Page 1

98 M AGGIE ROGERS | KILLER MIKE | THE TORWALTS JOEL MCHALE | TIM KELLER | LYSA TERKEURST BR ANDON MICHEAL HALL | KIM WALKER-SMITH 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

Jerry Lorenzo How he made Fear of God into one of fashion’s most disruptive brands— and rediscovered his faith in the process.

MAR-APR 2019 // $6.95 US


EVERY STEP YOU TAKE MAR-APR

IS ONE SHE WON’T HAVE TO ™

02

2019


®

Why 6K? It’s the average distance moms and kids in the developing world walk for water every day. On May 4, when you and thousands of others cross the finish line, you’ll be helping change the lives of women and children by freeing them from a life spent collecting dirty water.

Run or walk in your own community! Register now:

worldvision6k.org World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, we serve alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for01 all people. Team World Vision, 6K for Water, Global 6K for Water, The Bib RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM that Matters Most, and the design of the Bib are all registered trademarks of World Vision, Inc.


CONTENTS

T H E M A G A Z I N E O N FA I T H , C U LT U R E & INTENTIONAL LIVING

MAR/APR 2019 // ISSUE 98

March/April 2019, Issue 98 It’s Our Sweet 16!

Publisher & CEO | CAMERON STRANG Brand Director | JESSE CAREY Senior Editor | TYLER HUCKABEE Senior Writer | TYLER DASWICK Copy Editor | KATHY PIERRE Contributing Writers: Joseph Riggs, Townes Prescott III, Rachel Givens

56

Creative Director | JOHN DAVID HARRIS Designer | JORDAN WILLCOX Director of Web Development | DANIEL MARIN

Features

Audio Editor | CHANDLER STRANG Video Editor | CLARKE FLIPPO Contributing Photographers: Gina Canavan, Olivia Bee, Dan Medhurst, Mary Claire Stewart, Diego Brawn, Steven Taylor, Jim Mangan, Samuel Richard, Aidan Cullen, Stephanie Severance, Kings Dream

Jerry Lorenzo p.56

Sales and Partnerships Director | HEATHER COOK

In a rare interview, the Fear of God designer opens up about the role of faith in his journey to becoming one of the most innovative minds in fashion.

Account Manager | FELICHIA WRIGHT Traffic Manager | CAROLINE COLE Marketing Director | AME LYNN FUHLBRUCK

64

3 8 // KIM WALKER-SMITH The founding member of Jesus Culture is as bold with her story as she is in worship.

4 2 // A LOADED ISSUE There are more guns than people in the United States. Is this a pro-life situation?

Finance Director | MICHAEL BOWLES

ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: www.RELEVANTmagazine.com/advertise

Maggie Rogers p.64

The way this man spits truth extends far beyond Run the Jewels.

The 24-year-old’s debut album premiered at No. 2 on Billboard, which can only mean one impossible-seeming thing: She can become even better.

5 2 // THE BRE AKUP HANDBOOK

7 6 // MAKE FRIENDS IN YOUR 20S

Winter’s colder when your loneliness is unexpected. Here’s how to survive.

Kids sure have it easy. Here’s how to make a friend in the post-recess stage of life.

6 8 // S TATE OF FE AR

8 0 // OUT OF THE DARKNESS

Young Christians face persecution in China. The government’s their worst enemy.

Bryan and Katie Torwalt’s devastating EP tells a story that isn’t over yet.

7 2 // JOEL MCHALE

8 4 // THE SEARCH FOR MORE

Watching reality TV in your underwear with Jesus? He says it’s possible.

If you’re seeking fulfillment, the answer might lay on your bedside table.

