How does one become a minister, a social worker, and a singer songwriter all at the same time? A look at Michael Vincent can at least begin to answer that question, at least in the case of this one Northern California folk rock songwriter who lives near the ocean and works with Silicon Valley’s most at risk communities, people who are hungry, homeless, and often mentally ill.
In the middle of Northern California’s affluent Silicon Valley you can find a significant number of people who are not living the infamous Silicon Valley Dream. People with little to no resources and fewer options in a place that many people feel is the new promised land. It is here, on these streets and with these people, you will find Michael Vincent – singer/songwriter, progressive minister, social case worker, performing musician – who has been blending the seemingly disparate parts of himself, and the community of which he is a part, for the better part of thirty years.
“My faith informs my politics. That’s not to say that God told me to believe and practice my faith in a particularly absolutist manner, but rather that my personal understanding of my faith and its traditions instructs me to be aware of, and most especially join with those on the margins.”
Michael grew up near Portland, Maine but moved to sunny Southern California two weeks before his 13th birthday. Despite his teen years amid the musical and political upheaval of late 60s Southern California, Michael became a member of his high school Young Republicans, advocating for U.S. involvement in Viet Nam and planning a career path as a corporate lawyer. It was in his late teens, when he was invited to a nearby fundamentalist church, that Michael began a religious path that his parents, nor those in the church he began attending, could or would understand.
“A friend from business law class invited me to a fundamentalist church to hear a talk on evolution. It was really bad science but the church had some really cute girls, so I stuck around. When someone gave me a copy of Good News for Modern Man [a modern language translation of the New Testament] I all of a sudden fell in love with this hippie Jesus vision that seemed to be on the side of those on the margins.”
At about this same time, Michael’s childhood interest in popular music began leading to a point where he felt the desire to do something more than just listen to the music that he loved. He wanted to write and sing and play it too.
– More To Come –