I don’t know the way, I’m leaving today, return my heart to my chest
Well, here we are. Single #3, Return My Heart to My Chest. This is the last single before the full length drops digitally on August 6th. Vinyl can be preordered right now, and will ship sometime in October. September, if all things go well.
First off, how are you doing? There’s a ton of heavy stuff going on in the world. I know many of you are Christians (or, at least were when you signed up for this email list). Since the last time I wrote, the SBC and PCA conventions were all the rage on Twitter which lead to me writing this very measured and eloquent tweet:
But that’s not all. Christianity Today released the Who Killed Mars Hill podcast - an in depth postmortem of the fall of the church where I was formerly a pastor. This has been fascinating for some, activating for others, and for one friend of mine who went to Mars Hill precisely one time:
On one level, the Mars Hill story is easy: Mark Driscoll was a charismatic personality with an abusive leadership style that harmed the people who worked for him and eventually destroyed the church itself. But that’s not why the story is interesting. Mike Cosper, the host of the podcast, is asking a much deeper, more difficult fundamental question: Why do we keep doing this? What is it in us that needs to put the Mark Driscolls of the world in positions of power?
Much different question.
I’ve been asking myself, why was I ok with Mars Hill for so long? Why was I supportive of Mark? Because honestly, until mid 2014, I was. I grieve when I think about this. I grieve when I think of all the people I know personally who were thrown under the Mars Hill bus, people whose livelihoods were destroyed as a result. I grieve for my part in being part of that culture, supporting it, advancing it. I grieve for the ways that I participated in it, valuing processes and progress more than people. Why did I do that?
Do I still do that? God, I hope not.
For those of us who were in it, this is a reckoning. I genuinely hope it teaches me things about myself so I don’t repeat those mistakes.
Simultaneously, this is a reckoning for evangelicalism. The SBC, PCA, ACNA, and megachurches across the land are all dealing with varying issues of abuse, scandals, cover ups, and a myriad of things that are so disgusting, so obviously the opposite of Christianity, and so tragically cyclical, that there’s no way to ignore it anymore. Try, though they may. One might say the church has lost it’s soul. And if the church has lost it’s soul, what’s an earnest follower of Christ to do but search for something else?
It’s a story of leaving, setting out to find. Having a vision that there must be something better somewhere. Shedding certainty for the risk of leaving everything behind to go find it. There is both devastation and hope in this song.
My experience of my own faith crisis is that devastation and hope are cyclical. There have been a few times where I thought I had hit rock bottom only to realize months later that the bottom was even lower. And each one followed by moments of quiet, abiding hope. Shedding the old, allowing the new to touch the air, a reminder why life is great. And then the cycle repeats.
It’s painful, but it feels like progress. For me, if the Mars Hill years were heady, doctrinally driven, and required the setting aside of parts of myself in order to survive, these years are about reconnecting with the parts of myself that I thought had died, in some ways rediscovering my soul, returning my heart to my chest, being able to change and grow. Literally, songwriting is part of it. I’m learning to not fight the change, to be curious about the movement and momentum, to embrace it, to be involved in the process. It’s not linear. There are moments of beauty and surprise. There are moments of devastation and wondering how deep the old roots go. And I truly have no idea, but these days I’m willing to find out.
I started this by asking how you’re doing? If you’re still in the church, how do you deal with it? If you’re not in the church, and especially if you’re not a Christian or a person of faith, I’m curious how this stuff comes across to you?
Album release shows (plural!) are in the works. Right now looking at one in Seattle and one up north with some old friends and am SO looking forward to the party these are going to be! Also, I’m open to turning it into an album release tour perhaps supporting other bands, or house/living room shows, etc… Particularly interested San Diego, LA, San Francisco, Reno, and Portland. Really, I’m open to whatever as long as it’s fun! Hit me up if you have ideas.
Talk to you on August 6th!