4 8 // KILLER MIKE

Operations Manager | JESSICA COLLINS Operations Coordinator | GABRIELLE HICKEY

RELEVANT MEDIA GROUP 55 W. Church St., Suite 211, Orlando, FL 32801 RELEVANTmediagroup.com TO SUBSCRIBE RELEVANTmagazine.com/subscribe Rates: 1 year (6 issues) U.S. $26.99, Canada $36.99, International $45.99 SUBSCRIBER SERVICES WEB: RELEVANTmagazine.com/subservices Phone: 866-402-4746 EMAIL: support@relevantmagazine.com BULK DISCOUNTS: 866-402-4746 RETAIL DISTRIBUTION Michael Vitetta, Curtis Circulation Company mvitetta@curtiscirc.com

1 4 // FIRS T WORD

8 8 // RELE VANT SELECT S Our curation of the best in music, books

1 6 // CURRENT In this issue, we break down the major philosophies of The Good Place and speak

and film. You might know Jessica Pratt and Bethel, but are you up on the new Girlpool?

Issue #98 March/April 2019 (ISSN: 1543-317X). RELEVANT is published 6 times a year in January, March, May, July, September and November for $26.99 per year by RELEVANT Media Group, Inc., 55 W. Church St., Suite 211, Orlando, FL 32801. Periodicals postage

with God Friended Me star Brandon Micheal

9 6 // L AS T WORD

Hall about his real-life faith. Plus, the best

Jemar Tisby on the American Church’s

Send address changes to RELEVANT Magazine, P.O. Box 531147,

travel gear, Naomi Scott and more.

uncomfortable relationship with racism.

Orlando, FL 32853.

MAR-APR

paid at Orlando, FL, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER:

02

2019


03

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


A S K T H E wh y

The YMI app is a peer-to-peer platform for believers. Biblical truths are felt through writings, artwork, and study guides.

AVA I LA B LE ON ITUN ES + GOOGLE P LAY

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? MAR-APR

04

2019

W W W.Y MI .TODAY/A P P

DOW NLOA D TH E FREE Y M I A PP.


Every Christian is unique.

We don’t all talk the same, look the same, or think the same. But we can all gather around the same Bible. For every person in your church, the Christian Standard Bible is an exceptionally clear and faithful translation—so your whole congregation can meet God through his life-transforming Word. Accurate. Readable. Shareable. Learn more at CSBible.com 05

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


UNITE YOUR COMMUNITY, SOFTWARE & VISION. SOLVE YOUR CHURCHES BIGGEST PROBLEMS: CHURCH MANAGEMENT

ONLINE GIVING

CHURCH ACCOUNTING

MOBILE ENGAGEMENT

CHURCH WEBSITES

COMMUNITY ON THE GO

888-997-9947 X1 MAR-APR

/

ELEXIO.COM 06

/

SALES@ELEXIO.COM 2019


07

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


MAR-APR

08

2019


09

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


Cultivating the Soul of the World

We embolden pastors, therapists, artists, and leaders with wisdom, courage, and creativity to thoughtfully engage the complex problems of the world and nuanced matters of the heart.

Join us in serving God and neighbor at the intersection of text.soul.culture.

MASTER OF DIVINITY MASTER OF ARTS IN THEOLOGY & CULTURE MASTER OF ARTS IN COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY RESILIENT LEADERS PROJECT

theseattleschool.edu/admissions

21 YEARS


What happens when the Bible and humanity collide? Not what you’d expect. Living & Effective, a podcast collaboration between Christianity Today and the Christian Standard Bible, journeys through history, current events, theology, and the human condition to uncover surprising ways the Bible accomplishes God’s plan in the world.

// LISTEN TO LIVING & EFFECTIVE ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCAST APP AND FOLLOW THE STORY AT

LIVI NGANDEFFECTIVE.COM.


FIRST WORD a letter from the publisher

pose). Throughout the story, there aren’t any shots of him looking at the camera. That was intentional. He said he wanted to withhold part of himself in the photo shoot, because in the story he was so open. The eyes are powerful, and he loved the idea of the story having

Doing It by Design

HE WANTED TO WITHHOLD PART OF HIMSELF IN THE PHOTO SHOOT, BECAUSE IN THE STORY HE WAS SO OPEN. THE EYES

conceptual contrast: The mystery of the man

ARE POWERFUL, AND

in the photos, the transparency of the man in

HE LOVED THE IDEA

the conversation. That’s why Fear of God is unique. Every piece Jerry creates, even down to when and

OF THE STORY HAVING CONCEPTUAL CONTRAST:

how it’s released, has intentionality behind it.

