiple artists, and accompanied by videos with each of them as well as four CDs that correspond with the book sections. The text includes letters to people amid difficult situations, reflections, and essays.
“On CMYK we really didn’t know how things were going to turn,” he says. “It changed and changed and changed. We had a kind of an idea. You run into walls and realize you need to build ladders or take routes you didn’t plan on taking. It built upon itself. We changed and learned as we went along, which was really fun.”
Like all of his work, CMYK is deeply personal and even confessional. It ranges from the self-deprecating and witty account of proposing to his wife to the heart-wrenching reflection about his father’s suicide.
“That’s the kind of art that most interests me,” McRoberts says. “I know that it will create a moment for someone, and I feel responsible about that.”
Wrapping up CMYK was a challenge. “That’s one of the harder parts of the creative process for me,” McRoberts says. “At some point it’s got to be done. You’ve got to call it. Because that’s part of the creative process—making it available for other people.”
As for their reactions, that always remains to be seen.