93 CHIWETEL EJIOFOR | CHVRCHES | COIN | IRA GLASS CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD | PASSION | FR ANKIE COSMOS BETH MOORE | RICH WILKERSON JR. | CARL LENTZ F A I T H , C U LT U R E & I N T E N T I O N A L L I V I N G
Aubrey Plaza One of TV’s most unique personalities has found herself at the center of culture’s mental health moment.
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MAY-JUNE 2018 // ISSUE 93
May-June 2018, Issue 93 The official publication of the Pawnee City Council
Publisher & CEO | CAMERON STRANG Brand Director | JESSE CAREY Managing Editor | ANDRE HENRY Contributing Editor | TYLER HUCKABEE
Production Editor | KATHY PIERRE Senior Writer | TYLER DASWICK Editorial Coordinator | LESLEY CREWS
Contributing Writers: Joseph Riggs Creative Director | JOHN DAVID HARRIS Director of Web Development | DANIEL MARIN
She’s one of the most memorable comedic actors in Hollywood, but Plaza has ambitions beyond the deadpan roles.
Director of Visual Media | JOHN BUTLER Audio Producer | CHANDLER STRANG Contributing Photographers: Joe Gonzales, Danny Clinch, Micaiah Carter, Pamela Littky, ABC/Craig Sjodin, Jabari Jacobs, Calligrafist Photography, Brian Bowen Smith/
4 0 // CHARL AMAGNE THA GOD
AUGUST, Die Yung, Donslens, Maclay Heriot
One of hip-hop’s most important radio hosts is on a higher wavelength.
Director of Business Development | AME LYNN FUHLBRUCK Account Manager | HEATHER VOORHEES Account Manager | FELICHIA WRIGHT
4 4 // THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC
Marketing Director | CALVIN CEARLEY
Drug overdose killed more Americans under 50 than anything else last year.
Circulation and Traffic Manager | CAROLINE COLE Brand Experience Coordinator | MORGAN HICKEY Studio Manager | MARK JACKSON
5 0 // FR ANKIE COSMOS
The buzz artist is impossible to classify, but she’s learned to embrace elusiveness.
Operations Manager | JESSICA COLLINS Project Manager | BRIDGET DOMBKOSKI Finance Director | MICHAEL BOWLES
5 2 // UNDERSTANDING THE ENNEAGRAM What’s behind this ancient Christian mystic personality assessment?
5 8 // COIN Don’t dismiss this pop-rock act as kid stuff. These guys can put on a show.
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Chiwetel Ejiofor p . 76
Why traveling could be an essential part of understanding the Lord.
The actor stars in Ira Glass’ Netflix film Come Sunday, about the true story of Tulsa pastor Carlton Pearson’s denial of hell and dismissal from the Church as a heretic.
7 0 // PASSION
8 2 // DIVIDED WE S TAND
6 6 // TRAVEL: THE LOST PILGRIMAGE
The influential worship group took some real risks with their new project.
Some Christian leaders are finally starting to speak out, and they’re risking it all.
7 2 // HOW TO REVIVE YOUR CAREER
8 6 // RICH WILKERSON
In a rut? Our panel of experts will help you know if it’s time for a change.
Why he wants you to break out of your spiritual bubble.
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1 6 // FIRS T WORD
8 8 // RELE VANT SELECT S Our favorite new artists, and the books,
1 8 // CURRENT Snoop Dogg, drought in Somaliland, brand-new dating data, the best cities for millennials,
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The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez explores whether
Facebook and much more.
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IGNOR ANCE IS BLISS—EXCEPT IN SELF-AWARENESS. Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile share their Enneagram wisdom and help you grow in knowledge of yourself, compassion for others, and love for God. Witty and filled with stories, this unique approach gives you a peek inside each of the nine Enneagram types, taking you further into who you really are and leading you into spiritual discovery.
“I’m so thrilled that this book exists. The Enneagram has absolutely changed my understanding of how to love the people in my life, deepened the quality of my marriage, and given me a vision for the person God designed me to be. This book makes the Enneagram easy to understand, with helpful stories, humor, warmth, and clear language. I’ll need a case, at least.” — S H A U N A N I E Q U I S T , author of Present Over Perfect
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PARTING WORDS TO THE CHURCH ON RACE “John Perkins reminds us of a hope far below the skin. Under our skindeep differences lies a weighty commonality: we are one blood.” jon foreman
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FIRST WORD a letter from the publisher
has a plan and purpose for each of us. That’s why Christians should be holistically pro-life. We should be
What Will We Stand For? In an era of unprecedented political and cultural tension, how will this generation respond?
THE DAYS OF BEING ABLE TO
known as the leading advocates for
SAY, “I’M NOT
life and human dignity. We can’t
tolerate misogyny, bigotry and preventable loss of life anymore. The days of being able to say,
AND SIT ON THE SIDELINES
“I’m not political” and sit on the
sidelines are over. Silence is now
SILENCE IS NOW
endorsement. Jesus’ example clearly shows that
we are called to actively pursue peace, speak up for the voiceless and serve others over ourselves. We should care about child trafficking. We should care about racial injustice. We should care about abortion. We should care
April, Christian author and activist Shane
about gun violence. We should care
Claiborne sent Liberty University President
about inequality. We should care
Jerry Falwell Jr. a letter. It was an invitation
about preventable climate change.
We should stand up for the poor, the
Falwell, famously, is one of the evangelical leaders outspoken in their support of President
marginalized, the immigrant. Christian political engagement
Donald Trump. Claiborne is a renowned pacifist and critic of
has, for decades, been aligned with
the current administration.
one party. But for Christians—
The invitation was innocent enough. A group of Christian
regardless of party—issues of life
leaders were holding revival meetings in Lynchburg,
and human dignity should be non-
Virginia, where Liberty is based. The focus of the event was
partisan and non-negotiable. No
primarily to warn against rising Christian nationalism and
matter how we feel about economic
to call the Church to repent and focus back on Jesus.
policy or other political issues, we
Claiborne invited Falwell to join him and other leaders for a prayer service with students at the university. Falwell’s reply was a terse letter notifying Claiborne that if he came on campus, he would be arrested. The exchange perfectly encapsulated the divide happening in the Church right now. On one side, there are Christians who passionately support the current administration. Their support, at its
should use our voices to advocate for the issues Jesus would be about. Jesus lived humbly and stood up to political power and religious hypocrisy and continually reached out to the marginalized. I don’t know, we probably should, too.
core, is rooted in the desire for conservative judges to be appointed to the Supreme Court and for religious liberty to be protected. On the other side, there are Christians who are deeply troubled by what’s happening in America today, and the Church’s role in it. (On page 82, we talk to some of the leaders who are starting to speak out.) The Church is at a crossroads, and status quo isn’t good enough anymore. But how can this generation engage the public sphere as an expression of their faith? How will it be different? What will we stand for?
C A MER ON S T R A NG
I believe we are all created in the image of God, and He
Publisher & CEO
CURRENT A B I M O N T H LY L O O K A T F A I T H , L I F E A N D C U LT U R E
Is Evangelism a Thing of the Past? New reports suggest that evangelicals, of all people, are growing less interested in evangelism.
About half of those
churches either downplay
surveyed had no idea
or just ignore evangelism
what it is, while a quarter
altogether. George Barna
said they’d heard of it, but
responded to the report,
weren’t sure of its exact
saying fewer churches
According to it, 83 percent
meaning. A deeper dive
than ever “emphasize
of American churchgoers
shows that this lack of
and equip people for
don’t really know what
knowledge around The
evangelism these days, and
“The Great Commission” is.
Great Commission actually
the results are obvious and
increases among younger
(It’s a foundational principle drawn from Matthew 28:19-20, where
generations. Possibly related, in 2017,
None of this is definitive proof that evangelism
Jesus tells His disciples to
the American Culture &
is ending, but the signs
“go therefore into all the
Faith Institute released
do seem to be pointing
world and make disciples
a study saying that an
toward a marked decrease
of all nations.”)
increasing number of
in its focus.
CHURCHGOERS: HAVE YOU HEARD OF THE GREAT COMMISSION?
25% Yes, but I can’t recall the exact meaning. 17% Yes, and it means ...
6% I’m not sure.
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An 8-Year Drought in Somaliland Is the Most Unreported Humanitarian Crisis The disaster is costing countless lives and shows no signs of getting better.
Two and a half decades ago, Somaliland
doesn’t reach them. And with the Trump
declared its independence from Somalia.
administration’s proposed cuts to U.S. foreign
And though it now operates as its own
aid, the little assistance reaching the people
country, with its own government and
in Somaliland could have dried up.
currency, the international community
Somaliland’s foreign minister estimates
does not recognize it. But more than 3.5
that 80 percent of the country’s livestock has
million residents there are suffering the
died as a result of the lack of rain—which
consequences of a devastating drought
many experts attribute to climate change—
and famine, and the region’s unique status
and the ensuing death of the plants that are
may be contributing to a rapidly unfolding
their food source. The people are landlocked
in an unstable region, and there are no roads
Because the region is unrecognized,
or infrastructure to easily reach them. The
the international aid that typically assists
crisis is dire, with millions of lives hanging
nations facing these kinds of disasters
in the balance.
Michael B. Jordan and Hollywood’s Inclusion Rider Movement DURING THIS YEAR’S
Academy Awards, Frances McDormand ended her acceptance speech for best actress with two words: “inclusion rider.” It’s something stars can include in their contracts guaranteeing a certain amount of diversity, like a crew being at least 50 percent women and 30 percent racially diverse. Michael B. Jordan was the first to announce that his studio, Outlier Society Productions, would be using inclusion riders on all projects moving forward. “It’s Outlier’s mission to continue to create for talented individuals going forward,” he said. Jordan was then joined by the likes of Brie Larson, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and director Paul Feig.
Coca-Cola announced it will
Most of McDonald’s stateside
After being convicted of security
debut its first-ever alcoholic
locations will begin using fresh
fraud, Martin Shkreli was forced to
drink in Japan. It’ll be 3 to 8
beef in their burgers. Can they
relinquish the $2 million Wu-Tang
percent alcohol and basically
keep the beef fresh on Twitter,
Clan album in his possession. Three
amount to a vodka-Coke.
though? Wendy’s is killing them.
words to the judge: Release the Wu!
BEYOND the SWIPE The tools you need to successfully navigate mobile dating culture
THE HOT LIST Bimonthly Cultural Power Rankings
Is Healthier Food More Than Just a Fad? Fast Food Is Betting on It
G E N Z ACT I V I S M [Hottest]
March 24 saw over 800 March for Our Lives events nationwide. These kids aren’t going away. W H O L E 30 [Hotter]
Have you heard of it? Oh, it changed our life, you’ll love it. LETITIA WRIGHT [Hot]
Is there a movie she’s not going to be in?
SINCE PEOPLE ARE WANTING
Taco Bell vowed to cut down
Phoria is supposed to have
healthier fast food options,
on their artificial ingredients,
fewer calories, fat and sugar
especially for kids, McDonald’s
and now they’ve got a low(er)-
than the regular Ben & Jerry’s
recently announced a plan
calorie menu to boot.
for all Happy Meals to be 600
In that same vein, Ben &
When it comes to eating
FAC E B O O K
calories or less. That means
Jerry’s announced a new line
healthy, America is bound and
no more cheeseburgers and
of ice cream that’s supposed
determined to have its cake,
chocolate milk on the Happy
to be healthier for you but not
eat it too and maintain a low-
taste like the fake ice cream
cal diet all at the same time.
They’re not alone. Last year,
we all know and hate. Moo-
Good luck with that, everyone.
You can only sell off people’s private data so many times before everyone stops forgiving you. N YC S U BWAYS [Colder]
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo got a “C” from New Yorkers on his handling of public transportation. Stand
A New Study Suggests Secondhand Stress Is Real
clear of the closing doors, gov. RU S S I A N B OTS [Coldest]
Twitter is finally cracking down. It was horrible while it lasted.
STRESS MIGHT BE CONTAGIOUS , recent research is suggesting. According to a study from the
University of Calgary, health care workers have reported that some partners to soldiers with PTSD also show signs of PTSD even though they’ve never served in the military. Looking into how transferred stress affects the brain, experiments suggest that some animals give off a chemical signal when stress-related neurons in the brain are triggered and others may be able to “detect” that biological response. So, basically, stop freaking out. You’re scaring your co-workers.
Learn locally. Think globally. Act strategically. Learn the perspective, gain the skills and experience it first-hand.
Master of Science in Global Development www.pba.edu/relevant LEARN MORE 023
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When their Tinder pic is a group shot.
Shia LaBeouf Says He (SortOf) Saw God in a Co-Star WHATEVER ELSE YOU SAY
about Shia LaBeouf, never let it be said he isn’t open to correction. He told Esquire about getting called on the carpet by his Peanut Butter Falcon co-star Zachary Gottsagen. LaBeouf had gotten arrested and Gottsagen, an actor with Down syndrome, leveled with him. “You’re already famous,” LaBeouf recalls Gottsagen telling him. “This is my chance. And you’re ruining it.” Gottsagen would go on to ask LaBeouf whether or not he believed in God. “I don’t believe in God,” LaBeouf told the magazine. “But did I see God? Did I hear God? Through Zack, yeah.”
[ T H AT ’S A L O T O F S W I P I N G]
Millennials Spend 10 Hours a Week on Dating Apps Turns out millennials may not have short attention spans after all, at least when looking for love.
A NEW STUDY that surveyed 5,000 18- to 30-year-olds found that millennials are spending
around 10 hours a week trying to find love on online dating apps. “What?” you say. “Why aren’t they just going outside trying to interact with an actual person instead of looking online?” Because all the other available people are also in their own home, spending 10 hours a week on their own dating apps. Get with the program.
TINDER Yes, the reigning champ of the online love game remains the most popular spot for love, or at least a nice date, or, failing that, a good story.
BUMBLE Newer to the game but known for being the feminist dating app: Women have to start the conversation with their male matches.
OKCUPID Sort of the OG of the dating app game and also the one with the most science and research behind its algorithm of romance.
In March, Ohio resident Bruce Wayne
ABC’s reboot of the hit ’90s sitcom
We’re assuming this will count as a
ate his 500th meal at Chipotle in 500
Roseanne drew a stunning 18 million
long-distance call: Vodafone and Audi
days, breaking the world record for
viewers for its season debut. That’s a
are creating a mobile network on the
most consecutive Chipotle days by
10 percent increase over the original
moon by 2019 to support their own
over 10 weeks. That’s a lot of guac.
show’s series finale 21 years ago.
private lunar mission.
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The Snoop Dogg Gospel Album Everyone Always Knew Was Inevitable Has Finally Arrived Snoop wears more hats in a day than most people do in a lifetime. His latest is turning heads.
”I’M JUST A NOBODY trying to tell everybody
The album mixes soul, blues and R&B—
about Somebody who can save anybody,”
along with Snoop’s bars—to create a gospel
raps Snoop Dogg on his 32-song gospel
experience that stays true to the genre’s
album, Bible of Love. Snoop has been
roots while still carving a unique place for
many things in his career—West Coast
itself. “It’s always been on my heart,” Snoop
wunderkind, media mogul, marijuana legalization enthusiast, peewee football coach, reality show star and, briefly, “Snoop Lion”—but evangelist is a
said about recording a gospel album. “I just never got around to it because I always be doing ‘gangsta’ business
new one. Even more surprising
or doing this or doing
is how easily Snoop takes to
that. I just felt like it’s
the role, evidently as a tribute
been on my heart too
to his mother, and how good
long. I need to do it
the music is, even by his
Amazon Tops the “Dirty Dozen” List EACH YEAR the National
Center on Sexual Exploitation publishes a list known as The Dirty Dozen: big companies it considers to be “facilitators of sexual exploitation.” For selling items that “normalize the ... sexual commodification of women,” Amazon was at the top of the 2018 list, throwing new focus on how few ethical concerns have been considered by Amazon and its ilk.
NASA is developing a spacecraft
The last male northern white
A news-broadcasting android
designed to collide with an
rhino, Sudan, died at age 45 in
named Erica Aoi is now delivering
Earth-bound asteroid in 2035 and
March. The only hope to save the
the daily news in Japan. “She” uses
prevent the apocalypse. It’s not
species is using IVF to impregnate
an artificial speech system and even
Armageddon II; this is real.
the two remaining females.
held her own press conference.
ACCURATE. READABLE. SHARABLE.
Learn more at CSBible.com. 027
[G E T Y O U R M O V E O N ]
RELEVANT’s 7 Best Cities for Millennials We factored in all the key aspects—culture, affordability, jobs and spiritual life. Pack up the Subaru.
eciding on your next move is
a huge life decision, which is why we culled every ounce of expertise we could find to
help you out. After reading these two pages, you won’t need to hem and haw about your transition. Why? Math. We factored in things like affordability, housing options, jobs, church density, cool culture and even coffee and pizza quality. You know, all the things
BEST SOCIAL SCENE:
that should factor into your city decision.
Forget your advisers, mentors and family members’ opinions. Here are the top cities
Looking for people like you? Memphis placed top five in both church density and millennial population. Meaning you’ll meet people quickly. Plus, work will come easy (a 2017 Glassdoor study cited more than 40,000 job openings in Memphis) and you’ll have some cash at the ready (median base salary: $41K). Hit up a great live music venue, and get some solid barbecue.
for millennials in 2018:
We know how much you hustle.
Build your squad.
It’s all about the bangers.
Online sermons are for scrubs.
Seattle, WA Flat cities are so passe. Seattle has a top-10 concentration of RELEVANT readership in the country, the nation’s best coffee scene (duh), the secondhighest church density nationwide (surprising) and a top-three music scene to boot. You want to have a good time, walk everywhere and only sacrifice a tiny bit of affordability? Buy some solid shoes. You live in Seattle now.
RADDEST SPIRITUAL LIFE:
FOR THE IMPULSIVE:
Stuck in a rut with your faith? Now’s the time to upend everything and head to Indy. No city in America has more churches per capita, and Indianapolis also has one of the highest densities of RELEVANT readers in the U.S. So even when you’re trying out your 43rd church in as many weeks, you’ll always have something to talk about with the other members of the congregation.
If you make major life decisions by closing your eyes and pointing to a map, try to skew your finger toward the Northeast. For a totally fresh start, Pittsburgh is your spot. The city has more than 95,000 job openings and a median salary of—count ’em—44,000 bones. Plus, it had a top-10 increase in millennial population over the first half of this decade and comes with a solid music and coffee scene.
UNEXPECTED COFFEE HAVEN:
New Orleans, LA If your Starbucks order is longer than your typical grocery list, make your way to New Orleans. Coming in second in our overall coffee rankings, then fifth in millennial population (a significant 8.5 percent increase in millennials from 2010 to 2015). All those young people are drinking coffee, man. Strike up a conversation by the in-house jazz combo’s CD stand.
BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET:
Austin, TX Austin is one of America’s more affordable cities, but that doesn’t mean the social scene is dry. The college town also placed in the top 10 for coffee, young people and music, (SXSW— and all the live performances that come with it—comes to Austin every spring), plus it locked in the No. 15 spot for the nation’s best pizza. Grab some garlic knots from Home Slice, or go bougie and order the clam-bacon pizza pie at Salvation.
Columbus, OH This is our all-around pick. Columbus is one of the most affordable and job applicant-friendly cities in the nation right now, and it has tons of RELEVANT readers, of course. Best part: It’s one of the easiest cities nationwide for finding a church, coming in at No. 6 in our research. Columbus has everything you need.
LOCAL RELEVANT READERSHIP:
The bacon isn’t going to bring itself home.
Obviously, Part II.
In March, Ford recalled 1.4 million Ford Fusions and Lincoln MKZ vehicles The perfect way to one-up your vinyl snob friend.
after discovering that their steering wheels might come clean off while driving. Ford said this would lead to an “increased risk of crash.” Astute.
The Future of Transportation Is Already Here THERE WAS A TIME WHEN IT WAS EN VOGUE to think
alternative ways for us to get around when fossil fuels
that the biggest advances in transportation would be
are gone. Any notable reduction in the level of carbon
how fast or cool it would be (flying cars), but the real
emissions generated by travel would be a huge deal,
innovations have been in their renewable sources of
and a few companies in particular are taking the
energy, as companies race against the clock to find
challenge to heart.
Jelly Belly published the winner of America’s Favorite Jelly Bean Flavor. It was buttered popcorn. That’s almost as gross as
BIKESHARE Uber has cracked the bikeshare code in San Francisco, utilizing their rideshare app to help users find a bike for rent, wherever they are, whenever they want it.
FLYING CARS Could it be? It could, maybe even by 2020 in some American cities. Uber is looking at making the holy grail of personal transportation a reality. (Though they sure do look like helicopters.)
CARS They’re coming sooner than you think, and your grandkids will have a hard time understanding what you mean by the words, “Drive a car.”
last year’s winner: black licorice.
Take a look at your cable package.
The New World of Crisis Hotlines The way we talk has changed. So has the way we ask for help.
CRISIS HOTLINES HAVE EVOLVED to
reach anyone in need— even if that means getting help by text message. Crisis Text Line is a new, free service that’s available 24/7 and lets people in a crisis text
with a trained volunteer crisis counselor to help you through it. A crisis does not have to mean suicide or suicidal thoughts. The website refers to a crisis as “any painful emotion for which you need support.”
To use the service, you just text “HOME” to 741741. Someone will respond within about five minutes and you’re free to talk back and forth with them until you both agree that you’re OK.
The Church of Scientology has a new 24/7 network on DirecTV, airing programs like Meet a Scientologist, Voices for Humanity and L. Ron Hubbard: In His Own Voice. Can we have parental controls on that?
SCHOOL OF MINISTRY SERVE IN SAN FRANCISCO LIVE IN COMMUNITY ANSWER YOUR CALLING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
China Is Cracking Down on Bible Sales CHINA APPEARS TO BE
undergoing a significant shift in its regulation of religious
Is Katy Perry Having a Spiritual Awakening?
freedom: In early April, Chinese social media users noticed Bibles disappearing from online booksellers. A white paper circulated by Chinese authorities said religious communities in
WHEN KATY PERRY first started
Idol, a performance by a worship
the country should “actively
her career, she went by Katy
leader named Shannon O’Hara
explore the religious thought
Hudson and was a Christian pop
literally brought Perry to tears.
which accords with China’s
star (she even dated the lead
Afterward, she called O’Hara “a
singer of Relient K). And after a
secret spiritual ninja.”
career that’s gone, uh, a different
The Chinese government says the country has about
direction, some are wondering if
streamed for fans (you read that
38 million Christians, while
she may be returning to her roots.
right), Perry revealed, “I know
that God has His hand on me, and
put the number closer to 100
Instagram image of a tattoo she
I know sometimes I go through
million. Some social media
got that said “Jesus” with the
things and they’re just too intense
users speculated the Bibles
caption “my brokenness + God’s
and I can’t handle them, and then
that have been yanked from
Divinity = my wholeness.”
He swoops in and He shows me
booksellers will soon be
that it’s His grace that brings me
replaced by a new, “state-
Perry recently posted an
And while serving as a judge on the current season of American
Your Time Has Come: Netflix Is Hiring BingeWatchers MAY-JUNE
And in a therapy session
WHEN YOU WERE little, what did you want to be when you grew up? A police officer? A ballerina? A fire truck? Well, that was only because you were little. Now you’re old enough to know all you really want to do is watch Netflix all day and believe it or not, you can. All you have to do is get hired by the streaming giant, which is hiring professional binge-watchers to catalog and rate its offerings. Netflix itself stresses that you need to be knowledgeable about TV and movies to qualify for the job, which basically makes it sound like you just need to have watched Netflix and, hey, who hasn’t? This, frankly, puts all our previous dream jobs to shame.
Something to be happy about!
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So, Joyce Meyer Is All About Christians Getting Tats TELEVANGELIST and author Joyce
Meyer surprised followers when she recently announced that she wanted to get a tattoo, just to make legalistic Christians mad. In a recent sermon, she explained how Old Testament Scriptures often referenced to forbid tattoos are actually taken out of context, and that the Bible says that God Himself actually has tattoos.
Is Giving Back the New Profit? ACTIVISM HAS BLED INTO every aspect of our culture. It
informs the movies we pay to see, the food we pay to eat
Amazon’s Lord of the Rings Show May Cost $1 Billion The budget goes ever on and on. WHEN AMAZON shelled out $250
million for the rights to make a TV series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy series, it was clear they were willing to invest heavily into the show. But now it’s been revealed that Amazon’s Lord of the Rings might be the most expensive show ever made. The planned five seasons will likely cost more than $1 billion to make.
and which brands receive our loyalty. Our money reflects our values more than ever, and in recent years, more companies have started giving us reasons to feel good about our investment. Here are a few of our favorites:
In February, yogurt company Chobani ran an installation in New York City that donated a case of yogurt to No Kid Hungry for every person who came by. They also are committed to refugee-focused hiring practices.
4. WARBY PARKER
Everlane audits all its clothing factories for fair wages. They publicize their cost breakdowns, too.
The coolest name in affordable eyewear is also the most charitable, donating glasses to kids in need.
L.A.-based burger chain Locol opens healthconscious and affordable fast-casual restaurants in underserved communities.
It’s 100 percent organic, and their Second Chance policy makes a point to hire ex-cons.
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How Do Other Countries Regulate Their Guns? Thanks to the valiant
The Second Amendment isn’t the only gun law in the world. Here’s how a few other nations handle firearms.
efforts of local governments and conservationists, the population of the giant panda rose 17 percent from 2004 to 2014. The species is no longer endangered, being downgraded to “vulnerable.”
A man was out late partying in West Virginia when he
here are a lot of opinions out there on American guns, a horrifying trend of mass shootings that seems to have no end in sight, and just what can be done to stem the tide of gun violence
in America. There’s no one reason why the U.S. has a uniquely astronomic level of gun violence compared to other developed nations, but it is interesting to compare America’s gun laws (confusing as they may be from state-to-state) with gun laws around the world.
called an Uber to take him home. Very responsible, except his home was in New Jersey. The ride cost him $1,600, and he actually paid up.
The U.S.’ northern neighbor classifies various firearms as either “restricted,” “not restricted” or “prohibited.” Handguns are usually prohibited while shotguns, for example, are not.
Very likely the strictest gun laws in the world: Citizens can be imprisoned for owning a gun, and using a firearm to commit a crime is punishable by death.
KINGDOM Some of the toughest gun laws in Europe, Spain considers gun ownership to be a privilege, not a right, and limits it mostly to people who need them for work and few for self-protection.
Often cited by gun control proponents, Australia tightened its gun control laws in the wake of the 1996 Port Author Massacre. Wouldbe gun owners must take a safety class and face a waiting period of 28 days.
Citizens in the U.K. are not allowed to have handguns, but those who meet some stringent criteria are allowed to petition local police for a firearm.
Apple has teased their plans to release some new iPhone models in 2018, including what will reportedly be the biggest iPhone ever. There will also be a gold-colored iPhone, according to Bloomberg, but will sales increase if you have to heft the thing with two hands?
[ T H E C H E AT S H E E T ]
How to Completely Delete Your Facebook Account It could be to kick an addiction or guard your data, but here are the steps to clear it for good.
MAYBE YOU’VE BEEN COMPROMISED. Maybe
1. BACK YOURSELF UP
2. WIPE IT CLEAN
you’re afraid you’ll be compromised. Or maybe
If you want to save those pictures
Time to purge. You could just
you’re just tired of Aunt Wendy’s political rants.
from Spain or those questionable
deactivate your account, but that
There are compelling reasons to delete your
videos you made with your college
doesn’t clear your data, so to run
Facebook, the least of which isn’t the sharing of
friends, hit “Settings” and navigate
a full-on deletion, go to the Delete
87 million accounts worth of data to the political
to “General.” You’ll see an option to
My Account page at facebook.com/
consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. Here’s
“Download a copy of your Facebook
help/delete_account. Read the terms
how to ensure you’re safe from data breaches
data.” Clicking that will give you a
(the short of it: Facebook doesn’t
and your family.
copy of everything you’ve uploaded.
guarantee that things you shared with other people won’t still be viewable because they can’t control what other people do with your data), then hit the blue “delete” button. 3. KNOW WHAT SURVIVES
It can take up to 90 days for Facebook to delete all your pictures, videos and posts. What’s more, the comments and replies and interactions you make with other people’s posts and accounts are never going away. Small bonus: You can still use Messenger if you’re so inclined—the app doesn’t require a Facebook account. 4. REAP THE BENEFITS
SELF magazine reported in 2017 that excessive Facebook use is linked to things like social isolation, loneliness and depression. Other experts tie it to anxiety. What does that mean for you? Less FOMO, less comparing yourself to others and more emphasis on person-to-person interactions. Plus, less of Aunt Wendy commenting about how Stanley Kubrick helped the White House fake the moon landing on your brunch selfie. A definite win.
Charlamagne tha God hosts the most influential hip-hop radio show in the country, but The Breakfast Club’s go-to guy goes to someone else.
was time for Lenard
in the passenger seat. They peel out of the neighbor-
McKelvey to pay his debt.
hood, and the boy who would grow up to become
Long before he became one of
Charlamagne tha God survives another night.
the most popular radio hosts in
“That anxiety saved me in a bunch of different sit-
the country, McKelvey sold crack
uations,” Charlamagne says. “Being overly paranoid,
on the streets of Moncks Corner,
overly cautious, that was God. He gave me the where-
South Carolina. But on this night, he had drugs to sell
withal to help me execute the situation. Kicking
and no buyers. Time was running out.
somebody’s door in has nothing to do with God—He
His creditor offered up a deal: If McKelvey helped him with a home invasion, he’d wipe the slate clean,
lets you make your own choices—but if you survive, He’ll find you if you ask Him.”
but there was a problem: McKelvey had such bad GODSEND
anxiety, he knew he wouldn’t kick in a door. “I moved a bit differently than everybody else,” he
For four hours every morning, Charlamagne tha
says. “I went to jail a few times, but I didn’t get stung
God and his co-hosts on New York City’s The Break-
like some other people. There were certain things I
fast Club hop on the airwaves and interview huge
wasn’t going to do morally.”
music stars and confess their secrets to over 50 na-
Morals or not, McKelvey was trapped, and hours
tional markets. Billed as “the world’s most dangerous
later, he found himself driving the prospective get-
morning show,” The Breakfast Club—featuring DJ
away car on an empty Moncks Corner street, inching
Envy and Angela Yee alongside Charlamagne—has
closer and closer to the marked house he was sup-
spawned memes, trolls and debate thanks to its un-
posed to rob.
filtered approach to every topic under the sun, from
McKelvey searched—prayed—for a reason to bail.
politics and hip-hop to pop culture and faith. Pastors
“I’m begging to see one set of headlights,” he says.
like Carl Lentz and John Gray sit in the same chair as
“If I can get one set of headlights in the distance be-
Diddy, Ava DuVernay and Tiffany Haddish. He’s hip-
hind us, I’m good.”
hop’s “go-to guy,” Charlamagne, but the show ruffles
But it’s the best-case scenario for a robbery, and the worst-case scenario for the young drug dealer be-
some feathers. People love to hate The Breakfast Club, which means they love to hate Charlamagne, too.
hind the wheel. All the lights are out on the street,
“I love getting up every morning and being the first
and they’re the only car on the road. McKelvey drives
voice a lot of people hear, but I know everybody’s
as slowly as he can.
not going to agree with me,” Charlamagne says. “I’m
“I peek in the rearview mirror, and way off in the distance, I see one set of lights.”
fine with that. My therapist told me I have to release the expectations of people. Whenever I’m bothered
It’s the cops! McKelvey yelps out a warning and
about something, it comes from what I expect other
steps on it. His creditor, high and paranoid, ducks
people to be doing. All the expectations you need to
have are with yourself.”
never stops firing back.
Charlamagne a lesson he’d preach from
Charlamagne writes at length about
“People don’t expect mistakes any-
that day on: If you want to change your
his formula for success in his best-sell-
more,” he says. “Everyone’s trying to
circumstances, you have to be willing
ing book Black Privilege: Opportuni-
keep up with this manufactured illu-
to work for that change—no one will do
ty Comes to Those Who Create It. In a
sion of themselves instead of being the
it for you.
world of filtered, politically correct
real them. I’m comfortable knowing
“Oftentimes, we don’t realize that
opinions, filtered social media pictures
who I really am, and I’m not afraid to
destiny is a matter of choice,” he says.
and filtered projections of ourselves,
learn. Life is a process, so part of that
“That’s the process of life. I don’t know
Charlamagne is entirely unfiltered. The
struggle may be some growing pains.”
who told people you go right from
host is not afraid to be wrong, and he’s not afraid to be vulnerable.
Charlamagne tha God has seen plenty of those.
one to 10. You have to go through two [through] nine, and when you get that
In conversation, Charlamagne brings
blessing, you have to know exactly
up his therapist, criminal background,
THE ROAD TO BREAKFAST
what to do with it. I believe in my God.
faith and family history without the
Though Lenard McKelvey dodged the
When I make poor choices, I turn to
slightest provocation—but that hones-
law on the night of the home invasion,
God to help me through that.”
ty has a dangerous side. Guests have
he was arrested multiple times in Mon-
Charlamagne grew up on what he
walked out on his confrontational in-
cks Corner. His crimes ranged from as-
calls a “foundation of spirituality.” His
terview style (most famously Birdman
sault to drug possession.
grandmother was a Baptist, his mother
in 2016, shouting, “Put some respec’ on
After his third trip to jail—a 41-day
was a Jehovah’s Witness and his father
my name”), and Charlamagne’s bold
stint when he was a teenager—Char-
is a convert to Islam from the Jehovah’s
diatribes often land him in hot water.
lamagne started taking night school
His “Donkey of the Day” segment has
classes and found an internship with a
Charlamagne is an avid Bible read-
targeted the president, “Kanye Kar-
local radio station. He was hooked. He
er himself. He quotes Scripture often
dashian” and football star Odell Beck-
built a good relationship with one of
in conversation (“Romans 8:31: ‘If
ham Jr., among countless others.
the programmers and began scrapping
God is for us, who can be against us?’
for air time. In 2005, he secured his first
I believe in a mighty God. That’s who I
full-time hosting gig in New Jersey.
submit my will to every day.”), and he
Charlamagne’s attitude makes some public backlash inevitable, but he stays afloat. Even when he’s taking shots, he
often appears alongside church lead-
Charlamagne is heard every morning in more than 50 major markets.
ers both on and off The Breakfast Club.
This past winter, he worked with Eleva-
phy is softer than
tion Church pastor Steven Furtick on a
documentary about race, purpose and
tactics he brings
faith. (They went to high school togeth-
to the show.
er but weren’t friends.)
“I’m not a gate-
Whenever someone brings acclaim
keeper,” he says.
to The Breakfast Club—its populari-
“If you’re look-
ty, its influence, its pervasiveness—
Charlamagne has a reflexive answer:
like that, you’re
“Praise be to God.” Maybe it wasn’t
thinking way too
Charlamagne doing all the work on his
highly of your-
road to fame.
self. I’m a fan. I
Charlamagne is caught up in another
“Romans 8:31, ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ I believe in a mighty God. That’s who I submit my will to every day.”
have a sense of
book right now besides the Bible: Rob-
in Stern’s The Gaslight Effect. It’s about
day, and that allows me to care about
“I have a lot of people coming to me
how the negative perceptions of others
people’s stories. I don’t feel like I have
when they have problems and when
can infect your thinking until you begin
any power, I just have a platform. The
they’re going through things,” he says.
to interpret their viewpoints as truth.
Breakfast Club is not my show. That’s
“I’m the go-to guy for a lot of people,
our show. It’s for everybody.”
but who does the go-to guy go to?”
Charlamagne describes it like look-
ing in the mirror and seeing a distort-
The Breakfast Club has one of the
The go-to guy goes to his therapist.
ed reflection of yourself—a legitimate
most inclusive guest lineups on radio.
When he feels the world gaslighting
mental health struggle—and it’s some-
Late comedian and civil rights activist
him and forcing a delusion in front of
thing he battles to this day in therapy.
Dick Gregory sat in the same chair as
his eyes, he looks in the mirror and ac-
“As a man, there’s a lot of things I
world-famous superstar Kendrick La-
knowledges his mistakes. That empow-
haven’t dealt with,” he says. “For a lot
mar, and Kendrick Lamar sat in the
ers him to have confidence.
of my life, I was self-medicating with
same chair as social activist and trans-
weed and alcohol, thinking I don’t have
gender actress Janet Mock.
time to deal with this right now, but
The go-to guy goes to the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He hopes for
Mock’s interview in particular was
a world where people are judged on
controversial. Some accused The Break-
their character. That empowers him to
Charlamagne details a list of issues
fast Club of insensitive lines of ques-
search for empathy.
that could fill entire books: sexual
tioning, and when a later guest made
The go-to guy goes to God. He owns
abuse, rape culture, misogyny, fear.
transphobic jokes against Mock, the
his past and owns his sins, but he of-
“That was all normalized for me, but
show was criticized for going along
fers praise for every blessing. He says
none of it was normal,” he says. “I’ve
with the humor. Charlamagne has re-
whenever he steps outside and takes
unlearned a lot of that. The Bible says
nounced the offensive rhetoric that ma-
in the sky, the vastness of the world, it
when you were a child, you thought
terialized around Mock’s appearance,
humbles him. That empowers him to
like a child, but when you’re a man, you
but the incident did some damage.
be content, and if you’re not with that,
act like a man, you think like a man.”
Now, it’s another opportunity to learn.
Charlamagne tha God doesn’t care.
certain things bug you out.”
“If you can’t look back on your life
“You should be comfortable know-
THE MAGNE THING
and see where you made mistakes,
ing the truth about yourself,” he says.