THE MYSTERY OF THE

Most people in fashion are striving to be

MAN IN THE PHOTOS,

the Next Big Thing. The problem with that is the industry will chew you up and spit you

THE TRANSPARENCY

out. Jerry is playing outside the lines, doing

OF THE MAN IN THE

things differently with the goal of longevity.

CONVERSATION.

Trailblazers, disrupters and world-

W

hen you read our cover

changers don’t happen by accident. They’re

story with trendsetter Jerry

people that see things differently. They don’t

Lorenzo on page 56, you’re

accept how things are; they think about how

going to notice something: His

they could be. And they go after it without

label, Fear of God, is full-on

compromise.

luxury—but there’s a unique

Sure, there’s resistance at every turn.

purposefulness to the high-end brand and

People like things to be familiar. When

almost every aspect of his life.

someone comes along wanting to turn things

Jerry is one of the biggest names in fashion right now, but he’s an outspoken Christian,

on their head, there’s inevitable pushback. Even with our photo shoot. We love taking

getting up at 5:30 every morning to spend time

creative risks in the magazine, but there

in the Word.

was internal debate among the RELEVANT

With Fear of God, he ferociously protects

team about having a cover story shot so

doing things his way instead of accepting the

unusually. It feels more behind-the-scenes

industry’s norms. He is a visionary and, as you’ll

than your typical portrait shoot. Will people

see in the story, thinks over every detail.

understand the underlying visual message?

There’s even a deeper reason he goes by Lorenzo, his middle name, instead of his family name, Manuel. Nothing about his life is

But Jerry had a vision for the piece, and we bought in. It’s a lesson for all of us, no matter

arbitrary. It’s a fascinating story and as you’re

what industry we’re a part of. We all have

reading it, you might even sense a deeper

opportunities to color outside the lines,

thoughtfulness in how it’s portrayed.

refuse to accept the status quo and rethink

Jerry is known for doing very little media, but was extremely transparent in the interview with

what could be. We might not all be a Jerry Lorenzo,

us, welcoming us to his Los Angeles studio and

launching an industry-changing brand.

sharing very personal details about his story

But we all can learn from those who do,

and faith.

applying the same sort of thoughtfulness

But then for the photo shoot, he wanted an air of mystery. You’ll notice he’s partially covering his face on the cover (not our usual

MAR-APR

and purposefulness to whatever it is God has called us to do. In everything we do, let’s do it by design.

014

C A MER ON S T R A NG Founder & Publisher

2019


015

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


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

The Decline of American Christianity Isn’t As Simple As It Looks Despite a fall in the number of young American Christians, there are reasons to be hopeful for the future of the Church.

Y

OU MAY HAVE HEARD ABOUT

to 29 years old claim the same.

the decline of American

That is a huge demographic shift

Christianity, the idea that the

in just a few generations.

number of Christians is in an all-out free fall. However, new

THE NUMBER OF HISPANIC PROTESTANTS HAS ACTUALLY GROWN SIGNIFICANTLY.

But a few things stand out: The first is that the drop is

data shows this so-called decline is more

most significant among white

complicated than it might seem and there’s

evangelical Protestants. However when it

Christian, those who do are more committed

good news behind the bad headlines.

comes to racial minorities, it’s a different

to practicing their faith than previous

story. The number of black Protestants has

generations were in terms of church

lot fewer self-proclaimed Christians among

held more or less steady from generation

attendance and Bible reading.

younger generations than there are in older

to generation at about 7 percent, and

generations: 45 percent of white Americans

the number of Hispanic Protestants and

exaggerated, per se, but it has been grossly

65 years old and up claim to be Protestant,

Catholics has actually grown significantly.

oversimplified, and there are a lot of reasons

while only 16 percent of white Americans 18

And while fewer people may identify as

to be hopeful about the future of the faith.

