March 25, 2014


Backstage Pass

Backstage Pass: The Naomi Striemer Story, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Nampa, Idaho, 2013, 192 pages, US$16.99. Reviewed by Frank A. Campbell, president of ARISE!

It was Thursday when Naomi Striemer got off a plane in New York and went directly to “Daddy’s House,” as in Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs. Instead of the expected discussions about a music contract, she was treated to a night of dining and partying that she could neither appreciate nor enjoy.

Then came Friday. Striemer spent the day struggling with the question of whether an Adventist’s dream of serving God as a solo artist in the mainstream entertainment industry could find fulfillment in the recording of hip-hop music in an atmosphere in which the aroma came not from roses but from marijuana.30 1 7 8

For a long time Striemer thought that God would be happy for her, and that He would never leave her nor forsake her. Instead, her career, her lifelong dreams, kept taking her to the mountaintop, then collapsing into what seemed a pile of dust.

The sun was about to set. The hoped-for discussions about the project had not happened. Another round of dining and partying was about to begin. Could Striemer bring herself to welcome the Sabbath with a party instead of a prayer?

Her heart said no, but, when she was invited, her lips said yes. The struggle was intense.

The great controversy had played itself out in many ways in the life of Naomi Striemer. Now it raged like an uncontrollable prairie fire in the soul of this 25-year-old Canadian recording artist. She felt trapped between desire and despair, between the ambition to do well and the aspiration to do good.

At that moment God sent an angel. He really did! Striemer was about to discover in the most remarkable way that God had heard her prayers.

Striemer’s angel was a chauffeur on standby for the recording studio. For Naomi, that conversation with a taxi driver was like a moment frozen in a special portion of a destiny that had begun in rural Nova Scotia. In that Canadian province, for the first decade of her life, she had milked goats and had not known what a radio looked or sounded like. Eventually that destiny led to a million-dollar contract with Sony Records.

I could tell you much more about Backstage Pass. I could tell you about how God gave Striemer the strength to walk away from it all. I could tell you how He then answered her prayers for the love of her life in a way that was romantic in its simplicity.

Backstage Pass is your book. It’s your story, even if Randy Jackson never became your personal friend and Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, Carlos Santana, Britney Spears, and Justin Timberlake were never numbered among your acquaintances.

Backstage Pass is a story about the great battle that rages in our lives, about the victory and the love that is ours when we pour out our hearts in prayer.

Read Backstage Pass. When you’re done, read The Great Controversy again. In both cases, you’ll be glad you did.