The Breakfast Club has become one of
something’s wrong,” he says. “I don’t
“You can’t grow if you’re being delu-
the most important tentpoles of hip-
know anything about Janet Mock’s
sional. If others never believe the truth
hop culture, and that makes Charla-
world, so why not have a conversation
about me, I’m good. That’s how I move.
magne one of the most important peo-
with her? She’s a human being like ev-
I don’t have beef with nobody but the
ple in hip-hop culture.
For a young artist to land a Break-
Now, Charlamagne finds himself in
fast Club interview is like a rock band
a position where he can lift others up
earning a spot on the Ed Sullivan Show.
and place them alongside him on that
It might be seen as a do-or-die, make-
platform, but that’s a complicated space
or-break moment, but Charlamagne’s
to navigate in 2018.
T YLER DASWICK is RELEVANT’s senior writer. He’s on Twitter @TylerDaswick.
The No. 1 killer of Americans under 50 is sitting in your medicine cabinet. BY JESSE CAREY
YOU DROVE by the county coroner’s
many Christians, this is more than simply an emergency.
office recently in Canton, Ohio, you
This is a pro-life issue.
may have noticed a large trailer parked out front with the words
A MASSIVE SCOPE
“Disaster Response” plastered be-
For two decades, Dr. Thomas Andrew served as the chief
side the Ohio Department of Health
medical examiner of New Hampshire. He understands
logo. Officially, it’s called a “cold storage mass casualty
firsthand just how bad the crisis has become. New Hamp-
trailer.” It was brought in because the morgue was over-
shire has more deaths per capita from synthetic opioids
capacity, and the city needed a place to put the dead bod-
like fentanyl than other state in the country.
ies that continued to pour in.
“When I started in New Hampshire, it would have been
Down the road in Akron, the state’s department of
’97, this was a state that had roughly 30 to 40 drug deaths
health had to send another one of their refrigerated
a year,” he explains. “And it reached the point in the early
trucks to the local morgue, where they too found them-
2000s, about 2004, 2005, where drug deaths passed 100 a
selves overcapacity this summer. In the area around Day-
year and then 150 a year.”
ton, the coroners have been forced to ask hospitals and
Jim Quigley is the executive director of Freedom Farm
even funeral homes to store bodies longer because they
Ministries in North Carolina, a Christian rehab facility
were simply filling up too fast.
that takes a spiritual approach to helping men get clean.
Though it’s been particularly hard-hit, Ohio isn’t alone
He’s observed a change, too.
in having to deal with the crisis of death caused by opioid
“Most [of ] our men coming here are coming here with
addiction and overdoses. The use of prescription drugs
opioids being their drug of choice,” he explains. “Anybody
is becoming so widespread that according to the Centers
who was involved in the prescription pain medication
for Disease Control and Prevention, Alabama, Arkansas,
stuff that started 15 years ago, we all saw the writings
Tennessee and Mississippi reported more opioid prescrip-
on the walls, that it was going to transition to heroin like
tions than they have residents.
it’s doing right now, as they clamp down on the prescrip-
Last year, stats concerning the opioid epidemic crossed a grim new line: Overdoses—mostly on opioids—are now
tions—like they have been and continue to do—all that does is basically open the market up for heroin.”
the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. And the crisis is only getting worse.
In those earlier years, Andrew saw the storm on the horizon, and he began to speak out.
In 1999, fewer than 17,000 Americans died from a drug
“We tried to get the attention of policy-makers and oth-
overdose. Last year, more than 66,000 people in America
er folks to kind of alert them to this unfolding problem,
were killed. For comparison, in 2016, 37,000 Americans
but it really didn’t gain any traction, I think for a lot of
died in car accidents.
reasons,” he explains, looking back. “For one thing, there
Almost as many Americans died because of a drug
was this stigma about substance abuse. They would al-
overdose in 2016 alone as the number of Americans killed
ways default to, ‘Well, this is not really our problem. This
in the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan Wars combined.
is those people.’ And we’re waving our hands and jump-
Last fall, the White House declared the drug epidemic
ing up and down and saying, ‘Those people are we! They
“a public health emergency.” But as the number of over-
are us! They’re our neighbors, they’re our friends.’ And it
doses continue to rise—dramatically—every year, for
just didn’t gain any traction with them.”
Total deaths from car
accidents in the U.S. in 2015
are and then return to their
Earlier this year, Sen.
doctors seeking more.
Claire McCaskill released
However, as Andrew ex-
the findings of a report
plains, “They ended up be-
ing dismissed, if you will,
by their providers, who may
companies paid millions
have had a hand in getting
to patient groups to sup-
them addicted in the first
port “amplified messag-
es favorable to increased
Once it was clear that patients had developed de-
A 2017 investigation
pendencies on drugs their
into lobbying efforts by
doctors had recommended,
“Big Pharma” conducted
doctors cut them off.
by The Washington Post
ed to powerful drugs, many
that the companies spent
had few other places to turn.
more than $106 million
Without a prescription, they
to lobby Congress in an
had to turn to the internet or
effort to pass more fa-
the U.S. in 2016
vorable drug laws.
From there, a sad and
Andrew observed a very
In other words, drug-
dangerous cycle has played
dangerous trend taking hold:
makers, who make massive
out in cities, suburbs and ru-
Doctors—who were having
profits off of prescription
ral communities across the
new drugs pushed to them
country. People have turned
hard to make them so prev-
to dangerous sources to ful-
alent. As a result, powerful
fill their desire for another
prescribing extremely pow-
and addictive opioid drugs
erful and addictive opioid
are no longer just the product
But instead of prescrip-
painkillers to patients with
of shady drug dealers; they
tion pills, they often receive
almost reckless abandon.
are being prescribed by doc-
“Physicians were sort of
tors and can be found in the
heroin and, more recently,
the dupes in this process,”
medicine cabinets in millions
synthetic fentanyl—a drug
of homes around the world.
convinced by what was ped-
and 60 Minutes found
than morphine. And because
aled to them—and by ‘them,’
A DANGEROUS CYCLE
these drugs are often mixed
The initial easy access to
passed off as peer-reviewed
these kinds of drugs had
research. We really were
dark long-term consequenc-
don’t take the time to calcu-
misled. And this led to opi-
es. People would be pre-
late proper doses—the re-
ates being prescribed much,
sults are often fatal, especial-
much more frequently and
Oxycontin and Percocet, af-
ly when fentanyl is involved.
freely than they ever had in
ter an injury or surgical pro-
As Andrew explains, it is
the past. People having like
cedure. Patients would then
the most insidious develop-
a tooth removed and ending
often develop addictions and
ment yet in the opioid crisis:
up with a 30-day supply of
dependencies to them be-
“It—because of its potency—
Percocet. I mean, crazy stuff,
cause of how powerful they
is killing so many more peo-
ple so much more rapidly than the prescription drugs or even the heroin did.”
sue,” Andrew warns. However,
downs have already begun.
The Drugs at the Center of the Crisis
In March, Attorney General A PRO-LIFE CAUSE
Jeff Sessions said the federal
In contemporary America,
government would support
One of the most complicated elements of the crisis is that
the term “pro-life” is gen-
a series of lawsuits filed by
there are so many kinds of opioids available to addicts—
erally associated with an
states against drug manufac-
turers. The states are seek-
And when it comes to views
ing financial reimbursement
about abortion, Christians
for the ballooning costs of
in America overwhelming-
helping addicted people.
ly believe that Roe v. Wade
And this spring, President
should be overturned. Ac-
Trump unveiled a plan to
cording to Pew Research
fight the crisis. His stated
Center, across most major
goal is to cut the number
of prescription written for
think abortion should be il-
opioid painkillers by a third
legal in almost all cases (for
example, 71 percent within
years (though he has re-
the Assemblies of God,
mained vague on the logis-
percent within the South-
tics of the plan). The president also called
percent within the Church
for more money to support
large public health efforts
With opposition to abor-
and treatment programs for
tion often playing out in
those who are already strug-
gling with drug addictions.
least in part—based on their
The new federal budget ear-
reproductive stances, and ef-
marks nearly $5 billion to
forts to fight abortion often
combat the crisis.
playing out in courtrooms
However, a key part of
and legislation, the pro-life
his plan has drawn concern
movement has taken on a
from some pro-life advo-
distinctly political direction.
cates: He wants to execute
But as the death toll in the
opioid epidemic quickly ris-
At a speech in New Hamp-
es to staggering new heights,
shire, he said: “If we don’t
experts say that fighting it
get tough on the drug deal-
is much more complicated
ers, we are wasting our time.
than simply passing legisla-
And that toughness includes
tion. This is partly why the
the death penalty.”
opioid crisis is such a com-
The move has drawn criti-
plicated problem, even for
cism from justice advocates,
including the traditionally
are not going to solve the is-
prevalent opioids at the center of the crisis.
OXYCODONE Often prescribed by doctors and mixed with a painkiller like acetaminophen under brands names like Percocet, oxycodone can serve as a sort of gateway into opioid abuse.
course of three
ern Baptist Convention, 77
many prescribed by doctors. Here’s a look at some of the
FENTANYL Many times stronger than drugs like heroin, this synthetic opioid can offer extremely effective treatment for chronic pain sufferers but is also deadly if taken improperly.
HEROIN Used as a recreational drug, heroin is often cheaper than pharmaceutical drugs, but is extremely addictive and frequently lethal because it can be cut with other substances by illicit drug dealers.
DIAMORPHINE Chemically, diamorphine is essentially heroin, however, it is prescribed by doctors, can be administered in controlled doses at hospitals and is used to treat extreme pain.
on Fellowship, founded by
former Nixon adviser and
at least reverse that partic-
devout Christian, the late
“No complex social prob-
ular trend,” he says. “Even
Chuck Colson. In a press con-
lem has one solution,” he
if we start re-educating our
ference, the group’s current
says. “Unless you’re a ham-
student physicians right to-
president, James Ackerman,
mer. If you’re a hammer,
day, right now, that fix, if you
told The Christian Post the
then everything is a nail.
will, is going to take 20, 25
president’s plan to kill drug
And you’re going to arrest
years to take effect.”
dealers “doesn’t make any
Because of that, no single
sense to me at all, to be per-
everybody, and after a while,
piece of legislation or po-
fectly frank.” Dr. Andrew
there’s nobody even here
litical movement can assist
Kolodny, co-director of the
to sweep the floor, so that’s
this pro-life cause. One that
Opioid Policy Research Col-
probably not the approach
he, and so many others, are
laborative at Brandeis Uni-
to use, exclusively, anyway.”
encouraging churches to get
versity, said execution would
He believes ending this
do nothing to truly combat
crisis is going to take time.
It’s going to take changing
A DIFFERENT PATH
the way the medical world
This past fall, Andrew made
thinks about treating pain.
the decision to step away
The problem with only seeking legal and legislative
avenues, according to An-
He says that much hinges
from his role as the chief
drew, is that it is simply too
on today’s millennial doctors
medical examiner and en-
narrow. Though he says that
and medical students, and
rolled in seminary. He still
some new legislation—like,
them changing society’s rela-
wants to fight the opioid
for instance, a monitoring
tionships with opioids.
crisis, but now, he’s entering
program for prescriptions—
“We didn’t get into this
into the ministry, where he
could be helpful, real change
problem in a year or two; it’s
can help communities and
will come through a more
going to take a generation to
young people spiritually—
LETHAL DOSES One of the reasons why these kinds of drugs are so dangerous is because potency levels differ wildly, often leading to unintentional overdoses.
A lethal dose of streetpurchased heroin is generally around 30 milligrams.
Just 3 milligrams of medically available fentanyl is enough to kill an adult.
while also addressing the
For him, the solution to
your friend’s body with re-
this problem starts on the
spect, those kinds of things ...
“As I was pondering re-
individual level, not just the
are lessons that are learned
tirement, I thought, ‘Gee, I’ve
legislative one. Part of ad-
and remembered for a life-
still got some gas in the tank
time,” he says.
here,’” he explains, saying he
understanding how to ad-
really wanted to find a way
reaches so deeply into com-
to “still be able to address the
what responsibility you may
munities, ultimately, he says,
public health issue of sub-
play, even if you’re not the
churches must also play a
public health crisis.
stance abuse.” Because a real end to the crisis could still be decades away, Andrew decided to address some of the underlying causes of addiction, instead of just correcting misinformation about the drugs people become addicted to. He hopes more churches will use this method because ulti-
“ P E O P L E H AV I N G A T O O T H R E M O V E D A N D E N D I N G U P W I T H A 3 0 - D AY S U P P LY O F P E R C O C E T . . . C R A Z Y S T U F F, C R A Z Y S T U F F.” – D R . T H O M A S A N D R E W
mately, it is the real solution. “Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be among you.’ Well,
one using drugs.
major role. Laws and advo-
the addicted will always be
“You really need to under-
cacy aren’t enough. A multi-
among you, too,” he explains.
stand what enabling means,”
faceted approach to service
It’s a similar approach that
he says. “If you’re financially
must be undertaken if the
Quigley employs at Freedom
or in some way contributing
Church is truly going to be
Farm Ministries. There, re-
to that person being allowed
successful in advancing this
covering addicts are taught
to live that lifestyle, you need
spiritual principles, biblical
to stop. That is the tough love
“It’s a matter of what
truths about human nature
stuff … You make sure you
you’re doing in the commu-
and God’s grace and learn
nity to demonstrate that you
life skills that can keep them
how much you love them;
are a community of faith and
on the path of sobriety.
how much you’re praying for
that you care and you take
them, how much you want to
the admonition to love your
see them succeed.”
neighbor seriously,” he says.
It also means helping family members and other people within church communi-
Andrew now works with
“So whether it’s labeled
ties to understand the right
young people to try and
as an opiate outreach or a
way to confront and help
teach them principles that
homeless outreach or a men-
their loved ones dealing with
he hopes will one day end
tal health outreach or an out-
addiction—even if it feels
reach to the hungry hardly
“I do believe that if you
matters … What matters is
“You need to confront it,”
can instill values, even if
that there’s outreach. You’re
he explains. “Do not let this
they’re not explicitly reli-
engaging the community in
continue with your knowl-
gious values, per se, but in-
ways that sitting in church
edge of it—we’re command-
still values about honoring
once a week can’t possibly
ed to do things like that.”
life, treating your body and
JESSE CAREY is the brand director at RELEVANT. You can find him on Twitter @jessecarey.
Greta Kline— aka Frankie Cosmos—thinks communication is “impossible.” So how did she and her band get so good at it? BY J O S E P H R I G G S
think everything is crossing so many
genres and everybody kind of knows
about so many different styles of music
that there’s no way to only be influenced
personally and as
by one genre.”
the frontwoman for
Frankie Cosmos is most certainly
her band, Frankie
not influenced by one genre. The
Cosmos, she has a hard time finding
band’s most recent album, Vessel, is a
which box their music fits into. “I kind
kaleidoscope of sparkly pop melodies
of feel like I would accept whatever
with a muscular, substantive spine.
label gets thrown at us,” she says. “Some
Kline has a knack for communicating
people really only listen to one genre of
the difficult-to-communicate through
music, so it’s good for those people to be
her lyrics, capturing ephemeral
like, ‘Oh, I’m looking for more indie-rock
emotions through simple turns of
to listen to or something.’ But I also
phrase. That doesn’t make their music
just so impossible. It’s just this
no holds barred. It just means that
constant striving. I’m definitely
with Frankie Cosmos, it’s a song. I’m
never going to achieve getting
not just getting on stage and talking
across my true self to anyone,
about it. I’m not in therapy.”
but I can keep trying.”
Her band’s escalating popularity means she’s quickly becoming a
person of note; one with fans who
Kline was born in New York
have a certain idea of what she’s
City, the daughter of Kevin
supposed to be like. “My friend who’s
Kline and Phoebe Cates. She
also a musician described it as feeling
was home-schooled for most
like people have decided who you are
of high school and made a
before they’ve even met you,” she says.
few small appearances in
“So you end up invisible to them.”
movies like The Squid and the Whale, but music is what
A NEW VESSEL
really grabbed her attention. In
These themes appear on Vessel,
2011, she started performing
which Kline says is really about “your
under the pseudonym Frankie
relationship to your body and feeling
Cosmos, which still serves as a
disconnected” from it. That sense of
sort of alter ego in addition to
disconnectedness is a timeless human
being her band’s name.
feeling, but she sees how social media
“I feel like Greta Kline is
has exacerbated it.
someone who’s not comfortable
“I hate the idea that people think
on stage and Frankie Cosmos
that’s you,” she says of social media
is a nice veil to get behind,”
accounts like Facebook profiles.
she says. “I write songs but I
“And that they know you from it. It’s
also have a diary, and that’s
scary because it’s just not the person.
L to R: Luke Pyenson,
something that I would
Someone’s social media profile is not
Lauren Martin, Alex
never get on stage and read
from. The songs are like, yes,
Kline knows knowing someone via
there’s a diary aspect to them,
their social media is impossible, but
but they’re also my art. It’s
she’s not convinced knowing anyone
definitely very separate from
at all is really possible. That sounds
me purely just writing down
depressing but to hear her tell it, this
my feelings or journaling or
conviction has actually opened her up
to try to explore the one identity she’s
Bailey, Greta Kline
any easier to label. It just means the
She talks about this a lot: the gulf
confident in: her own.
music is so good you don’t really care
between who she is and who she
“We can’t really understand each
what genre it is.
presents as. It’s not hard to get the
other. That’s just the nature of life and
“I’m fascinated by the whole idea
impression that Frankie Cosmos and
it’s kind of a cool thing to realize that
of trying to write songs and trying
Greta Kline aren’t so much two people
because it frees you. You can be like,
to communicate something, because
as they are two sides of the same
‘Well, I can’t think about this in terms
ultimately every word has a different
person—a convenient demarcation
of communicating it to someone else.
meaning to every person,” she says.
of personality that provides some
I just have to be able to maybe try and
“Just based on your whole life and
structure to her unique existence.
communicate it to myself.’”
your whole experience of words
“On the other hand, there are times
Whoever that may be.
or music, and of everything. It’s
when I feel extremely raw,” she says.
the same reason why one person
“That’s what I’m sharing in Frankie
can call something pop punk and
Cosmos, and it’s totally scary. That’s not
one person can call it indie-rock or
to say that I’m withholding anything
whatever. I think communication is
emotionally because there’s honestly
JOSEPH RIGGS is a writer and editor living in Cincinnati, Ohio.
