The Benediction EP is about to release. It’s an album about church and mishandled faith.
There have been millions of people affected negatively by religion and specifically the American church. But I believe that faith doesn’t have to be synonymous with corruption. This album isn’t intended to be about throwing punches. It’s intended to be an earnest rush into finding a positive and beautiful truth so often hidden from view.
I grew up in church. Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday, Saturday. I went Guy’s Night on Thursday. I went to Men’s Group. I went to VBS, I helped teach at VBS. I grew up in the Youth Group, led worship for it, failed miserably to help teach.
I’ve seen people excommunicated for defying the church. I’ve seen them disappear after the church discovered they were gay. Asked to step down for believing differently. I’ve seen the power wielded by priests and pastors. I’ve seen plenty of gods created to justify man’s own needs. I’ve seen Christianity used to tear down and destroy.
We’ve seen that gormless Falwell quote, "A poor person never gave anyone a job. A poor person never gave anybody charity, not of any real volume. It’s just common sense to me.” We’ve all seen the abuse, even if you haven’t found it inside your own church. Mark Driscoll, John Piper, James MacDonald, everyone here: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/investigations/article/Southern-Baptist-sexual-abuse-spreads-as-leaders-13588038.php
I was a part of that too. I was seduced by the lies of a pastor. I took part in shaming others who I viewed as inferior to me. I had knowledge of the unknown and the foolish were still ’searching’. I was too young and insecure to wield enough power to be dangerous, thank god. But I was certainly convinced that my faith was a step stool above the lost. If anyone was affected by this, I’m deeply, impossibly sorry. I was a selfish bigot. I do not believe that now.
When I started asking questions. I found myself up slammed against a wall. It went: it was so good that I was asking questions. It’s good to ask questions, Josiah. Josiah, what a great question, that’s a tough one. That’s an important question to be asking. There was never an answer, though. Then it turned to shame. A true believer would never ask these questions. God doesn’t want someone who won’t listen.
I never experienced something so unbelievably brutal as the women who have been abused by pastors. But, it did take a long time to be comfortable enough with that part of my past to evaluate it. To recognize that all religion is too easily twisted. Into only allowing you to experience the divine in one way. The right way. Stand like this, hold your hands like this. To whisper about that enough to feeling comfortable yelling. I’m far from complete. But here’s why I felt ready to write these songs.
Because I believe that there is a reconciliation to be found. I do believe that I could find full faith in a church that chooses to truly love. I hold on desperately to a hope that there is goodness in faith. That the ugliness and destruction set up by powerful leaders can be erased. I believe that true church and true love exist. I believe we are not there yet and there may be many miles left. But I believe we can get there. I believe that.