Christian rock band hits the Hill

Jars of Clay is an odd name for a Christian rock band, but the way the band members behave is what you would expect.

Last week, they showed up at an Angels Network presser on the importance of adoption and delivered some profound words about reaching out and helping others. “As artists, it is our role to look at the world and describe it … to write a story that people can get their heads and hearts around,” band member Dan Haseltine said.

Jars of Clay are not some crackpot garage band — they came together 12 years ago at Greenville College, a four-year liberal-arts Christian school in Greenville, Ill., where placing Christ at the center of your life is a must.

The school does not permit “social dancing” (as the website enticingly describes it), but folk dancing is allowed. Pornography and drinking are banned on campus.

The band has performed at D.C.’s 9:30 Club, won Grammys and gone multiplatinum with its 1995 hit “Flood.” The band members live in Nashville, Tenn.

In 2002, to try to make a difference on the HIV/AIDS front, they founded Blood:Water Mission, an organization that provides clean blood and water to parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

Do you think that Christian rock has a place in politics?

 Haseltine: I think that the arts have a place in politics. In a sense, what artists do can come to fruition in the steps of government.

But what about the Christian part?

 Haseltine: I think the Gospel calls on Christians to take care of the sick, the suffering and the poor.

Have you been to the Hill before?

 Charlie Lowell: A couple of times.

Haseltine: High school field trips. Meetings with policymakers regarding HIV and AIDS.

What do you hope to accomplish with your music?

Haseltine: One of the things is to equip people to ask good questions about injustice. Music is for entertainment, to bring levity to the seriousness of life.

Lowell: We feel a certain burden to be responsible for what we communicate. You guys have really interesting haircuts.

Who cuts your hair?

Lowell: We’re shaggy these days.

Haseltine: We give our hair ultimate freedom. Nobody, the wind cuts our hair. Our hair represents the developing world.

Steve Mason: It’s emerging.

Were you guys raised Christian?

Mason: We were raised in the church, but raised with the desire that we would broaden the applications of our faith.

Do you guys model yourselves after any particular rock group?

Mason: We love Toad the Wet Sprocket. I grew up on mom’s Beatles albums.