BY T Y L E R H U C K A B E E
The Enneagram is giving millennials a healthier way to understand themselves. But do they understand it?
group of half a dozen peo-
isn’t in the Bible. You know, there’s lots
question of what it actually has become
ple sit in a circle on big Ikea
of things that aren’t in the Bible but are
today is nearly as inscrutable. Ask 100
chairs, drinking coffee from
devotees of the Enneagram what it
hip, branded mugs while a
“If they take the time to hear how
is and you’ll get 100 answers, most of
group leader reads from a
we use it from a biblical perspective
them bespotted with vague language
workbook. Everyone is keen-
they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, this makes sense.
and words that don’t seem to mean
ly interested, jotting down copious
There’s no problem there,’” she contin-
much of anything, and several defi-
notes on worksheet paper. One guy
ues. “It’s when they have misconcep-
nitions contradicting one another so
even brought a computer.
tions that they get all freaked out.”
violently you wonder if these people
We’re at a church in Nashville and
McCord used to deal with this sort
are talking about the same thing. It’s a
from a distance, this looks like some
of skepticism a lot more than she does
personality test. A path to wholeness. A
sort of self-help group, which is apt
now. Over the past few years, she says,
way to process your trauma.
enough. This is an Enneagram class,
the Enneagram’s reputation for chang-
one of several the church offers, and
ing lives has preceded it.
Perhaps that is a strength of the Enneagram. The fact that it can be so
the people are here to help themselves
The Enneagram isn’t a new phe-
many different things to so many dif-
in the most foundational way someone
nomenon. Depending on who you ask,
ferent people. But if the Enneagram’s
can—by understanding themselves.
its earliest iterations were either in
multitudinous uses have helped it be-
“My husband and I come from a
the 1950s or the 1910s, though there
come all things to all people, it’s also in
probably more traditional, Gospel-cen-
are some experts who say versions
danger of trivializing it and diminish-
tered perspective and that’s why we’ve
of it can be found in the writings of
ing its full potential. Ironically enough,
spent the last 15 years bringing what
fourth-century Christian mystics (and
a system designed to help people un-
we know of the Enneagram into that
there are some who trace its roots all
derstand themselves is in danger of be-
sector,” says Beth McCord.
the way back to ancient Egypt). But it
McCord runs Your Enneagram Coach,
is a phenomenon, and it has gained a
a website designed to walk people
fresh popularity in recent years, partic-
through the basics of the Enneagram
ularly among Christian circles, thanks
and get some coaching on their own
to hearty endorsements from people
type in particular. She says that the
like Richard Rohr and Elizabeth Wage-
Hannah Paasch is a Phoenix, Arizona,
Enneagram is spiritually “neutral,” but
le, though their interpretation is occa-
resident who says she was introduced
has significant appeal for Christians—if
sionally chuffed at by students of other
to the Enneagram by “an otherwise
they can get over their initial fear of it.
extremely boring ex-friend” and it
“They’ll say well that’s not in the Bi-
And if the question of the Ennea-
promptly changed her life. Or more ac-
ble,” she says. “Well, the Myers-Briggs
gram’s origins is a bit murky, then the
curately, changed how she saw her life.
“I was instantly drawn to it because it
contemporary Western traditions, large-
seemed to illuminate for me patterns of
ly thanks to the work of Riso and Hud-
behavior that I had seen both in myself
son, these types are each given a name.
and in others,” she says. She read Don
“Sevens,” for example, might be known
First thing’s first: Don’t use this to
Richard Riso and Russ Hudson’s Person-
as “enthusiasts,” or “3s” as “achievers.”
figure out your Enneagram type. You
ality Types—one of the key contempo-
These nine numbers can each have
rary academic treatises on the Ennea-
several different “wings”—elements of
gram which devotees refer to in hushed,
one of the other numbers, usually imme-
respectful tones—and got hooked.
diately adjacent, that are incorporated
really need a coach for that. Instead, just consider this a brief overview of the Enneagram of Personality, to whet your appetite for the real thing.
“I spent the next 10 years really read-
into their own type—shifting some of its
ing everything that I could about it,”
specifics. So, for example, if you’re a 6 (a
Paasch says. Eventually, she felt comfort-
“loyalist”), you’ll probably either have a
able enough with the material to start
5 or a 7 wing. In these understandings,
The well-organized, perfectionist type, imbued with a rigid moral code. They maintain high ethical standards for themselves and others, often to the point of being hypercritical of mistakes.
creating some of her own. She’s even
all sixes have baseline “loyalist” charac-
working on a book, out next year, to help
teristics, but your wing will change how
introduce the Enneagram to a new gen-
those traits play out in your life, conflicts
“It went from being kind of a silly ob-
If you’re confused by the numbers,
session of mine to something where I had
you’re not alone. But know this: If some-
done such a large amount of research on
one explains the Enneagram to you in a
interpersonal relationships for so long
way that seems simple, you can be sure
that I started doing all of the Millen-
that they are not explaining it correctly.
Type 2s are empathetic and caring people who love others and love to be loved by others, sometimes falling into being people pleasers. They offer their friendship unselfishly and unconditionally.
neagram stuff and making up question-
That’s the caution offered by Chris-
naires to find more about how people
topher L. Heuertz, author of The Sacred
tick and understanding the different
Enneagram and 20-year student of its
numbers and whatnot,” she says. “So I’ve
ways. He strongly cautions against what
gone in deep.”
he perceives as a gross oversimplifica-
TYPE 3 High achieving, charming and confident, 3s are the sort of people who tend to light up a room. They’re natural leaders, but can be overly concerned with their own image and self-worth.
She says she’s excited to see the Ennea-
tion of the Enneagram which renders it
gram experiencing a boom season, but
little more than a narcissistic party trick,
she’s nervous too.
about as substantive as a BuzzFeed quiz.
“I am frustrated by the amount of
“With the Enneagram of Personality,
people who just want to throw their My-
when someone first comes across it, they
ers-Briggs [type] and their astrology sign
hear it and they love it, because they’re
and their Enneagram number on their
like, ‘Oh my god, that’s true, I’m totally
Twitter bio and go,” she says. “Some peo-
like that,’” Heuertz says. “And it’s fun-
ple, I can tell, are really genuinely engag-
ny and endearing, and you can see this
ing with the material, and some people
in your partner or your friends or your
are like, ‘I’m a 2 and 4 with a side of 8!’
community. But the real challenge right
And I’m like, no, none of that makes any
now is to resist the reductionism of re-
sense at all.”
ducing characters to quirks, to labels and
If you’re at all familiar with the Ennea-
TYPE 4 Type 4s are often creatives. They’re sensitive, inspired, Bohemian types who are able to be honest and self aware, but they can sometimes struggle to be vulnerable with others.
gram, it’s probably via numbers like this,
By way of explanation, Heuertz talks
or “Enneatypes,” as the Enneagrammers
about the mystic origins of what we now
themselves will call them. “Enneagons,”
know as the Enneagram, which began
if you want to get technical. There are
with Oscar Ichazo, a Bolivian teacher
nine numbers, each associated with a
who received the wisdom of the Ennea-
different “archetype” of person. In many
gram in a dream.
“He went into sort of a seven-day di-
explains. “And, you know this, the map
vine coma,” Heuertz explains. “It was
isn’t the journey. The map informs the
essentially a hallucinogenic prayer. And
journey. So if the Enneagram is a sacred
he said that during these seven days, this
map of our soul, if it’s a compassionate
angel came to him and exposed to Ichazo
sketch of possibilities of who we can be-
108 different, what he then called En-
come, then what it actually helps us do is
neagons. So this angel comes and gives
excavate our essence.”
him 108 Enneagons, or now what we call
TYPE 5 Sometimes called “the investigator,” this type of person is curious, alert and attentive to detail. They’re born problem solvers who can at times get a little too stuck in their own heads.
Enneagrams. And really just one of those 108 is the Enneagram of personality.” Whether or not you track with the idea of Ichazo having a divine revelation that
Personality tests like the Myers-Briggs
led to the Enneagram of Personality, the
or Gallup’s Strengthfinders focus on
verifiable parts of this story actually do
what you are. The Enneagram of Per-
check out. Ichazo would go on to found
sonality does this too, but it’s also inter-
the Arica Institute, where the Enneagram
ested in what you could become—both
was taught as one part of a much more
for better and worse. Like any map, you
holistic system called the Protoanalysis,
not only see where you are, but you see
which posited that it was a comprehen-
where specific turns will take you—and
sive understanding of the fully enlight-
you can be better prepared to determine
ened human being.
your destination and know what to do if
Much to Ichazo’s consternation, one
you get lost along the way.
of his students, a Chilean-born psychia-
Paasch puts it another way: “I would
trist named Claudio Naranjo, applied the
say that the Enneagram is a tool for illu-
mystical qualities of the Enneagram to a
minating the ego-fixations and mind ruts
psychological model more palatable for
that one has created in order to integrate
Western audiences. The Enneagram of
as a human being.”
Personality, as we understand it today, was born.
“People have grown up with a lot of unsolved trauma, a lot of coping mech-
This is complex, but it’s important to
anisms, a lot of unhealthy cultural and
understanding why the modern idle chit-
social expectations,” she continues. “And
chat over your Enneagram personality
all of that has been piled on from a very
type is a bit simplistic.
young age, so being able to speak and act
“It is helpful,” Heuertz admits. “It is
out of our truest self is often something
clear that the Enneagram does sort of
that we aren’t conscious of not accessing.
expose repeating patterns in human
“I think being able to understand
character structure archetypes that are
where you are and what your particular
sort of observable. But I think if you
mind ruts are—the kind of patterns of
don’t really understand the essence of
behavior, harmful or benign, that make
what’s behind it, you’re just fueling your
their way through your life—you can
own narcissism and you’re weaponizing
consciously ask, Is this something I want
something. You might be super interest-
to keep doing? And if not, How can I re-
ing at a dinner party, but that’s not the
wire my thoughts and behavior to accom-
point, you know?”
plish the goals that I want?”
Well, then. What is the point?
This, according to Paasch, is part of
“I usually try to say that [the Enneagram]
the appeal to people raised in a Christian
is a sacred map of our soul,” Heuertz
context, where destructive theology is all
TYPE 6 Loyal friends who thrive on championing those they care about, 6s are responsible and industrious, hate lacking guidance, and are driven by a desire to feel secure and supported by people around them.
TYPE 7 Fun-loving party animals who love variety, 7s are impatient and impulsive, but also playful and optimistic. They can easily exhaust themselves, but at their best they put their boundless energy to good use.
TYPE 8 Eights are assertive and controlling, prone to a domineering attitude, but also capable of rallying and inspiring others. They long to be in charge of their environments and struggle with vulnerability.
TYPE 9 Easy-going and peaceable, 9s hate conflict and do everything they can to personally avoid it and stomp it out whenever they see it. They are driven by a longing for personal and relational calm.
“The Enneagram affords spiritual folks a way to grow in the ways that they want to, but maybe more practically.” Hannah Paasch
your sins, took them away and then He imputed onto you His righteousness which allows us to freely see our
too often unthinkingly communicated
weaknesses without self-condemnation,
and integrated, leading to unexplored
shame and fear. And to then experience
the true love, forgiveness, joy and satis-
“I think for me, and as a progressive
faction that we have in Christ, that is re-
person of faith, words like sanctifica-
ally where the transformation comes in
tion were thrown around so much as a
to say, I’m no longer this. I’m beloved, for-
kid and I didn’t know what that meant,”
given, cherished and free. That’s the work
Paasch says. “Obviously, there are fruits
I do with my coaching, to get people to
of the Spirit, but what did that mean for
move from this to what they really are
me? How do I acquire those things? How
do I grow in compassion and kindness when I just am the way I am?
RELEVANT RECOMMENDS Here are a few books to help you dive more deeply into the Enneagram.
Modern American Christians are famously wary of any wisdom that comes
“The concept of sanctification always
from beyond their own tradition, and no-
felt very nebulous to me, and I think the
body would have been surprised if they
Enneagram affords spiritual folks a way
turned their collective nose up at some of
to grow in the ways that they want to, but
the Enneagram’s spirituality (the symbol
maybe more practically. I mean, without
of the Enneagram of Personality—a cir-
just actually ‘praying and hoping’ and
cle with lines connecting at nine various
crossing your fingers that you become a
points—is the sort of thing that would
give Pat Robertson hives).
McCord agrees. “[The Enneagram] is
But the work of Rohr—a Franciscan
the tool to help bring transformation.
friar whose books have achieved some
The Gospel is the transformation. And so
ecunmenical popularity—has been to
by helping us understand, for your type
marry the Enneagram to a more tradi-
specifically, what are your hang-ups and
tional Christian framework. In 1995, he
pitfalls, what happens as a human is we
published The Enneagram: A Christian
go, ‘I’m so terrible I’m so horrible, look
Perspective with Andreas Ebert, which
at me.’ I’m like, ‘Yes, that’s why Christ
beyond just harmonizing Enneagram
came.’ He came and took care of all of
wisdom with Scripture, also traced the
THE ROAD BACK TO YOU
THE SACRED ENNEAGRAM
IAN CRON & SUZANNE STABILE
A recent addition to the Enneagram “must-read” list, this ‘Enneagram Journey to Self Discovery’ is an easy, witty read on the Enneagram with lots of practical wisdom and easy ways to apply it to your own life. A solid primer.
This thoughtful, contemplative book digs past the hype and narcissistic personality tests to get to the heart of what the Enneagram really is, and why its reputation has endured for such a long time.
Enneagram back much further than the
with you to walk you through the Ennea-
20th century, all the way to the Desert
gram, get to know you a little and give
Fathers: Christian mystics like Evagrius
you some expert opinions on what your
Ponticus, who identified “eight deadly
type might be.
thoughts” and one overarching thought
Educate yourself as much as possible
over them all, that do seem to loosely cor-
by reading whole books—not just the
respond with the modern Enneagram’s
chapter you think applies to your specif-
nine points and—more saliently—to the
ic type. Beware flashy, bite-sized versions
idea of the Enneagram being less of a
of the Enneagram, which can be like Bi-
personality test and more of a means of
ble verses—encouraging on their own,
discovering your own identity and what
but easily misconstrued when devoid of
that means for your spiritual journey.
context. And remember that the Ennea-
“One of my teachers was Russ Hud-
gram has been around for a long time
son,” says Heuertz. “And Russ would
and has a lot of streams. Take care about
sometimes say things like this: The En-
which one you’re swimming in.
neagram is less about nine types of peo-
That’s a lesson Oscar Ichazo, the one
ple and more about nine paths to God.
most commonly credited as the prin-
And I think that if we saw it that way we
ciple father of the modern Enneagram
would really approach it differently.”
of Personality learned the hard way in 1992, when he tried to sue for copyright infringement of another book about the Enneagram, saying the author was using his own ideas.
Almost everyone interviewed for this ar-
The U.S. Court of Appeals denied
ticle cautioned against free, simple tests
Ichazo his copyright injunction for a le-
that promise to help you “Find Your En-
gally interesting reason: The Enneagram
neagram Type” (Heuertz said they tend
of Personality wasn’t an invention he’d
to be loaded with racial bias and cultural
created, but a discovery he had merely
assumptions, and focus on personality
observed. He could no more copyright
rather than essence.). As one person—
who wished to remain anonymous—told
In the eyes of the U.S. legal system—as
me, “Finding your Enneagram type is like
well as those of a growing generation of
trying mushrooms for the first time. You
devotees—the Enneagram is more than
don’t want to do it alone.”
a personality test, a life tool or even an
Instead, try finding a certified Enneagram coach in your area who can meet
area of study. It is, above all, a fact of life.
T YLER HUCK A BEE lives in Nashville and is a contributing editor at RELEVANT.
THE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM
THE MODERN ENNEAGRAM
DON RISO & RUSS HUDSON
KACIE BERGHOEF & MELANIE BELL
Considered the Bible of modern Enneagram texts, Riso and Hudson’s academic study is definitely a deep dive into the Enneagram of Personality, but it’s fastidiously researched and surprisingly practical.
A hyper practical read, with plenty of anecdotes and illustrations to help the more laborious points of the Enneagram go down easier, this is a good introduction for someone who remains a little skeptical about the whole thing.
COIN They deliver one of the best shows in rock, but behind the performance is a fresh outlook and a community of fans. BY T Y L E R D A S W I C K
WHEN BANDS PERFORM LIVE, playing
working through is impressive, but COIN’s
last year’s performance at Atlanta music
new music is a big risk. The crutch of
always come across sharper than their
festival Music Midtown. COIN realized for
familiarity, that oh-my-goodness-they’re-
sometimes “aw-shucks” sound portrays.
the first time people were singing along to
right-in-front-of-us crowd energy goes
Their live shows, for instance, flex
out the window in favor of a bold all-in
some serious adult muscle. The songs
“It was the biggest crowd we had
gamble: Will the fans go for these, too?
might be boyfriend material, but these
ever played for independently, where
guys are husband-material performers.
people had showed up to see us,” Winnen
(aptly titled) How Will You Know If You
Touring their second studio album,
Lawrence leaps and clambers all over the
says. “It’s hard to describe it. It felt real.
Never Try, COIN played aggressively, but
stage, but he doesn’t waste a step. Behind
Hearing that many people sing a song we
they never bluffed. The Nashville band
him, Zachary Dyke (bass), Joe Memmel
wrote a year before ... was really special.”
shredded their new stuff. They put up.
(guitar) and Winnen are dynamic
They want their fans to do the same.
supplements. They’re crisp, but they
live music is supposed to be: responsive
know when to flip the switch. These guys
and communal. They see some of their
fans line up outside a venue the day of
“Watching people cling to this new music and feel it for the first time is surreal,” lead vocalist Chase Lawrence
Putting together such a calculated rock
The band realized that’s exactly what
a set and stick their phones through the
says. “You forget about the power of live
show takes hours of refinement, and
doorway to record the rehearsal and
shows. In the past, [the crowd] would be
that’s what COIN did. For the new tour,
learn the songs they haven’t heard yet.
like, ‘Can you play ‘Talk Too Much’ one
they put in a steady 72-hour week of
Those fans go absolutely nuts during the
more time?’ but it’s cool to see people
rehearsal sessions, going nonstop for 12
attracted to something they’ve never
hours at a time. All the practice is about
Of course, “Talk Too Much,” the band’s
Live music is at its best when the crowd takes ownership over the band and
“It’s planning for the worst, and the
treats it as their own. That’s a community,
most popular song and far-and-away
worst does happen every once in a while,
and that community gives the band space
most streamed on Spotify, was a staple
but we’re totally ready for it,” Lawrence
to just stop trying so hard.
of the new set list. But so was the non-
says. “We’re open to anything, but in an
COIN’s new music is simpler, a
album single “Growing Pains,” released in
ideal world, I would like to keep [things]
self-described “de-evolution” back to
February. “Growing Pains” keeps up the
pretty structured in my brain because I’m
something less meticulous. They say it’s
group’s smirking lyrical style and color-
not trying to freak out in front of a bunch
the least over-thought thing they’ve ever
blast pop hooks; it’s fun but savvy. The
done. “Growing Pains” released more-
band has found its lane. That took some time. COIN’s 2015
“The preparation allows us to provide
or-less in demo form, and while they
the energy that we do,” Winnen adds.
acknowledge the risk in that, they find it
self-titled debut established the formula,
“Because if we weren’t so well-rehearsed
but didn’t innovate much past the
going into this tour ... we wouldn’t be able
introduction of the group. Nothing’s
to exert ourselves and play so mindlessly,
have treated this song like it’s the only
wrong with it, but nothing aims to kick
one that exists,” Lawrence says. “You get
your ear off, either. How Will You Know
“A year ago, even six months ago, we’d
COIN compares live shows to muscle
so deep and feel so much pressure, you
If You Never Try pushes more chips to the
memory. If you don’t have to think about
just have to surrender. We realized it’s
center of the table. It’s a leap ahead.
the music, you can think about the crowd.
just a song, another piece of the puzzle.