According to a PRRI study, yes, there are a

MAR-APR

016

The decline of Christianity has not been

2019


START A NEW JOURNEY THIS YEAR. ASSOCIATE, BACHELOR’S, MASTER’S 100% ONLINE OPTIONS AVAILABLE

mvnu.edu/relevant

BEST ONLINE COLLEGE IN OHIO -AFFORDABLE COLLEGES ONLINE (2018)

017

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


02/06

CURRENT

Americans’ Trust in Pastors Just Fell to a Record Low FOR THE LAST FOUR decades,

Gallup has been charting Americans’ level of trust in top professions, and this

Meet Naomi Scott, the Worship Leader Playing Princess Jasmine

year, one hit an all-time low: professional clergy. Since 2002, Americans’ trust in ministers has slowly dropped, but now, they rank just above journalists and

The 25-year-old is branching out from

“building contractors” on the

her church for a whole new world.

trust index. If you’ve ever waited around for a tardy

B

EFORE SHE WAS

and creative life. “God is the

handyman to come fix your

cast as Princess

ultimate creative force. Growing

roof, you’ll know that this

Jasmine in the new

up in the Church fostered an inner

live-action remake of

spirituality that also introduced

isn’t good. Just 37 percent of

Disney’s Aladdin, Noami Scott had

me to the concept of music having

a different role in life: She was a

a deeper meaning. There has

a “very high or

worship leader.

always been a connection between

high” level of trust

Along with acting in movies,

my faith, and realizing that music

in people in the

including the recent adaptation

can have a soul and purpose,

ministry, and 15

of Power Rangers and the Disney

which has ultimately affected the

Channel’s Lemonade Mouth, the

way I approach the art,” she told

British 25-year-old is a recording

HypeBae.

artist with roots serving in the Church leading worship.

Americans have

percent have “low or very low” trust in them. The experts at

Recently, her music career has

Gallup point to scandals

taken a back seat to acting though.

in both megachurches and

Following the release of Aladdin,

institutions like the Catholic

U.K.’s Bridge Church, and faith still

she’ll star in a big-screen reboot of

Church as reasons for the

plays a major role in her personal

Charlie’s Angels.

plummeting numbers.

Her parents are pastors of the

MISC.

MAR-APR

British actor Nicholas Hoult, best known

A photo of an egg has become

The 2019 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

for playing Beast in the X-Men movies,

the most-liked Instagram post of

class is a powerhouse list, including

will portray a young version of the

all time, overtaking Kylie Jenner’s

Stevie Nicks, Janet Jackson, The Cure

Christian author J.R.R. Tolkien in a

baby’s photo. Don’t make us

and Radiohead. When does Carman

new biopic. We’re here for it.

answer which one is cuter.

finally get his due?

018

2019


019

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


03/06

CURRENT

THE HOT LIST Our Definitive Cultural Power Rankings

Study: Most Millennials Feel Disconnected From Community

get involved (27 percent). The researchers also asked what actions were considered “vital” in order to participate in community. Being “friendly with” neighbors ranked first with actions like donating to charity and regularly helping someone close behind. If only

If only there was a connectionfocused place to attend weekly.

there were local establishments that met at regular times and emphasized connecting people and serving the community ...

MILLENNIALS MIGHT BE THE MOST LONELY C H R I ST I A N AT H L E T E S [Hottest]

God might not affect the

generation. Research from the group CNote found that 64 percent of millennials felt “disconnected” from their communities, and 69

outcome of a game, but

percent said they wanted to be more connected

it’s still cool when He sees

to their local community. So, why are they

the glory of a win.

having so much trouble getting involved? The

T I DY I N G U P [Hotter]

Marie Kondo’s show was

answers varied, but many said they simply didn’t know many people who lived around them (22 percent) and didn’t know how to

64

PERCENT: THE PORTION OF MILLENNIALS THAT FEEL INCREASINGLY DISCONNECTED FROM THE COMMUNITIES THAT THEY LIVE IN.

big. Time to practice what she preaches. G R EAT A N I M AT E D M OV I E S [Hot]

The LEGO Movie 2 is in

This new concept car is like a real-life

theaters, plus Spider-

Transformer.

