I am not a "Christian artist"—maybe more of an artist who happens to be Christian. And I've spent enough of my life in or exploring other faiths and philosophies that there's a part of me that's still a seeker even with a fixed faith. Still, through it all, I've mostly come down on the side that there's a 'teller of the tale.'
Questions or even fleeting thoughts on faith, spirituality and the meaning and mystery of it all pop up in a fair bit of my music. Not always outwardly or obviously so. If you listened to all of it, maybe you'd come up with a cohesive statement or organizing principle. But I shouldn't subject you to that.
Anyway, I'm drawn to stories of doubt or at least skepticism among the faithful (or faith-aspiring). And I enjoy talking to or reading the words of religious leaders who understand, entertain and even welcome those times of questioning. Christian Coon of Chicago's Urban Village Church and author of 'Failing Boldly' recently described it as 'seasons of dryness.' A favorite former pastor of mine, Joy Barrett, put a positive spin on it: 'Awaiting further light.'
I always loved that idea, and for years and would tell myself or others that I was 'awaiting further light' in moments of struggle or confusion. Then one day a couple seasons back, it wormed its way into a tune I was writing. It's a bit of a love song and social commentary with a spiritual element skulking about.
In a recent discussion about all of this, I mentioned the song to David Nellist, a favorite current pastor. ;) He told me his upcoming sermon was titled 'Lead me, O God, to the Light' and asked if he could incorporate the song into his message. 'I'd love that,' I said, 'but listen again to be sure.' After doing so, he said he was still sure. It's an incredible, indescribable honor to close out a sermon with my musical ruminations. I'd tell you the sanctuary lights didn't flicker, but the service was virtual so I can't independently verify. I do know the livestream didn't crash, so I guess it was acceptable to the tale-teller.
I'd be grateful if you gave it a look/listen. David introduces the recording of 'Awaiting Further Light' a little after 1:04 (that's a little after the one hour, four minute mark), but feel free to rewind a bit to hear the whole sermon. He's good!
If you like, here's the tune straight up, no chaser.