You can make room for spontaneity and
We didn’t think twice about it.”
“You don’t want to throw out the playbook altogether, but you do have to
randomness and insanity. In the past,
COIN is done playing it safe. Now
reinvent,” drummer Ryan Winnen says.
randomness was cruel, like when the
they’re dealing. Time to call their bet.
“We know the moments our consistent
venue manager at their first live show
fans like, and we know what will excite
told them they needed to quiet down or
the new people, too.”
when animatronic wolves started howling
For a 6-year-old band to place its focus
in the middle of a casino set in Vegas (yep,
on the subtleties instead of the broad
that happened). Now, randomness takes
creative steps most groups their age are
the shape of more pleasant surprises, like
T YLER DASWICK is RELEVANT’s senior writer. He’s on Twitter @TylerDaswick.
Aubrey Plaza From Parks and Recreation to Legion, Aubrey Plaza is creating characters we never knew we needed. BY T Y L E R H U C K A B E E
IT’S HARD TO SAY MUCH ABOUT AUBREY
to take some slow, lurching steps toward
PLAZA’S character on Legion without
progress, Plaza seems uniquely poised
veering into spoilers. She plays Len-
for a new cultural norm: One in which
ny, an ostensible friend of David Haller
the broad spectrum of mental and emo-
(Dan Stevens). But she also might not be
tional health is more fairly and accurate-
a friend. She might not even be a she.
ly represented. Slowly, with performanc-
We’re not even 100 percent confident
es like hers, the stigma around these
that she’s real. If that sounds a little
issues is beginning to fade.
weird, well, that’s the kind of show Le-
She created and perfected a certain
gion is, which is why Plaza is so supreme-
kind of character whose necessity in the
ly well-suited for it.
pop culture canon seemed obvious the
After nearly a decade of playing qui-
moment Plaza filled it. A sort of bizarro
etly odd people whose weirdness makes
counterpart to the manic pixie dream
them feel somehow more relatable, Pla-
girl (the manic impish goth girl?), whose
za’s left of center sensibilities are start-
effortless charm flowed from her lack of
ing to feel mainstream. As society’s un-
interest in charming anyone at all. She
derstanding of mental health is starting
plays the sort of person who was too cool
“I want to make a movie and star in a movie that is so specifically my sense of humor that no one else could have made it.” to be a nerd but was always more popular on Tumblr than in real life. That’s the space that Aubrey Plaza fills, and it’s why you think you know her. “I think they would be surprised to see how different I am from those characters,” Plaza says of her fans. “But they’ll never get to see it because I will never show that.” She has a quick, self-deprecating wit that she uses during conversational lulls and anytime she feels like she might have said something too revealing. She has a keen understanding of her place in Hollywood, right now—as one of the breakout stars of a beloved sitcom; as the most fascinating character on Legion, one of current TV’s most fascinating shows; as a high-profile woman in an industry currently under an enormous amount of scrutiny for how it treats women; and as an actress building a singularly astonishing resume of excellent, low-flying indie oddball films like Ingrid Goes West and Safety Not Guaranteed. But she’s also got an eye on where she wants to be. And while a lot of that will involve her hustle, talent and rare ability to play characters with atypical mental and emotional lives, it’s also going to involve an even brighter spot-
light. In Hollywood, self-promotion and
of deadpan delivery. She became an
Olsen. Ingrid’s obsession drives her to
talking about yourself are part of the
avatar of a new wave of 20-somethings
the brink and well past it, toward an
job, and most celebrities are naturals at
who rolled their eyes at stereotypical
inevitably grim conclusion. It’s a state-
it. Plaza is not.
millennial trends like yoga and would
ment about the interplay between our
laugh in your face if you suggested get-
own emotional stability and how social
me to talk about what I’m doing, so I
ting an Acai bowl.
media can set it reeling, and Plaza’s
have a positive attitude about it,” she
“The more complicated the part, the
performance anchors the whole thing,
says. “But I did have a period of time
better for me,” she says. “I’m really at-
making Ingrid a sympathetic charac-
where I had to kind of get over my neg-
tracted to characters that have a lot of
ter without glossing over her very real
ativity. I mean, it’s so cool that anyone
steps and a lot of complexity. I’m not
issues. It’s the sort of role that would
cares, and that anyone wants to hear
interested in playing one-dimensional
have been all but unimaginable just a
about what’s happening. So, I try to
few years ago.
just focus on that but”—here, she starts
The relative mental and emotional
laughing—“I hate it.”
stability of our media figures can lead
SHE IS LEGION
to those with some sort of mental health
“I think roles for women are becoming
A WALK IN THE PARK
issue—all 42.5 million of them—feeling
more interesting and more complex,”
About one in five Americans wrestle
even more ostracized than they already
with some sort of mental health issue,
do. But there are signs that the tide is
That’s good news for women who
according to Substance Abuse and Men-
shifting, Jamie Tworkowski, founder of
tal Health Services Administration’s
To Write Love on Her Arms, an organi-
characters and right now, Plaza is play-
most recent study. That’s about 42.5
zation that helps people struggling with
ing one of the most bonkers on televi-
million people with issues that run the
sion. There is nothing and no one else
gamut from depression and anxiety to
“I think we do get to see a lot of ev-
on television or any medium quite like
things like bipolar disorder. And while
idence of change, a lot of positive
Lenny, and Plaza makes sure of it with
Americans themselves have grown
change,” he told RELEVANT on the 10-
a performance that is in turns warm,
more comfortable with discussing their
year anniversary of his organization.
ferocious, creepy and agonizing.
mental health (nearly half of everyone
“Sometimes it comes at a cost. I mean,
The show centers on David, a man in
in America with a reported mental
Rick and Kay Warren [the pastor of
a mental institution trying to deal with
health issue now receives treatment—a
Saddle Creek Church and his wife who
his strange visions about him having
number that’s been creeping upwards
lost their son Matthew to suicide] are
immense power. Or are the visions ac-
over the last decade), the representa-
an incredible example of choosing to
tually memories? A team of strangers
tion of people with mental health is-
use their platform, their audience, their
seems to believe he’s actually a huge-
sues on screen has been virtually nil
voice to say, ‘Hey, this conversation
ly powerful mutant, and David starts
or, even worse, fraught with offensive
needs to be had.’”
to think they might be right—or, then
stereotypes. It does not bode well for
It’s one thing to say it, but it’s another
again, they might all be in his head.
the country that millions of Americans’
thing to actually show mental health as
“It feels like a very trippy, Kubrick-es-
most regular interaction with a person
being a regular, ongoing part of people’s
que, psychological thriller,” Plaza says.
on the autistic spectrum is Big Bang
lives, and that’s why on-screen represen-
There are also some dance sequenc-
Theory’s Sheldon, for example.
tation matters so much. Netflix’s recent
es (yes, dance sequences) that lend a
And that’s where Plaza comes in.
hit 13 Reasons Why was a big step in the
surreal layer to an already very surre-
She was memorable in early roles on
right direction, as was FX’s surprise hit
al show. This is a show that takes place
Funny People and Scott Pilgrim vs. the
You’re the Worst, but Plaza’s poised to
largely within the minds of its cast,
World, two films stuffed with memo-
own the lane in a unique way.
and those minds are varying degrees
rable actors, but Parks and Rec—no
Take the darkly comic Ingrid Goes
of healthy. Mental health is something
slouch in the memorable cast depart-
West, in which Plaza plays the title
Plaza thinks about a lot. You sort of
ment itself—is where she made a name
character, who becomes obsessed with
have to, to hear her tell it.
for herself as an unparalleled master
an Instagram star played by Elizabeth
“I struggle just as much as the next
“I’m so grateful that anyone wants
person with anxiety and depression,”
But being in Los Angeles has con-
she says. “And I have a really hard time
things like depression to just “focus on
vinced her to start taking better care of
God.” But as psychologist and author
her own mental health, whenever she
She says she’s a workaholic, and that’s
Dan Allender explains, “The problem
can. And her family? Well, they’re com-
part of it, but she’s also open about the
with the ‘focus on God alone’ trope is
nature of the job she’s in.
that it is not the primary message of
“It’s just not the Delaware way,” she
“I think there’s kind of a lot of nega-
Scripture ... It is not that we are to focus
says. “But they’re definitely cool with it.
tivity, and a lot of kind of b******t that
on God and thus achieve mental health,
goes on out here,” she says. “Movie sets
it is that God enters the fray of mental
especially can get really hectic and real-
complexity and makes His home not
MY BILLY MADISON MOMENT
ly toxic really fast.”
only among us but in us.”
“I’d really love to make my Billy Madi-
This isn’t just true of Hollywood. Dai-
But there are real ways to manage
son movie,” Plaza says. “I need my Billy
ly life in America is not conducive to a
mental health, and the more stressful
Madison moment. That’s what I want.”
healthy mental perspective, and it’s get-
and toxic your own environment is, the
Aubrey Plaza is entering that rarified
ting worse. According to the American
more important it is to make them part
strata of stardom where you’re given
Psychological Association, boomers on
of your daily life.
a lot of leeway to what you want to do
average rate their stress level at 4.3 on
“I kind of prioritize the work over
and for Plaza, that means writing her
a scale of 1 to 10. Millennials rank their
everything else,” Plaza says. “So, some-
version of Billy Madison.
stress at 6, and overall, the majority of
times my health suffers from that.
“I want to make a movie and star in
Americans say that stress has a nega-
When I’m not doing that, I just try to re-
a movie that is so specifically my sense
tive impact on their mental and even
ally be gentle with myself, and just do
of humor that no one else could have
a lot of restorative things as much as I
made it,” she says, her voice brimming with conviction. “That’s something I really ad-
“It’s so cool that anyone cares and that anyone wants to hear what’s happening. So I try to focus on that, but I hate it.”
mire about Adam Sandler is just no one else could’ve made that movie. It’s just so weird and ridiculous and amazing. I just respect that so much. I would love to make a big comedy that’s all me.” It’s easy to see why Plaza looks to Sandler as inspiration. Both have a knack for crafting lovably anti-social outcasts who seem to be at their best
While there’s no one root cause of
can. It sounds really L.A. to say that but,
when they’re furthest left of center. Both
mental unwellness, the situation is ex-
it’s true. I need to go on a hike every
are famous for finding the warm heart
acerbated by our lack of understanding
now and then to just clear my mind.”
of cool personalities and deploying em-
about how to handle it. Simplistic ad-
It wasn’t always this way. Plaza says
pathy for them in surprising ways.
vice (“Cheer up!”) and ignorant ques-
growing up in Delaware, her Irish Cath-
Plaza wants to introduce the world to
tions (“Why are you so anxious?”) lead
olic family wasn’t interested in “restor-
characters who can’t be stigmatized and
to a further stigmatization of people
ative things.” “I did not grow up going
don’t fall into easy tropes. That’s a major
with mental health issues.
to therapy,” she laughs. “We didn’t talk
part of the conversation around mental
Many churches are notorious for
about our feelings.”
and emotional health—that people can
Dan Stevens (L) and Aubrey Plaza (R) try to sort out what’s real and what’s not in FX’s Legion.
look, feel and act differently, and it’s OK.
dler and Plaza all displaying an em-
the day—are drawn to authenticity and
“It’s all about trying to find the hu-
pathetic gift for portraying characters
to confidence,” she continues. “I think
man, relatable side of those charac-
outside the norm with genuine emo-
that focusing on your weight or your
ters,” she says. “All I have to work with
tion. By taking on complex characters
looks or whatever is just a distraction.
is myself, my own life experience, my
who don’t easily fit any predetermined
It’s like, you can be successful exactly
own memories, and my own approach
bubble, Plaza is helping the rest of us
the way you are if you’re just yourself
and take on the world. So even if a
feel better about our own lack of labels.
character does things I would never do,
It’s more authentic than the packages
She pauses, and then sighs. “I feel
I still try to find ways to be compassion-
we’re often handed by pop culture. In
like I read Meryl Streep say that some-
ate toward the characters and to under-
fact, Plaza says, that’s what she’d tell
stand where they’re coming from.”
herself if she could go back 10 years ago
Comedians have been ahead of this
and talk to that girl in Delaware before
curve for a while, with performers like
Apatow, Poehler and Legion changed
Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, Carol
Burnett, Chris Gethard and, yes, San-
“I think that people—at the end of
T YLER HUCK A BEE lives in Nashville and is a contributing editor at RELEVANT.
TRAVE L: TH E LOST S PI RITUAL D I SCI PLI N E
BY A N D R E H E N RY
Throughout the Bible, Godâ€™s people understood the spiritual importance of travel. What happened ?
he air is unusually cold for Austin
unique experiences with people and
the living God, suggests author Dr.
in March, even for nighttime, as the
nature will teach you things about
Todd Johnson, a professor and theolo-
woman-fronted Nashville hard-rock
yourself and you will be growing as a
outfit known as Bully takes the stage
person. Then that growth will shape
Johnson knows a lot about pilgrim-
at one of South by Southwest’s pre-
how you view everything else and live
age. Along with being the spiritual
mier stages: Mohawk Outdoor. But
your daily life.”
director and a professor of clinical
the crowd is warm—in part because
Research shows that travel is good
psychology at Fuller Theological Semi-
so many bodies are crammed into the
for us. A study from the Global Com-
nary, he leads a group of students from
space between the bar and the stage
mission on Aging and several oth-
Pasadena, California, to Orvieto, Italy,
but also from excitement. They’ve
er groups found that travel reduces
for an immersion course on the prac-
come literally from around the world,
stress long term and vacationing more
tice of worship and prayer. Tradition-
making a pilgrimage to this city of art
frequently is linked to significantly
ally, he says, pilgrimage was a big deal,
and weirdos for moments like the ones
lower risks of heart attacks.
and in some smaller religious circles,
they are about to experience.
Research in the Academy of Manage-
it still is.
All around the space, pilgrims are
ment Journal linked travel to increased
“Pilgrimage in the early churches
enraptured: lifting their hands, sway-
professional creativity. Researchers at
was big business,” he explains. “And
ing, some even doing the zulu jump.
Cornell University found that “expe-
what happened was, people would
They haven’t gathered for a sermon,
riential purchases” (like taking trips)
travel to Jerusalem during Holy Week,
but to experience something transfig-
“tend to provide more enduring hap-
[and] they would literally re-enact the
urative. They need this.
piness than material purchases.”
events of that week beginning with
“Being in crowds, large or small,
But what if travel is better than just
Palm Sunday and ending with the res-
and feeling the music together; singing
good for us? What if travel helps us
urrection. You still see this [during]
along to your favorite tunes to me is
Holy Week. You see pictures in the
one of the great unifying experiences
newspaper of people being nailed to a
of our lives,” says 27-year-old Devon
GOING UP TO JERUSALEM
cross, carrying a cross in the street. For
Bailey, who moved to Austin because
In the Old Testament, God commands
the most part, however, in evangelical
of its music scene. “Few things can
the Israelites to observe a rhythm of
and broad society, [pilgrimage is] not
bring strangers together.”
travel. Three times a year, they are
a big deal.”
Festivals like SXSW combine a
instructed to make a pilgrimage to Je-
But if travel is important enough
unique experience with a unique
rusalem and feast together. The com-
that God commanded the Israelites
place. One way or another, no one
mand makes feast time for them—like
to do it somewhat regularly, and has
leaves a gathering like this unchanged.
festival time for us—set apart time in
been so integral to the people of God in
“A concert is an invitation to just
the sacred space of Jerusalem. Imag-
centuries past, then it seems the peo-
pause and share something power-
ining those ancient worshippers on
ple of God today may stand to benefit
ful with others,” Bailey says. “You’re
the road to Jerusalem, singing psalms
from learning to travel as a sacred act.
transported with others to a place of
(there are certain psalms specifically
designated for this trip in the Bible)
GOING TOWARD SOMETHING
But it’s more than being at a con-
as they go, one can imagine all of the
For various reasons, taking a pilgrim-
cert; it’s about being in a new place,
same benefits that exist in travel in
age of that kind is not an option for
with new people, sharing new things.
general being present in pilgrimage.
many modern-day sojourners. But to-
That inherent transformative pow-
Pilgrimage breaks the rhythms of
day’s pilgrims can still participate in
er of travel is something travel evan-
ordinary life, calls people out of their
the essence of what a pilgrimage is, no
gelists rave about. Professional pho-
normal surroundings, invites them to
matter where they travel.
tographer Kevin Russ, who travels
gather with people of distant tribes
extensively in his work, says, “Trav-
who they don’t see regularly and to
eling is the best way I’ve found to get
experience the most transfigurative
me out of my comfort zone. New and
experience imaginable: meeting with
Pilgrimages look different to different people. Travel
spends his time helping people expe-
rience what he calls “transformative
they’re in the cold, they want to go
locate people as a spiritual practice.
travel.” His company All Bhutan Trav-
to where it’s warm, and if they’re in
And it’s successful because it helps you
el focuses mainly on bringing people
a remote place they want to go to the
come back and see your own world
to Bhutan, a tiny country in South Asia,
city. Usually it’s just getting away from
more differently. But it’s not that
where sojourners “almost inevitably
what you’re lacking; as opposed to go-
you’re going to a more sacred ground,
have a profound transformative expe-
ing toward something.”
but you’re just seeing the world from a
rience ... due to the uniqueness of the
A pilgrimage is not necessarily
Himalayan mountains and the nature
about the destination but about inten-
in Bhutan,” he says.
tion, says Dr. Laura Harbert, clinical
TRAVELING OUT OF
He says traveling with spiritual in-
psychologist and dean of the chapel
tentionality is very different from just
and spiritual formation at Fuller Theo-
changes that come from a habit of
“The idea of sojourn and pilgrimage
“Spiritually, pilgrimage has to do
dislocating ourselves as a spiritual
and embarking on a travel adventure
with the spiritual benefit of being on
practice addresses one of the greatest
or a quest of sorts has always been
a spiritual journey for the specific
threats to spiritual maturity: self-cen-
what’s kind of motivated my love for
purpose of looking for God,” she says.
teredness. That is, the tendency to see
travel,” he explains. “To leave the com-
“And I don’t think that has to be in The
one’s self and one’s experiences as the
forts of where you are at home to go
Holy Land or walking the 500-mile El
focal point around which all other
somewhere unknown and unseen and
Camino de Santiago. But I think we can
people and experiences are organized.
uncertain … to me, that has always
take a pilgrimage to my grandfather’s
“We have to get dislocated [to solve]
been the core of what sets adventure
cemetery. We take a pilgrimage when
that thing that happens,” Harbert says.
or spiritual travel apart from vacation-
we go anywhere with the purpose of
“We fall into spiritual complacency,
ing or escaping—[the things] you don’t
wanting to notice God. It just needs to
or a rut or a rigidity [of thinking] that
like. It’s really about going in search of
[our] social location is everything. I do
something and you don’t always know what that is.” When talking about his work, he
Regardless of where you choose to
think there is that experience of trav-
go, she says, the important thing is that
el that dislocates us. To me, there is
you choose to go.
something so essential about the spiri-
echoes a familiar theme: “I think the
Johnson points to the common
difference between conventional va-
thread that ties together very different
cationing [and a pilgrimage] is that
types of trips as sacred travel.
tual life that has to do with that.” The idea is this: We are all shaped by our locations—the countries we
[vacationing is] not as aware and con-
“I think that pilgrimage is like [what
grew up in, the values our parents
scious or as intentional as a transfor-
we do in] youth ministry,” he says, ref-
instilled in us, the times in which we
mative travel experience that we de-
erencing contemporary Christianity’s
live, all of these shape our identity and
signed would be,” he says.
short-term mission trip trend. “We
how we view the world.