Verse is on-demand.

VA L E N T I N E ’S DAY [Cold]

You shouldn’t need a holiday to celebrate your S/O. (But still: Buy a card.) WELLNESS TRENDS [Colder]

The new year always inspires dangerous new fads. Just eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. L A M E ST R EA M CO N S P I R ACY T H EO R I E S [Coldest]

These aren’t cool or rebellious. They just undermine popular culture and attack truth.

MAR-APR

The Car of the Future Might Have Legs ... And Could Save Your Life

THE NEXT BIG

innovation in cars may involve … legs? Hyundai recently unveiled a new concept “car” called Elevate that can turn its wheels into four spider-like legs. The company hopes that

020

one day, the vehicle could save lives. With the ability to climb out of snowbanks, over debris or into dangerous areas, the vehicle can help first responders get to stranded individuals without having to hike

over treacherous terrain on foot. The car can even climb stairs, making areas more accessible for passengers who use wheelchairs. With where this technology is going, we won’t need roads.

2019


021

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


04/06

CURRENT

MISC.

ECENTLY, CATHOLIC

R

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sparked a major debate after she implied that Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus were refugees at the time of His birth. Though there is simply no direct comparison between modern immigration laws and the laws of Jesus’ day, at the time of Jesus’ birth, Rome had only recently transformed itself into an empire. Herod, a local ruler, could still be overruled by Rome’s Caesar. Joseph and Mary’s

New research from Pew found that for the first time, more Americans receive news from social media than traditional newspapers. So good on you for picking up this magazine—you’re countercultural.

trip to Bethlehem for a census implies they were citizens of Rome, however, they fled to Egypt—a then-recent addition to the Roman Empire—after Herod ordered the death of young boys who might threaten his reign. The U.N. says that a refugee is “someone who

So, Was Jesus a Refugee? Sort of. What the holy family’s escape to Egypt can tell us about immigration policy

has been forced to flee his or her

Lily, a Muppet on

country because of persecution ...

Sesame Street,

A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution,” so even though the border situation was complicated, Jesus’ refugee status, according to

will become the show’s first character to experience homelessness.

modern definitions seems to be

Producers hope

clear, as does the call to serve those

the storyline will

in the same situation.

create more empathy and understanding for the issue.

Letitia Wright Is the Highest Box Office Earning Actor in the World LAST YEAR, Letitia Wright not only became one of the MCU’s breakout stars

playing Shuri in Black Panther, she was also the most financially successful actor in the world. Her films (which also included Infinity War, Ready Player One and The Commuter) racked up more than $1.55 billion at the box office—that’s more than anyone else, including her male counterparts like Chadwick Boseman and Chris Pratt. At the end of 2018, Wright, an outspoken Christian, tweeted Malachi 3:10, which reads, “See if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be enough room to store it.”

MAR-APR

022

Research from Open Doors indicates 1 in 3 Asian Christians now experience high levels of persecution for their faith, be it from government or social pressures.

2019


023

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


05/06

CURRENT

What the fork is contractualism? Just the way social norms help us rationalize ethical decisions, thanks very much.

Breaking Down the Philosophies of ‘The Good Place’ A guide to the major modes of thinking on television’s funniest show IF A SHOW COULD WIN an Emmy for “Most Well-Read,” NBC’s The

Good Place would have a beeline on the hardware. Creator Michael Schur (The Office, Parks and Rec) wove tons of moral philosophy into the sitcom, including the ideas of Scanlon, Socrates and even Jesus. It’s heady stuff, but the show sticks the landing to become not just one of the funniest things on TV, but one of the smartest. Here’s a quick guide to the most prominent belief systems and ethicists on The Good Place.