“People vacationing, their motive
take them on mission trips. We take
But many people are as aware of
is what they’re escaping from. So if
plunges. We go to Appalachia. We dis-
their location as a fish is of the fact that
Packing for your pilgrimage:
4. ONE LONG BOOK
5. NOT MUCH ELSE
This is the most obvious
Take a few minutes to
Either invest in a nice
You know that
Part of the point of a
one, so let’s get this out
put together a Spotify
journal or pull out
pilgrimage is to put
of the way. Reading
playlist of songs that
that one you bought
book you have on
yourself in disruptive
your Bible while
get you feeling some
back in 2013 but never
your shelf that you’ve
situations, so you’ll be
traveling can open you
sort of way. Craft a
got around to writing
heard is amazing, life
doing yourself a favor
up to fresh insights
soundtrack for your
anything in. Challenge
changing, but keep
to leave behind as
you’ve missed before.
yourself to write
procrastinating on? It’s
many comforts of home
Bring it and read it.
something every day.
now or never.
as you can.
it lives underwater. We live as though
grabbed my arm and said, ‘Oh my God!
our location is the default context of
It’s so ... Jewish. And she finally got it:
life, and we think of our experience
Jesus was a first-century Galilean Jew.
THE GREAT PILGRIMAGE
within that context as “normal.”
So this sense of ‘otherness’ helped her
“I think if there’s a common gather-
understand God—in both His familiar-
ing space for evangelical Christians,
ity and His unfamiliarity.”
it’s the great by-and-by,” says Johnson.
This narrow view of the world can express itself in different forms of prejudice, superiority and fear of
“That’s the Promised Land for us. And
those who live outside of our location.
(commonly known as “holiness”) is
it disconnects us from physical reality.”
Traveling creates space to encounter
one of God’s most essential descriptors
But the idea of pilgrimage reminds
the unfamiliar—“the other.” This, ac-
throughout Scripture. When people
us it is a biblical concept that geo-
cording to renowned author and Catholic priest Father James Martin, is a critical part of why travel is so important spiritually. “One of the most consistent commands in the Old Testament and New Testament is to welcome the stranger,” Martin says. “And that has very important implications for refu-
“Spiritually, pilgrimage has to do with the spiritual benefit of being on a spiritual journey for the specific purpose of looking for God.” – Dr. Laura Harbert
gees and migrants. In fact, Jesus says explicitly in the Gospel of Matthew that ‘when you welcome the stranger, you
encounter God in the Bible, they en-
graphic space—just a car ride or plane
welcome me’ and pilgrimage brings us
counter the unfamiliar: a voice coming
flight away—can be imbued with God’s
in contact with people who—at least
from a bush on fire, a visit from a fear-
presence, which is why God can tell
on the surface—seem strange to us.”
some-looking angel, a man who opens
the Israelites essentially, “Meet me in
the eyes of the blind.
Jerusalem in spring.”
He says there are even evangelistic implications to this approach.
Pilgrimage brings us deeper into
“When I was in East Africa, we were
looking for the presence of God—we
time and space, into the very defin-
told that the old view of work of peo-
learn to celebrate that which is unusu-
ing characteristics of earthly life, to
ple sent overseas was to help bring
al to us, realizing that difference is the
find God there. And oftentimes, to our
God to the people,” Martin says. “But
essence of God.
surprise, we find that God is in those
the new work is to help people see that
Harbert points to the doctrine of the
seemingly mundane places: under the
Incarnation as a biblical example of
concert lights in Austin, in the foothills
Father Martin remembers an exam-
this idea in action. She suggests even
of Bhutan, on a prayerful walk down
ple of the revelatory power of travel
though God couldn’t be more different
the shore of Daytona Beach.
on a recent trip to the Mount of Ol-
from us, God moved toward “the oth-
ives in Jerusalem.
er”—that is, humanity—in the person
God is already there.”
“Our tour guide
was a Galilean who spoke Aramaic
Somewhere, outside of our comfort zone, God is waiting to meet us.
and ministry of Jesus.
and at one point, we were in a place
And those who are called to imitate
called the [Church of the] Pater Noster,
Christ can practice that by immersing
where people think Jesus taught [The
themselves in the world of those who
Lord’s Prayer]. And our tour guide be-
are different than themselves. And
gan to sing [it]. And one of the pilgrims
the best way to do that is to go to them
A NDRE HENRY is the managing editor of RELEVANT and tweets @andrehenry.
How Passion Music is challenging the way people think about worship—and God
HEN PASSION MUSIC
The album’s breakout
album was a controversial
starting working on the
single—a worship anthem
one, even among members
songs that would become
called “Reckless Love”—is
of the band.
part of their new album,
now a staple of Sunday
“The first time I heard
Whole Heart, they realized
morning services across
the song I really had issues
they might be fueling a
the country, but the
with it,” says Melodie
decision to include it on the
Malone, who performs lead
vocals on it. “I was like, ‘Wait
beginning, trying to
can we actually say this? Is
express God’s deep
that the proper word to use
sense of love for His
children has been
First written by Cory
“WE HOPE THAT PEOPLE WOULD ENCOUNTER JESUS. THAT’S OUR HOPE AND PRAYER, REALLY FOR EVERYBODY.” BRETT YOUNKER
part of the mission
Asbury, who is a member of
of their ministry,
comes with no conditions / You
the Bethel Music Collective,
which reaches hundreds of
gave us Your whole heart,’” he
the song has been the subject
thousands of young adults
explains. “He gave us Jesus,
that has its share of catchy
of a theological dust-up, with
the one son He loved … God
choruses and emotional praise
loves us and has pursued us
anthems. But what Passion
bloggers, pastors and writers
For singer Brett Younker,
way in the days of Passion.” Whole Heart is an album
debating whether or not
realizing that God’s love is so
and has good things intended
is doing is much bigger than
calling God’s love “reckless”
for our lives.”
music. They are on a mission
actually crosses the line from
what served as inspiration for
provocative to heretical.
But after reflecting on it,
“We are always going to
Passion is a worship
to challenge how people think
collective that serves as the
about God and Jesus—even
musical arm of the wildly
if it ruffles some theological
Malone and the band came
sing songs about the Cross,”
popular Passion movement,
feathers along the way—so
to the conclusion that not
he says. “We’re always going
a series of global conferences
they can truly experience who
only is “Reckless Love” a
to sing songs about the love
led by Atlanta’s Passion
perfect encapsulation of their
of God, surrender, worship,
City Church pastor Louie
approach to worship, but it
worshipping God.” But when
Giglio that brings together
encounter Jesus,” Younker
also gets to the heart of the
Younker and the team began
20-somethings and college
explains. “That’s our hope and
album and what Passion is
selecting songs for Whole
students, united with the
prayer, really for everybody:
trying to do.
Heart, a specific theme began
mission of “worship, prayer
That these songs would lift
and justice for spiritual
your eyes off of yourself; you
awakening in this generation.”
would lift up your eyes off of
“The song is not saying that God is reckless,” she explains.
“God gives His love without
“It’s just saying that when you
any condition,” he says when
look at His love for us—and
“We hope that people would
The Passion movement
what’s going on today, and
asked about the underlying
isn’t simply about a worship
that you would see a great
how we picture love—it does
idea of the album. “It’s a
service or creating popular
God in heaven: Jesus, who
seem kind of reckless.”
powerful thought to think
worship music. It’s about
loves you and has a plan and
that God would initiate a
trying to show people God’s
a purpose for you and has
of the Lost Sheep, in which
relationship with every single
love for them in such a
invited all of us into the story.
Jesus compares Himself to a
one of us whether or not we
powerful way that it not only
shepherd who leaves a flock
decide to be a part of that
makes them want to worship
begin to mean something to
of 99 sheep to go after one
relationship or not.”
God, but also change their
people because they have
lives so others can experience
She refers to the Parable
that is lost. “In human perspective,
The concept is not only at the core of a song like
that sense of reckless love too.
that does seem somewhat
“Reckless Love,” but also in
reckless,” she explains.
the album’s title track, which
“Because you’re thinking,
features vocals by Younker
for these students and for us
well what about the 99? But
and Kristian Stanfill.
who are leading the way,” says
that just goes to show how much God loves us.” From the
“We are praying these songs
“Passion is such a
“That’s why that line in
singer Sean Curran. “We meet
the chorus says ‘Your love it
with Jesus in such a powerful
JESSE CAREY is the brand director at RELEVANT. You can find him on Twitter @jessecarey.
H OW TO KN OW IF ITâ€™S TIME FOR A CAR E E R R E B OOT BY TYLER DASWI CK
Millennials job-hop more than any other generation, but how do you know when it’s time to move on? CRITICS MIGHT SAY 20-somethings are non-
business, entrepreneurial and vocational
committal, but a less negative term might be
experts to lend their advice and wisdom on
restless or dynamic. Studies show workers in
how to know when it’s time to take a risk
their 20s and 30s tend to hold onto a job for
and go your own way.
about two years. Why all the movement in this season of life?
something that develops and lasts.” — Simon Sinek, best-selling author of Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last
Here are nine ways to know if it might be
the right time to move on to another career
Data says money could be a factor. A job
change brings an average pay increase of 8 to 10 percent—not bad—but Forbes has
written that staying with an employer more than two years could cost you a startling 50 percent loss in total lifetime wages. LinkedIn, however, speculates the real
YOU’RE NOT BEING CHALLENGED
YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A COMPANY THAT REFLECTS YOUR VALUES
“I wanted a place where every single day I came to work, I was in a community
“If we come to work and no
that held the same things in importance
longer feel challenged, we
that I do. Part of [Patagonia’s] culture is
reason millennials subject themselves to
lose the desire to learn and stop caring what
actively working to protect family, and
turnover could be a more intentional pursuit
anyone else is doing. Then, not only do we
wild and outdoor places, but also collecting
of a fulfilling career rather than settling
risk getting bored, we start to become bitter
experiences with your children or people
for a good-enough job. Their data shows
and angry whenever we are asked to do
you work with. That’s what’s important
those who landed in fields with limited
more than our job specifics.
to me, and it’s connected both. It’s more
upward mobility, like media, education
“When that happens, it may be time to
and government work, skipped off to more
start exploring a career with a steep learning
jobs in their first five post-graduate years
curve, something exciting, something that
than those who landed in steady, vertically
inspires us to want to learn more.
inclined fields, like finance and energy. The takeaway: The pursuit of a
than just cramming money in your bank account.” — Dean Carter, vice president of human resources, Patagonia
“There is one caveat, however. The joy of a career comes, in part, from being
YOU’RE JUST PLAIN BORED
meaningful work life is normal and—now
passionate about whatever it is you do.
more than ever—expected (CareerBuilder
When we have passion for something we
says 45 percent of employers assume hired
want to be challenged, and if you’re not
college grads will stay less than two years).
feeling challenged within the first year or
Even so, knowing when to jump ship from
two of your job, odds are you were never
in market research, but meanwhile,
your current endeavor can be difficult to
passionate about it in the first place, or you
beekeeping was opening my eyes to nature
discern. RELEVANT gathered a panel of
haven’t given it enough time. Passion is
within London. It made my daily commute
OUR REBOOT EXPERTS
“I was missing adventure and change. I worked
Vice president of human
Founder of Hive &
Author of You’re Made
Keeper honey company
for a God-Sized Dream
much more interesting—I noticed the
beyond our everyday roles and
happy and fulfilled, I needed [to have]
weather and seasons more—but it also
responsibilities. When we’re in that
highlighted how awful it was being in
sweet spot, we’re aligned with God’s
an office all day at a computer with
design in the closest way we can
standards, and I have exceptionally
artificial lighting. I began to feel caged.
experience, and seeking out ways to
high expectations for what should
spend more time in our sweet spot can
be delivered to customers through
couldn’t do something, that someone
not only boost our personal well-being,
a business, but I think the biggest
else would do it better or that if it was
but also glorify God and benefit others.
obstacle is fear. The unknown is
“I learned to stop assuming that I
a good idea it would have been done
“Start by asking, ‘What are the
“I’ve always had very high
always more fear-invoking than the
already. Lots of people have ideas but
moments when I feel most alive?
known, even if the known is not
not many follow them up. Left to sit
[What compliments do I get on] my
ticking all the boxes. I feel really
for long enough, these threads gave
character, relationships or actions?’
unhappy when my standards aren’t
me the idea for Hive & Keeper, and the
These will give you an understanding
met, but a friend said to me, ‘Fear is a
enthusiasm to embrace it.
of your strengths. Keep a notebook
choice.’ I love that.”
“Selling something you believe in is
and write down those moments and
— Marcia Kilgore, entrepreneur and
an incredible feeling. You have both
look for patterns. Ask God to give you
founder of five companies, including
freedom from corporate politics and
eyes to see what He has placed within
Bliss and FitFlop
the opportunity to embrace adventure.
you. This will not lead to pride. It
When something goes well, it’s your
will lead to praise. ‘I will praise you
because I have been remarkably and
— Emily Abbott, entrepreneur and founder of Hive & Keeper honey company
wondrously made’ (Psalm 139:14).” — Holley Gerth, life coach and
“It’s more likely than
author of You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream
YOUR BOSS ISN’T TEACHING YOU
YOU’RE NOT PLAYING TO YOUR STRENGTHS “There are seasons
when we’ll not be in the center of
not you’re going to work for a bad manager at some point. Gallup says that 70 percent of
YOU’RE NOT MEETING YOUR OWN STANDARDS
managers are terrible [Ed: Gallup estimates that 70 percent of employees say they’re disengaged at work due to poor leadership, and reports that
“For me, following
82 percent of managers don’t have
what we feel we’re created to be and
the direction of someone else, whose
the right talent for their position]. If
what we’re called to do. This is part of
ideas or judgment I didn’t necessarily
they’re pulling you down and you’re
living in a fallen, broken world, but if
agree with, didn’t seem like a
not learning from them, you need to
this feeling is chronic, it can be time to
sustainable way to exist. I literally
get out quickly.
consider doing something different.
cannot live with subpar customer
“Our sweet spot is who we are
experience. It drives me crazy. So to be
“But you can learn a lot from jerks! I’ve had some jerk managers deliver
OUR REBOOT EXPERTS MARCIA KILGORE
Author of Revealed:
Best-selling author of
founder of five
God’s Will for Your Life
Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last
learning in a really ugly box, but if I focus
and it tends to be administrative. I
on what they’re trying to teach me, it was
needed a place that would let me explore
some of the best advice of my career.
progressive ideas of what HR could do.
Don’t leave the manager who’s teaching
“At Patagonia, I have an open door to
you just because they’re a jerk. It’s when
explore unconventional approaches. I’ve
you’re not growing that you need to
had a lot of free rein to explore and be
innovative in thinking about how to build
— Dean Carter, Patagonia
a different HR. That was really inspiring to me.”
YOUR NUMBERS AREN’T ADDING UP “I would say it took a few years for me to
come to grips with [the money issue], but
— Dean Carter, Patagonia
YOU WANT TO APPLY YOUR SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE ELSEWHERE
Jesus talked a lot about money, and there’s a lot of Scripture that seems to encourage
“The skills we learn in one career are
sitting down with a pencil and paper and
often more transferable than we think.
asking if it really makes sense. I consider
Let’s say someone has been an actor
the Apostle Paul building tents to make
for 10 years and now wants to work in
extra money when the churches weren’t
corporate training. Actors learn the value
of teamwork—they’re only as good as the
“For somebody who wants to build, ask
other people in their cast—and actors
yourself: Do you have enough money to
learn discipline. They have to be ready
build? If not, don’t build it. I was thinking
on opening night. A career in acting
and praying and talking about leaving
gives someone a huge advantage in how
ministry, but I didn’t pull the trigger for
to communicate ideas in a way that are
three years. I wanted to stay away from
compelling to others.
subjective ‘calling’ stuff, and see what the
“The ability to see the skills required
Bible says about the will of God. It came
to do the job will give any candidate the
down to lifestyle choices. If I’m doing
confidence to do something completely
those things God wants me to do, then in
different. The biggest obstacle to
whatever else I do, if it’s within God’s will,
shifting one’s career path is perceived
He’ll open the door for me.”
credibility. Either others will think we
— Charles Specht, former pastor and author of Revealed: God’s Will for Your Life
“Start by asking ‘What are the moments when I feel most alive?’ How do people compliment my character?” – Holley Gerth
are not qualified based on our previous experience, or we doubt our own abilities based on our past experience.
YOU WANT A PLACE THAT REWARDS CREATIVE THINKING “Often, HR tends to
be one of the least dynamic parts of a company. There’s not a lot of innovation,
“Here’s the solution: Get over it.” — Simon Sinek
T YLER DASWICK is RELEVANT’s senior writer. He’s on Twitter @TylerDaswick.
_INSIDE CHIWETEL EJIOFOR AND IRA GLASSâ€™ MOVIE ABOUT THE REAL-LIFE CHRISTIANS WHO BELIEVE IN AN AFTERLIFE WITH NO HELL
HAPPILY EVER AFTER BY JESSE CAREY
ONE NIGHT 15 YEARS AGO, Carlton Pearson was sitting in his home when a news report about starving people in Uganda came on TV. The megachurch pastor began to pray. Pearson, who described himself at the time as a “fundamentalist, Pentecostal, evangelical” Christian, asked God what he could do to help while images of human suffering flashed on the TV screen. God, he says, told him that, well, if Christianity works like he thinks it works, then someone needs to preach the Gospel to unbelievers so they don’t go to hell forever when they die. Pearson’s response? He burst into tears, saying, “God, don’t put that guilt on me … I can’t save the whole world.” What he believes God told him next would alter the course of Pearson’s entire life and serves as the basis of a controversial new film on Netflix called Come Sunday. Pearson says that in the next moment, God told him: “Precisely. You can’t save this whole world; that’s what we did. You think we’re sucking them into hell? Can’t you see they are already there? That’s hell.” In that moment, Carlton Pearson, the host of TBN TV shows, a man who counted Billy Graham and Oral Roberts as close friends—stopped believing that hell was a destination that unbelievers go to when they die. In that same moment, for many in the Church, Carlton Pearson became a heretic. The film version of these events—and their aftermath—features an all-star cast including Jason Segel (as Pearson’s co-pastor and best friend), Martin Sheen (as Oral Roberts), Chiwetel Ejiofor (as Pearson), Danny Glover (as Pearson’s father), Condola Rashad (as Pearson’s wife, Gina) and many others. “This man is a very revered and respected man, who has this crisis in his faith,” Ejiofor explains. “And that juxtaposition—of whether to follow that crisis, to pull that thread, knowing it will cause all of this other chaos—and the sense that one is compelled to do that, because it’s his connection to his own relationship with God that is pushing him forward. … [That’s] very, very fertile grounds for a fascinating character.” But along with examining Pearson’s personal story, the film is concerned with a larger, deeper theme. What happens when someone in the Church does something that jeopardizes the principles of it? How will
a community that’s supposed to be
Christians in the movie when they
there are boogie men and ghosts that
built on the principle of forgiveness
learned of his revelation and heard
will always be there.”
react when a pastor does something
his new unorthodox message. In real
life and in the film, his congregants
themes, Glass says he didn’t have any
tried to convince him to recant his new
interest in making a movie that tried
beliefs, and re-embrace traditional
to convince anyone to believe in any
views about heaven and hell.
kind of doctrine. This is a story that
What happens when someone becomes a heretic? WRESTLING WITH HELL
has no “good guys” or “bad guys.” This
Chiwetel Ejiofor grew up attending
they didn’t react that way and try to
is a story about a deeply conflicted
Catholic church, but admits that as
save him and try to talk him out of it,”
he got older, he “drifted away from
Glass says. “I definitely had sympathy
church.” For him, this film was an
for all the Christians who [didn’t] side
understands we are just as
opportunity to re-engage his own ideas
with Carlton in the story.”
sympathetic to the people who are
about faith. “It was really fascinating for me
Glass—the creator of podcast and radio series This American Life—is a
to approach faith and to approach
producer of the film and based the
religion as an adult again and to
movie on a 2005 episode of the show
reintroduce myself to those ideas of
spirituality broadly,” he says.
The movie, in
For two decades, the critically
many ways, is
acclaimed actor has sought roles
that challenge big ideas and present
in a tension: a
complicated characters like 12 Years a
loving God and
Slave (for which he was nominated for
an eternal hell,
a best actor Oscar), Mary Magdalene
caring for your
(he plays Peter), Children of Men,
pastor but hating
Amistad and dozens of others.
Come Sunday is no different from
those films that wrestle with big,
casting out “false
nuanced themes because it not only
looks at what Pearson went through
“I hope a religious audience
telling Carlton it’s not in the book,” Glass explains. Ejiofor says that he even met Christians who were still sympathetic
“IT WAS REALLY FASCINATING FOR ME TO APPROACH FAITH AND TO APPROACH RELIGION AS AN ADULT AGAIN.” CHIWETEL EJIOFOR
but also his church that went through
Pearson himself lives in a sort of
to Pearson. “I spoke to people who
it as well.
tension. He still wrestles with his
were part of Carlton’s [church], who
were still very close to him but just
“I think that so much of what underpins the story is about
“I’m constantly battling between
don’t worship alongside him or in
community and society and how one
what my mind believes, which is what
the same place,” he says. “They don’t
engages with their fellow man,” Ejiofor
I’ve been taught and told my whole life
hold malice or ill will toward him.
says. “This is an incredible lens with
… and what my soul or maybe my cells
They understand that he went on his
which to look at those relationships
know,” Pearson says, comparing what
journey and for whatever reason they
and just the social interactions of your
he believed for most of his life about
couldn’t follow him on that journey.”
exclusion of salvation through Christ
For producer Ira Glass, truly understanding other Christians’ role in the story was critical.
“They would be terrible people if
Even with the deep theological
and what he now believes. “There’s some permanent iconoclasms in my psyche. Not in my
But depending on who you ask, how the Church has dealt with “heretics” in its midst can sometimes be seen as anything but sympathetic.
“People were being completely
soul but in my thought-life that I don’t
reasonable,” Glass says, when asked
think I’ll ever completely be rid of. So
A HISTORY OF HERETICS
about the reaction of Pearson’s fellow
it’s like living in a haunted house and
In the wake of Pearson announcing
his personal “revelation” to his church, he became something worse than a pariah: He was dangerous. He no longer believed in hell, and others warned, if you joined him in his new worldview, you could risk spending eternity there yourself. Even now, it’s difficult for him to talk about. “My emotions are still pretty raw around it because I suppressed a lot of the details of it,” Pearson says, looking back. “Over the years, it was too painful to accept as my own reality.” It’s a feeling many in Christianity have felt. Historically, the Church has not been kind to its heretics. In the years after Christ, believers openly debated His teachings, while still conscious of His warnings about the dangers of “false teachers.” But in A.D. 385, things took a dark turn as Christianity became more institutionalized. A man named Priscillian began to preach some unorthodox things about the Gospel and was executed after powerful people deemed his beliefs to be too far from conventional understandings about the Bible. He became the first person to die for heretical beliefs. Afterward, violence was a frequent reaction to “heretical” sects that arose on the fringes of Christianity. Starting in the 1400s, the Spanish Inquisition tortured, prosecuted and even publicly executed tens of thousands of individuals suspected of being heretics. Today, heretics within modern American Christianity aren’t likely to face violence or criminal prosecution, but the response within the Church can still be severe. This is partly what was so interesting to Glass. He said when he first researched Pearson’s story for This American Life, he thought, “I didn’t know that’s a thing
In Come Sunday, Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Bishop Carlton Pearson who was tried for heresy in real life.
that happened to adults.”
Director Joshua Marston works with Ejiofor on the set of Come Sunday.
Ejiofor says he understands why religious institutions work the way they do, but that it’s complicated to see
branded as “the next Billy Graham”
solve a problem.”
by TIME magazine when he first
“Like here in the 21st century,
began to make a name for himself
how the outcasting of a member of a
generally if somebody says some stuff
as a fairly conventional pastor. But
church unfolds. “I don’t know where
you don’t like, you just say you think
after the publication of the book Love
one lays the finger of blame, if that’s
they’re wrong, and people stop going
Wins, which also questions traditional
the right expression, of who’s sort of
to their church and they become less
teachings about hell, he, too, drew
at fault,” he says. “The nature of the
popular, and then they have to go
widespread denouncement from major
religious systems and how they come
off into the sunset,” Glass says. “The
about sort of dictates certain positions
technology of discrediting somebody
that are held. And I think that trying to
is not to hold a heresy trial, you
find different interpretations is always
know? It’s to appear on television
Bell, who is the subject of a recent
fraught with complications.”
and denounce them. It’s just using
documentary called The Heretic, says
some very antique technology to kick
his first brush with accusations of
somebody out of the house.”
heresy actually came much earlier. He
Glass said the idea that someone could be essentially kicked out of their religion for thinking certain
the technology of the 14th century to
“Our situation is almost identical,” Pearson says.
If Pearson’s story sounds familiar,
was in his early 30s at the time and
ideas was completely foreign—and
it’s because an extremely similar one
was the pastor of Mars Hill Church,
fascinating—to him and thought there
played out even more recently with
which he had founded.
was something intriguing about “using
another rising star, Rob Bell. He was
“I did a whole series of sermons on
“I HOPE A RELIGIOUS AUDIENCE UNDERSTANDS THAT WE ARE JUST AS SYMPATHETIC TO THE PEOPLE WHO ARE TELLING CARLTON IT’S NOT IN THE BOOK.” IRA GLASS
make a topic like heresy so emotional and to make a place like church so relationally rich, makes the subject at the core of the film—the existence of hell—so opposite of what it has become
women’s equality,” Bell says, looking back. “And I remember a whole
wasn’t to try to prove one side wrong. Instead, the story is about people.
for Christians: polarizing. Instead, they’ve set out to show what
group of people organized to have me
And one of the most important people
it’s like to deal with the issue in a way
removed from the church I started.”
in the story is famed evangelist and
that truly explores the tension of what
university founder Oral Roberts. In
it’s like to deal with a topic with literal
campaign to discredit his teachings.
real life, Roberts was extremely close
“That was probably the first time I was
to Pearson and served as his mentor—
on the receiving end of that particular
that is, before Pearson changed his
evangelicals will know it’s about
venom that people spew when
beliefs about hell.
Bishop Pearson, and they’ll feel like,
Hundreds had orchestrated a
they believe they are defending the
“It was such a central relationship
Almighty,” he remembers.
to Carlton’s life and a relationship
When he concluded the
that brought him so much joy and
“My fear with the film is that
‘I don’t support what he stands for, so I’m not going to see it,’” Glass says. “My hope would be that they would
controversial sermon series, he
connection,” Ejiofor explains. “So to
come out and see it and realize it’s not
decided to hold a Q&A-style event,
have that kind of stripped away as well
just a story about him. It’s a story about
hoping that the open forum would
as everything else was clearly a very
everybody in the Church … We think
foster healthy discussion for people
difficult, very painful experience.”
there should be more stories in the
in his church. Instead, angry critics
Glass recognizes what “a divisive
showed up to express their outrage at
figure among the secular and religious
audiences” Roberts still is, but that’s
about arguing about doctrine; it’s
not the character they wanted to show.
about connecting with people who
“People showed up from other states that weren’t even a part of the church
“We very much were trying to
Ejiofor agrees that the film isn’t
I started,” Bell says. “I was brushing
portray him the way people close to
up against what happens when you
him saw him—really, like to give him
will take away from the story, he says,
think you’re talking about one thing,
credit,” Glass says.
“It’s people’s capacity to change and
but for a number of people, you’re
Glass notes that Roberts was socially
When asked what he hopes people
people’s capacity to connect with one
unsettling an entire framework that
progressive in many ways that are
another—the capacity to have empathy
has political, economic, social [and]
often forgotten in light of the scandals
and engage with other people with
that followed parts of his ministry.
other points of views.”
“He was an early and forceful A HAPPY ENDING?
advocate for integrating the Church
When making this film, Glass and
and getting black people and white
Ejiofor understood just how sensitive
people praying together like way
the issue of heresy—and figures like
before his time,” Glass explains.
Pearson and Bell—can be to many Christians. That’s why their approach
The approach to making a figure like Oral Roberts so down-to-earth, to
It’s a story he believes is important to tell, even if he catches hell for it.
JESSE CAREY is the brand director at RELEVANT. You can find him on Twitter @jessecarey.
Beth Moore, Bree Newsome, Carl Lentz and other leaders are catching heat for speaking their minds.
BY TYLER HUCKABEE
THERE IS ONE IMAGE of Bree Newsome that will
of history has revealed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
outlive the rest. It’s an image you’ve probably
to be a prophet, John Wycliffe to be a genius and
seen. Newsome, a 32-year-old black woman, is
Queen Esther, a liberator. But at the time, they
some 20 feet up the flagpole outside the South
were written off as rabble-rousers, troublemak-
Carolina State House, with Confederate battle
ers and worse.
flag in hand.
“We are convinced that these demonstrations
This was summer 2015, and while most of the
are unwise and untimely,” wrote eight prominent
country was arguing about whether or not the
white pastors in 1963, in response to King’s de-
rebel flag was too offensive to be flown in the
segregation demonstrations in Birmingham, Al-
country, Newsome and a friend took matters into
abama. “A cause should be pressed in the courts
their own hands. When police arrived on the
and in negotiations among local leaders, and not
scene and told her to get down, she responded
in the streets. We appeal to both our white and
on camera for the whole world to hear: “In the
Negro citizenry to observe the principles of law
name of Jesus, this flag has to come down. You
and order and common sense.”
come against me with hatred and oppression and
Newsome felt that same pressure. “When I
violence. I come against you in the name of God.
made the decision to scale the pole, I recognized
This flag comes down today.”
the possible physical danger I was facing at that
Newsome was arrested, as she well knew she
time,” she says. “I also recognized there is some-
would be. She was led away in handcuffs, recit-
thing greater than this world and this age and this
ing the 23rd Psalm.
power structure and this thing called racism.”
“The very first question we had was, should
One of the chief ironies of taking a stand is
we do this?” Newsome recalls. “Or do we wait
that if you’re successful, history will eventually
and allow legislation to work it out? And think-
pretend that it stood with you all along. But at the
ing through we were like, ‘No, we have to make
time, taking a stand can be awfully lonely.
a statement, this really isn’t just about a stupid flag. This is about South Carolina making a state-
MOORE VOCAL, MOORE PROBLEMS
ment in this moment about black life.’”
“I have been asked numerous times why I, a per-
“Take a stand.” It’s one of those phrases that
son who’s only spoken publicly to matters in the
has managed to retain its romantic allure despite
spiritual arena, would spill over into the political
years of overuse and misuse. It’s seen as a good
arena,” says Beth Moore.
thing, the one thing, perhaps, that all heroes have
In the world of evangelicalism, few names are
in common. It’s the shining thread that connects
as highly regarded as Moore’s. As the founder of
a group of people as disparate as Moses, Joan of
Living Proof Ministries, Moore has reached mil-
Arc, Rosa Parks and, yes, Newsome.
lions of people over the years with her myriad
But overlooked in the glorification of taking a
Bible studies, books and speaking engagements.
stand is how difficult it is. If it were easy, as the
But she’s gotten increasingly vocal over social
saying goes, everyone would be doing it. The lens
media over the past year, where concerning po-
F I G U R E S WHO TOOK A DIVISIVE STAND: JOAN OF ARC
R i g ht u p u nti l h e r f i e r y d e ath at a g e 1 9, J o a n of A rc p e rs i ste d G o d h a d g ive n h e r a d ivi n e m i s s i o n to l i b e rate Fra n ce fro m En g l i s h r u l e d u r i n g th e H u nd re d Ye a rs’ Wa r. S h e wa s ca n o n ize d i n 1 920 .
Th e fo r m e r N FL q u a rte r b a c k sa c r if i ce d h i s e nti re ca re e r by ta k i n g a k n e e d u r i n g th e n ati o n a l a nth e m to p rotest th e A m e r i ca n j u sti ce syste m . H e sti l l wo r ks off th e f i e l d to e m p owe r b l a c k yo uth .
S i n ce l e avi n g th e Ch u rc h of S c i e nto l o gy, Re m i n i h a s b e co m e a n a c tivi st a g a i n st its a b u ses . Th e cu lt s l a n d e rs h e r, b ut th ey h ave n’t sto p p e d h e r awa rd-w i n n i n g m e m o i r a n d T V se r i es .
litical trends among her fellow evangel-
ly about at this time, just because they
which Lentz drew criticism from Chris-
icals have motivated her to speak out.
were so dear to me and I had trouble
tian circles for an appearance on The
“The political arena spilled like a tid-
wrapping my mind around the harsh-
View in which he gave some comments
al wave into the spiritual arena in the
ness with which some responded to me.
some interpreted as going too easy on
last year and a half with, what I felt at
It was heartbreaking.”
abortion. Certain corners of Twitter
least, were really toxic waters. I mean,
Moore estimates that in the days af-
dangerous waters,” Moore explains.
ter she first started to be vocal about
“My concerns are [for] the Church. It’s
what she views as an evangelical capit-
“I learn so much from critiques,”
not that I don’t have political opinions,
ulation to some of the most toxic polit-
he says. “From people who are strug-
of course I do ... but the reason I got
ical elements in the United States, she
gling, from people who don’t get us,
more vocal was because of the over-
lost about 30 percent of her audience.
that I don’t ever want to cut that part
lap with the witness of the Church and
of me off because that’s how I research.
the witness of Christianity and just our
SEASON OF LENTZ
I think, what’s this view, why does this
care with the name of Christ.”
Hillsong NYC pastor Carl Lentz is not
person have this view?”
When Moore says she has political
a stranger to controversy. His church
But Lentz says he has one goal above
opinions, she’s not blowing smoke.
has come under scrutiny for everything
all others: “I want to stay true to who
She was a political science major at
from its congregants (Hillsong counts
God’s called us to be and you know, it’s
Southwest Texas State University, now
Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Kevin
Texas State. But she made her name in
Durant among its flock), to its stances
Lentz isn’t alone. A lot of Christian
Christian living, and the way she sees
(“At this church, we are not saying ‘All
leaders had to start dodging arrows
it, politics and Christian living have
Lives Matter,’” Lentz declared in Sep-
when they zig right when their follow-
become intertwined in such a way that
tember), to Lentz’s fashion choices (GQ
ers expect them to zag.
it’s no longer an option for her to sit on
dubbed him a “Hypepriest” for his col-
the sidelines. But for her, speaking out
lection of ultra-hip designer threads).
came with significant pushback.
Dr. Russell Moore (no relation to Beth Moore) is president of the Ethics
As a pastor, his associations have
& Religious Liberty Commission, the
“There was a loss,” she says, her
earned him a lot of side-eyes from
Southern Baptist Convention’s public
voice cracking ever so slightly. “There
churches that haven’t set up shop in
policy arm. He grew dismayed over his
was a significant amount of women
New York City, but for Lentz, getting
denomination’s embrace of President
who I had served for 20 years who were
grief is worth the cost.
Donald Trump over the course of the
very, very offended, and so it really hit my base the hardest.”
“I mean there are hard nights,” he admits. “I never, ever want to get to
2016 election and spoke out forcefully against it.
She knows how that word “base”
the point where I don’t feel it, and I
For his trouble, he was rewarded
sounds and she doesn’t mean she
don’t care if it’s something stupid or
with the threat of forced resignation
mourns the loss of revenue or public
something serious ... like that’s a heavy
when over 100 churches said they
traction. “Just people who had been
thing to have people accuse your entire
would stop the flow of donations to the
there for a really, really long time,” she
church of horrible things because of a
SBC if Moore didn’t lay off Trump. That
clarifies. “That was more painful than I
culminated in a 2017 meeting in which,
even feel comfortable talking complete-
flared up, and Lentz says he still tries to
He’s referring to an event in 2017, in
some outlets speculated, Moore’s job
hung in the balance.
their life a lot like I do mine.”