META-ETHICS

MAR-APR

EXISTENTIALISM EPISODE #18

A person develops through conscious acts of will. Meaning is found in things like a sense of purpose.

JUDITH THOMSON

EPISODE #4

EPISODE #26

People’s ethics are shaped by the study of ethics, which means the show’s characters themselves are practicing meta-ethics. Pretty meta.

She applies utilitarianism and contractualism to human rights (“what we owe to each other”) in order to solve ethical dilemmas like abortion.

UTILITARIANISM

PHILIPPA FOOT

EPISODE #13

EPISODE #19

Something is good if it benefits the whole group. The Good Place applies this most famously to the ethical dilemma known as “The Trolley Problem.”

A proponent of virtue ethics and the originator of the “Trolley Problem,” in which you decide to let a trolley hit five people, or divert it to hit one.

024

2019


025

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


06/06

CURRENT

The Life-Saving Drone That’s Changing Global Healthcare

MISC.

Is it back-to-school season again? Matt Chandler Zipline’s drones can travel up to 75 miles and deliver medical supplies to remote villages.

and Christine Caine are now grad students at Wheaton College, taking actual graduate courses. Can we listen in on that discussion group?

Coming to the party a solid decade later than everyone else in comedy TV, the producers behind

COMMUNITIES IN extremely

travel much further than

remote clinic needs a certain

remote parts of Rwanda are

quadcopters used by delivery

supply or medicine, he or

the beneficiaries of a new

services like Amazon. The

she sends a text to a hospital

technology that is poised to

drone can be stocked with

in neighboring cities. There,

change global healthcare. The

medical supplies, vaccines

workers load the drone, shoot

California-based company

and even blood that can

it from a large sling, and it

Zipline has developed a

then be parachuted into

uses military-grade GPS to

fixed-wing drone that can

villages. When a doctor in a

deliver the packages.

Jesus Christ Is Coming To a DC Comics Series

MAR-APR

AN UNLIKELY HERO IS coming

to DC Comics, home to icons like Batman and Superman. In the series The Second Coming, Jesus returns and becomes roommates with a superhero, but is soon “shocked to discover what has become of His gospel—and now, He aims to set the

record straight.” Sounds a little irreverent, but creator Mark Russell grew up in the Church and says the idea is to showcase how modern ideas about Christianity often don’t match up to the real teachings of Christ.

026

Family Guy have announced they will begin to “phase out” gay jokes from the animated sitcom. Way to come around.

To honor Nic Cage at their annual Nicolas UnCaged film festival, a Michigan theater will light a stuntman on fire. We see nothing wrong with this.

2019


027

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


THE

CHE AT

SHEET

How to Simplify Your Life The value of spring cleaning can also affect your soul.

SOME HISTORIANS believe the tradition of

Former pastor and self-described

“spring cleaning” dates back to ancient Jews

minimalist Joshua Becker (he’s written the

cleaning out their homes in preparation

books The Minimalist Home and The More of

for Passover. Not only were there practical

Less) explains why spring cleaning is about

reasons (getting rid of food forbidden during

more than decluttering, the spiritual benefits

the holiday), there were also spiritual ones

of tidying up, how to get started and why it’s

(It helped them remember their quick

probably time to ditch that “Myrtle Beach

escape from Egypt, where they could only

Spring Break 2008” beach towel you’ve been

take what they needed with them.).

holding on to.

1

2

3

4

START EASY

“Don’t start by getting rid of the hard things,” Becker says. Instead, begin with things you have too many of, like towels, shoes, dishes and chargers.

CLEAR OUT DISTRACTIONS

Remove things that prevent you from being present. Just throw out that entire junk drawer, and half of the dishes and that season three DVD set of Scrubs.