“I just so want us not to lose our
Tensions between Moore and the in-
Moore says her crowd has changed
bravery,” she continues. “Because the
dignant wing of the Southern Baptists
in recent months, and it’s now look-
reason why we get timid is that it’s hot
appear to have cooled for the moment,
ing significantly less like her. That, she
out there and the stakes are high and
but Moore has been no less outspoken
says, is a good thing.
you can get hurt.”
on social. He was extremely vocal in
“You look up and, wow, your group
You can and, truth be told, Moore has
condemning the evangelical wagon-cir-
looks different than it did. But it still
been hurt. But when asked if she would
cling around Roy Moore—the Alabama
—” and she takes a brief moment to
change anything about how she’s acted,
GOP Senate nominee who became em-
compose herself again before saying, “I
the swiftness, certainty and confidence
broiled in sexual scandal in November.
thought they were beautiful then and I
of her answer is almost impossible to
“Christian, if you cannot say defin-
think they are beautiful now. They just
overstate: “No. Absolutely not. It is not
a cheap thing for me to say that to you.
itively, no matter what, that adults creeping on teenage girls is wrong, do
There’s a common belief that there is
It’s not a cheap thing because it was ex-
not tell me how you stand against mor-
a cost to taking a stand, and that’s very
pensive. Would I do it again? Absolute-
al relativism,” he tweeted. If Moore still
true. But for people like Lentz, Beth
ly. Absolutely.” CAPTURE THE FLAG
After Newsome was arrested, she be-
I would not commit myself as much as I do to these issues, these causes if I didn’t believe in our ability. — Bree Newsome
came something of a celebrity. Her bond was set at $3,000, but a crowdfunding campaign had raised $60,000 before the day was out. Minority leader of the state House of Representatives Todd Rutherford offered to represent her in court. Michael Moore offered to pay her bail. Standing up doesn’t always work out so well, but in Newsome’s case it did. “I would not commit myself as much as I do to these issues, these causes if I didn’t believe in our ability,” Newsome says. “And if I didn’t have hope in our
feels like such words have put his ca-
Moore and Russell Moore, it’s been less
ability to achieve a true, just society—a
reer at risk, he clearly hasn’t let it get
like a cost and more like an exchange.
society that is truly built upon human
You trade a bit of safety for a different
sort of influence. You sacrifice a little of
Newsome’s hope may feel distant
MOORE LOVE, MOORE POWER
the base you’ve built for a platform of
now, but there are signs that she’s mak-
“One of the things that I’ve learned
a different sort. It may not be exactly
ing a difference. On July 9—12 days af-
about servant leadership is that we
what you had in mind when you start-
ter she was arrested—South Carolina’s
don’t really get to choose who we serve,
ed out, but it’s better. Truer.
House of Representatives voted to take
except simply to serve God. I think that’s
“I do want people to be courageous
new for me,” says Beth Moore. “Maybe I
in their convictions,” Beth Moore says.
thought I chose all those years ago who
“Even if they trip off more criticism
I was going to serve. Maybe I got in my
than they think they can bear, our
mind [that] I’m going to serve women
very heritage is to speak to the Gospel
and this is a lot of what it’s going to look
of Christ. Not only what we think is
like and they’re going to be women who
pro-Christian but to distinguish what is
go to their local church and that they do
the Confederate flag down for good. It was removed the following week.
T YLER HUCK A BEE lives in Nashville and is a contributing editor at RELEVANT.
Rich Wilkerson Jr. wonders when Christians stopped hanging out with non-religious people.
PASTOR RICH WILKERSON JR., FOUNDER OF
words, he’s a guy who knows what it’s like to
MIAMI’S VOUS CHURCH, leads an interesting
walk in two different worlds.
life. He’s a staple at church conferences,
But Wilkerson doesn’t see his life as
hosts a TBN talk show and comes from a line
a dichotomy; he sees it as an attempt to
of ministers (his cousin is the late author
follow Jesus. In his new book, Friend of
and evangelist David Wilkerson), but he also
Sinners, Wilkerson looks at why Jesus was
starred in an Oxygen network reality show
so comfortable hanging out with “non-
(Rich in Faith), counts celebrities like Justin
religious” people and what we can learn
Bieber and designer Jerry Lorenzo as close
from His life. We recently spoke with him
friends and officiated the wedding of one
about the book, what many Christians get
of the most famous couples on the planet—
wrong about “reaching the lost” and what it
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. In other
really means to be friends with sinners.
WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR FRIEND OF SINNERS COME FROM?
I wrote a book a few years ago titled Sandcastle Kings, and I started traveling
You’ll also find Jesus in the Gospels,
Saturdays once a month, hundreds of
times that we don’t have any evidence
people show up to … clean up the streets,
that He actually preached the Gospel, we
paint public schools, go to children’s
just see Him hanging out with people.
homes, go to elderly homes and play
Look at the story of Matthew’s tax
music. People who do not know Jesus and
and talking about that book. I started
collector, also known as Levi, when he
have no church background have come
getting into interviews [and] a lot of the
gets completely, radically changed by
to those Saturday meetings and are now
questions would come back to some of
Jesus. The next scene is Jesus and a bunch
ultimately in church, saved. I just believe
my friends and how we do life. And they
of tax collectors at a party hanging out
in that stuff.
would question … what they thought
together, and then the Pharisees show up
was the appearance of evil and guilt by
and are like, “Yo, what’s this guy doing
that. People will attack me and say, “We
association. And in all of that, this sound
with all of these sinners?” And Jesus’
were meant to bring change!” And I know
bite kind of kept erupting out of me
answer is so funny to me. He’s like, “I
what they mean, and obviously, I think
which was just—it’s not an original sound
didn’t come for the healthy. I came for the
we are to be change agents, but the tactic
bite—but people aren’t projects, people
sick.” And I can kind of see the Pharisees
of how we get there ... I’m not here to say,
are people. I’m not gonna treat them like
going, “Oh, OK, good. We like that mission
“We’re here to change Miami!” Like no,
…” but completely missing the mission.
we’re here to serve Miami. We’re here to
What He was saying is, all of you are
love Miami. We actually think we change
I’ve had people attack me for believing
A LOT OF LEADERS WILL SAY, “YOU’VE
sinners, and until you’ve met me and
GOT TO BE CAREFUL WHO YOU HANG OUT
encountered me, you’re all lost. You’re all
WITH, BECAUSE THEY’LL INFLUENCE YOU
sick. So I came for you, but you have to
friends of sinners … You don’t have to
MORE THAN YOU’LL INFLUENCE THEM.”
realize you’re the one who needed to be
believe what we believe; you can be in
our church and you don’t have to behave
You have to be careful who you spend the IT’S LIKE THAT BILLY GRAHAM QUOTE:
friends, and I’ll show you your future. I
“IT’S THE HOLY SPIRIT’S JOB TO CONVICT,
believe all of those things.
GOD’S JOB TO JUDGE AND MY JOB TO
balance, we’ve got to look at the life of
like-minded, who were sharpening one
THERE’S A REASON WHY PROSTITUTES AND TAX COLLECTORS WANTED TO
THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS A JOB HERE.
BE AROUND HIM AND NOT THE STAGY THEOLOGIANS OF HIS DAY.
I think we all do it. I have a Pharisee in me, we all do. We
another and going into areas not afraid to
can act like we understand grace and
bring light into the night.
the Gospel so much, but then we see
Bad company corrupts good character.
and you can have questions.
LOVE.” AND IT CAN BE EASY TO FORGET
Jesus once again. Jesus spent the majority of His time with 12 dudes who were
We, as a church, are called to be
like we behave. You can be in our church,
majority of your time with. Show me your
I think when it comes to the idea of the
it by loving it and by serving it.
ourselves putting our score cards out.
We need to be aware of those things for
That’s the kind of church we want to build, and I think we are building it. Jesus had Judas with Him for three years. Judas shows up in the garden, betrays Him, kisses Him on the cheek. But
sure. We need to determine, are you
WHAT’S YOUR APPROACH TO ENGAGING
before he gets there, Jesus says to him,
being influenced or are you influencing?
THE CULTURE AT-LARGE FROM A CHURCH
“Do what you came to do, friend.”
It’s about seeing people for who they
If there’s a picture for the worst sinner
are and seeing them as God’s creation
in the Bible or in the world, you kind of
and loving them where they are, and not
This is kind of the way we built our
think Judas Iscariot. Yet the last word
feeling the pressure that it’s up to you to
church. The day we started our church
Judas ever heard Jesus say is friend. That
change people—but really allowing that
we were like, “We’re gonna do monthly
to me is who Jesus is.
to be God’s role.
service projects and, most of all, put a
THAT’S AN INTERESTING IDEA, THAT IT’S NOT UP TO US TO CHANGE THEM. THAT’S ULTIMATELY GOD’S JOB.
right until the end. Every breath He took,
and weekly service things.”
He was going to be loving and serving.
We just call them “I Love My City,” but
And He wasn’t going to call out the truth,
the whole premise and the whole tag line
and wasn’t going to call out their sin, but
was, “We’re not called to change the city;
was going to love them through it.
In my journey, so many times, it’s like
we’re called to serve the city.” Then, we
you’re with those people, but they haven’t
always say, if we serve the city, God will
changed yet. Well, what you’ll discover in
the Gospel is that Jesus was with people who didn’t change yet.
The Bible says He was loving them
seed in the ground; we want to do daily
I can’t tell you how many people have started going to our church because on
JESSE CAREY is the brand director at RELEVANT. You can find him on Twitter @jessecarey.
R E L E VA N T SELECTS
FILM/TV MUSIC BOOKS
NEW RELEASES YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT
HEN YOU THINK “SOUND OF THE
their minds to outside influence. Greg Kurstin, who
SUMMER,” Chvrches’ unique synth-
has worked with Adele and Sia, co-produced eight
pop vibes instantly come to mind.
of the record’s 12 tracks, with some production
The Scottish trio, consisting of Lauren
collaboration from Dave Stewart (of Eurythmics
Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty have,
fame) and pop super-producer Steve Mac (One
in the past, produced every piece of their music
Direction, Demi Lovato, Ed Sheeran) following suit.
themselves, including their 2013 debut, The Bones
With a conscious move toward openness in
of What You Believe and 2015’s Every Open Eye,
their creative process, this album results in the
swearing they would never consider collaboration.
most accurate representation of the band itself,
However, they’ve recently had a change of heart,
creating deeper themes of strength, resilience and
and it was a good call.
resistance. Though Love Is Dead finds Chvrches
On their latest, Love Is Dead, for the first time ever, Chvrches made an executive decision to open
refining their indie-pop sound, it also finds a band
LOVE IS DEAD [GLASSNOTE RECORDS]
The soulful synth is still there, but a pop-infusion gives it a new club feel.
on the brink of reinvention.
Dizzy Fae The young phenom has dropped her first mixtape and takes on all of the hype. BACK IN 2015, Dizzy Fae was a high school student when
her track “Color Me Bad” debuted on Zane Lowe’s radio show on BBC Radio 1. Having the track selected by the influential tastemaker at just 18 years old propelled her to international attention, and her latest mixtape, Free Form, more than lives up to the hype. The title of the breakout single “Don’t Hate for Me” is fitting in a way; it’s easy to be envious of such a natural talent who’s on the brink of superstardom, but it’s way more fun to just enjoy the show. FREE FORM [DIZZY FAE, LLC]
After years of anticipation, the 11-track mixtape lives up to the hype with mellow beats and pop-savvy hooks.
of 9/11, captures the
modern pop culture and
right blend of soul,
[GOOD DEED ENT.]
sorrow and hope.
Though it takes place in
to Renaissance art and classic literature with her
This movie, about two
the shadow of tragedy,
In her new collection
unique wit and insight.
musicians who take a
the film is really about
of essays, acclaimed
It’s a book that makes
road trip from L.A. to
the hope found in
intellectual Zadie Smith
you feel smarter while it
New York in the wake
loving your neighbor.
dissects everything from
Planetshakers Planetshakers’ new EP, Heaven on Earth Part 1, is a collection of live worship sessions from the Planetshakers’ regional conferences in the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore. It is as anthemic as you would expect and captures the passionate singing of literally thousands of
HEAVEN ON EARTH PART 1 [VENTURE3 MEDIA]
worshippers. So if you’re looking to get lost
Though this is an EP, it’s
in the presence of God, turn this up and get
representative of what you
your ugly cry on.
would expect from a fullfledged worship set.
SELECTS THE RECOVERING: INTOXICATION AND ITS AFTERMATH LESLIE JAMISON [LITTLE, BROWN AND COMPANY]
Alison Wonderland The Australian singer continues reinvigorating EDM.
Part memoir, history text and literary analysis, Jamison’s book presents deep insights into how we engage with addiction.
lexandra Sholler is a master of sonic disconnect— creating big,
anthemic soundscapes laced with acerbic, vulnerable lyrics. “You’re saying sorry constantly / But you never, but you never / Never say a prayer for me,” from her hit single “Church” is not exactly the typical club fare. But under her stage pseudonym
NATALIE PRASS THE FUTURE AND THE PAST [ATO RECORDS]
The Richmond, Virginiabased singer-songwriter is taking a surprising new direction on her
Alison Wonderland, she displays a natural instinct for getting festival crowds bopping even though her lyrics may well shock a few of the more introspective partiers into contemplative silence. On her new album, Awake, Sholler gains confidence as an artist and
sophomore album, The
a lyricist, venturing into bolder,
Future and The Past, that
more adventurous sounds. She
recalls the heyday of the
also samples beats without
abandoning the songwriting
As jubilant and danceable as it
chops that set her apart from
is thoughtful, Awake cements
many of her EDM contemporaries.
Alison Wonderland’s status as
She’s creating a wonderland well
one of the more gifted EDM
worth getting lost in.
artists of her generation.
NEON IN DAYLIGHT
This release is an excellent debut
On her anticipated sophomore
novel about a young British
album, Gretzinger finds herself
movie delivers top-
transplant to New York City and
leaning in as a songwriter in the
tier superhero thrills
the people who shake her loose
midst of self-discovery. Blackout
from the life she left behind.
gives an image to the light that
BLACK PANTHER RYAN COOGLER [MARVEL]
alongside urgent racial
penetrates the dark.
TAKE YOUR PILLS
Though technically a “debut” album,
Are people treating stimulant
the West Coast rapper knows the
amphetamines like coffee? This doc
game. His latest navigates the vicious
dives deep into the origins, and ripple
social terrain of gangland L.A.
effects, of this dangerous drug trend.
Delightfully hooky as it is weird, the album has hooks that will make you bop and sing along, and give you that feeling that you haven’t quite found the right frequency on the radio dial.
Kimbra The primal heart is what makes us human. YOU PROBABLY KNOW Kimbra for
deeply emotional tracks that
her vocals on Gotye’s breakout hit
explore the raw side of romance
“Somebody That I Used to Know,”
but her latest album is a reminder
“I’m hunting for feeling in
of just how great of a solo artist
songs,” she explains. “I don’t know
the New Zealand pop singer really
how to explain it. You know when
is. On Primal Heart, she explores
it’s right. You know when you’ve
unseen facets to her personality
got the audience feeling that
as well as her songwriting, with
emotion you’re searching for.”
and raw emotion.
Kimbra’s third studio album represents
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Lord Huron THE INDIE-FOLK GROUP, headed by Michigan
native Ben Schneider, has roots in the camping grounds of the Midwest and the arts scene of New York City, but their new album, Vide Noir, is flavored by Los Angeles. Schneider was inspired by his nighttime drives through the city, moving from the dark hills to the bright streets to the cold, vast, empty oceans. It’s a trip.
book puts forward a
case for loving difficult
people, even those who
As their majorlabel debut, Vide Noir is the band’s most diverse project yet.
fun-filled story, this
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With a measure of
and those who do
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should persist as one of
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sharp writing and twisty,
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Middle Kids The indie-rock trio combines a big sound with even bigger ideas.
HEN YOU HEAR Middle Kids’ debut album, it’s hard to believe the band is primarily comprised of
just three members, including husband and wife Hannah Joy and Tim Fitz. Every song hits with an indie-rock wall of sound as blaring guitars provide a sonic background for Hannah’s poetic lyrics. On “Edge of Town,” she sings “I came a little closer / To the truth that day / I heard its call ... And the one resounding answer / That I could take
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LAST WORD A Thought Before We Go
fragmentation of our schedules
friendship is about more than
can make it tough to maintain
texting and sharing photos
strong personal ties. We’ve all
online. And following others
Are We Connected or Entangled?
experienced those moments in a
must never take the place of
group, or even our own families,
following Jesus first.
Technology promises to bring us
when all the people in the room
God has entrusted you with
are looking down, glued to their
certain people in your life, and
phones or tablets.
he loves them just as much as
I’m not anti-technology;
he loves you. He’s also given you
in fact, I’m one of its biggest
the unique privilege of loving
fans and most frequent users.
and serving these individuals.
However, I always try to
Whether it’s for a limited season
remember that constant access
or for a lifetime, you have
does not necessarily create
people on your boat traveling
together but at what cost?
stronger bonds. We have to
with you right now. Your divine
make sure we stay in control of
destination may not be the same
BY S A M U E L R O D R I G U E Z
our tech devices if we want to
as theirs, but your fates are
enjoy the quality of relationships
that enrich our lives and allow
Now is the time to encourage
Although our ability to stay in
touch with others is enhanced
by technology, it’s not the same
pressure to work hard at all
riding spiritual shotgun with
thing as actually sitting across
hours and be connected 24/7.
you. Now is the time to tell
from someone over a meal and
In so many ways, technology
them—and more importantly,
sharing from the heart.
remains an amazing blessing
show them—just how much you
for human beings, but like
seemingly more connected than ever. We can chat with
It’s great to view a child’s
us to enhance the lives of others.
them and remind them that
Today there is a tremendous
you’re blessed to have them
friends in Singapore via video
birthday party via video, but
anything, it must be kept in
call, text with loved ones in
it’s not the same as being there
check, submitted to God’s
have yours. And even if a ship
our hometown and follow the
to taste the cake, hold the little
authority and guidance, and
sinks, everyone is going to get
people we admire the most on
one, feel her breath blowing
Twitter. But I’m not convinced
out the candles and hear her
all this connectivity is actually
joy as she unwraps presents. I
become idols if we let them.
making our relationships
know it’s incredibly cost efficient
And this hurts not only us and
stronger. Sometimes we lose
to conduct video conferences
our relationship with God but
our connections to one another
with important clients and
also all our other relationships.
as we become more entangled
team members, but often you
There’s no substitute for
in technology. In all our online
still need those face-to-face
sitting across from a Christian
connecting, are we missing out
encounters to convey more than
brother as he asks your advice
on what matters most—true
what can be read from a report
on an issue he’s facing with
friendship, authentic fellowship
or analyzed in a spreadsheet. As
his kids, sharing a meal with
and healthy intimacy?
much as our tech providers and
team members to celebrate a
online-service companies want
milestone achieved or shaking
for tech companies such as
us to believe we’re personally
the hand of a new neighbor.
Apple, Samsung and Verizon
connected across the miles, it’s
showcasing the way their
not the same as being there.
We’ve all seen commercials
products and services keep us
While our longing to
Our phones can easily
Words such as friend and follower have gained new meanings in our online world,
connected with a simple call,
connect with others remains
but we should never forget
text, Skype, chat, post or click.
as strong as ever, the constant
their primary definitions. True
They have their Rome, and you
S A MUEL RODR IGUE Z is the author of Shake Free: How to Deal With the Storms, Shipwrecks, and Snakes in Your Life.
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