EMBRACE SMALL VICTORIES

Becker suggests focusing on “the next hardest thing,” not the entirety of the task ahead. To Becker, that means enjoying the peace and calmness of spaces you’ve already tackled.

FIND MARGIN TO BE GENEROUS

Give old stuff away, but don’t replace them with more things. Instead, make generosity a lifestyle, not a chore. Create margin but also protect it.

5

VALUE QUALITY OVER FRUGALITY

When it is time to buy things, remember that quality is more important than finding “the best deal.” Purchase one nice item instead of five cheap ones.

MAR-APR

028

2019


REAL POSSIBILITIES You’re ready to take your ministry to the next level. All you need are the tools and knowledge to do so.

U N D E R G R A D UAT E G R A D UAT E

With Northwest University’s online ministry degrees, you’ll

DOCTORAL

learn real skills that you can apply right away in your ministry.

A D U LT E V E N I N G

And though you won’t be learning in person, we guarantee that you’ll be taking classes from a real professor with years

ON CAMPUS OR ONLINE

of real teaching experience at a real university with over 80 years of training ministry professionals. Earn your degree at NU, and you’ll see your possibilities become realities. To find out more, go to northwestu.edu/online or call our admissions office at 425-822-8266.

Since 1934. Kirkland, Washington. 029

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


RELEVANT

RECOMMENDS

Travel Gear That Makes a Difference Before you hit the road this spring, gear up with items that also give back.

WHETHER YOU’RE ON SPRING BREAK or just traveling to

enjoy the first stint of warm weather, we’ve tracked down some of the coolest gear to pack this spring. And not only does it look great—it gives back. Each item is linked with an important cause so you’ll feel as good as you look.

MAR-APR

BOOT CAMPAIGN SHOES

UNITED BY BLUE BACKPACK

Designed for special ops soldiers, the purchase of these durable boots supports veterans and military families in need.

For every item they sell, United By Blue removes a pound of trash from local waterways and the ocean.

$95

$88

S H O P. BO OTC A M PA IG N . O R G

U N I T E D BY B L U E . CO M

THIS BAR SAVES LIVES SNACK BAR

LSTN BEACON EARBUDS

DELLA MACBOOK CASE

Sales of these great-tasting snack bars help fight childhood malnutrition in Haiti and the Horn of Africa.

LSTN gives hearing aids to those in need through the sale of every pair of headphones and earbuds.

Employing women in Ghana, Della provides financial security and entrepreneurship classes to the community.

$23.99 / BOX OF 12

$129.99

$48

T H IS BA R S AV E S L I V E S . CO M

L ST N S O U N D. CO

D E L L A L A . CO M

030

2019


031

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


RELEVANT

Q&A

Brandon Micheal Hall The star of the CBS hit comedy “God Friended Me” opens up about faith, atheism and making it in TV.

In 2017, actor Brandon Micheal Hall got what he thought would be his big break: He was set to star in the ABC comedy The Mayor. There’s a reason you might not remember it: It was canceled before the first season ended. But Hall wasn’t out of work for long. This spring, God Friended Me—which debuted as one of TV’s most watched new comedies—returns to CBS. About an atheist who starts getting messages

about the world. I never lost faith. I

HOW DOES A CHRISTIAN LIKE YOURSELF

on social media from “God,” the show is

knew God had my back.

PREPARE FOR A ROLE LIKE THIS?

asking big questions about faith, doubt

I stopped praying for one month, and it

and purpose—and, it turns out, so is

from under my feet. That was my first

felt like the entire world was about to

Brandon Micheal Hall in real life.

time being in a situation when I felt

come down. But I needed to know what

the height of an opportunity and the

it was like to walk in that fear.

HOW HAS PLAYING AN ATHEIST LOOKING

complete bottom of an opportunity.

FOR GOD AFFECTED YOUR OWN LIFE?

When I lost that job, that’s when my

WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THE SHOW?

It’s sort of divine intervention that this

faith was really tested.

We want a smart conversation. We’re

part came to me when it did. I left my

MAR-APR

But then The Mayor was swept right

There’s this old saying my

not trying to change people’s lives or

house when I was 16 to pursue acting,

grandmother used to say: “You can only

bring people to the culture. If it does,

and all my ideas about religion and

live on grandmother’s prayers for so

great. If someone comes closer to their

spirituality were tested because I was

long” … I have to learn who God is for

own understanding of what’s true,

reading a lot more and being opened

myself, and until I’m able to do that, I

great. But at the end of the day, we want

to a lot more conversations and ideas

can’t really progress forward.

to get people talking.

032

2019


DEEPER

Comfort Is an Enemy Lysa TerKeurst on why God might pull us out of our comfort zones

LY S A T ER K EUR S T

apart from the Lord, and their people

is a breast cancer survivor, a New York Times best-selling author,

were full of impurities. They had no

and the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries. Her new book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way was released November 2018.

need to draw upon the Lord’s strength, so their hearts were far from Him. Make no mistake: Being lulled into a false sense of security is worse than going through the process of suffering.

C

ertain. Comfortable.

circumstances beyond their control.

Predictable. These

Life feels good, so it must be good. No

the Moabites was one of complete ruin.

are all words I long

disappointments. No difficulties.

It would have been better for them

to use to describe my life. I suspect you’d

But this verse is very clear that this

Scripture reveals the eventual fate of

to go through the experience of the

is not what’s best for them. People left

Israelites. To go from vessel to vessel

be OK with these being the defining

in a complacent place too long will get

and experience suffering in doses that

terms of yours, as well. But what

tainted and become like impure wine.

made them strong enough to handle

if the comfort and certainties we

Wine left on its dregs, not poured

suffering in even larger doses.

crave today are a deadly recipe for

from one jar to another, means it’s

complacency that will draw our

been left sitting in comfort for so long

make sure you catch something wrong

hearts further and further away

that it has absorbed the aroma of

in its early stages while treatment is

It’s like getting a blood test just to

from God? There are many examples of this in the Bible, but let’s look at one tucked into Jeremiah: “Moab has been at rest from youth, like wine left on

possible. Or like

Being lulled into a false sense of security is worse than going through the process of suffering.

its dregs, not poured

before going on a missions trip to a country where diseases are an everyday risk. It’s so much better to get

from one jar to another—she has not

complacency. Winemakers at the time

a small exposure to the deadly disease

gone into exile. So she tastes as she

of Jeremiah would pour wine from

to help build up your immunity than

did, and her aroma is unchanged”

jar to jar for two reasons. First, so the

to be exposed and risk not having the

(Jeremiah 48:11).

wine wouldn’t absorb the flavor of the

necessary strength and immunities to

vessel. And second, to rid the wine of

fight it.

On the surface it may seem like the nation of Moab has it good. They are

the dregs or the sediment that would

comfortable. Life seems predictable.

settle into the bottom and prevent the

so we don’t have to drown in the

They’ve been at rest for a long

wine from being pure.

devastations of tomorrow.

time. They haven’t known what

MAR-APR

getting a vaccine

The Moabites were not jarred from

We must sip the suffering of today,

It’s a process that doesn’t usually feel

it’s like to get caught off guard. To

their complacency. Therefore, their

good at the time, but God assures us it

suffer. To endure hardships due to

culture was saturated with satisfaction

will be good in time.

034

2019


DEEPER

God Is a Foodie Margaret Feinberg explains why eating is a spiritual experience.

M A RGA RE T FEINBERG is a speaker, Bible teacher and author of the new book, Taste and See: Discovering God Among Butchers, Bakers & Fresh Food Makers. Find her on Twitter @mafeinberg.

M

It’s almost as if God redeemed food just as He does us.


agents of reconciliation. Yet to understand all of these lessons, we have to see that its main teaching is not sociological but theological. Jonah wants a God of his own making, a God

DEEPER

who simply smites the bad people and

Jonah, the Whale and America

blesses the good people, for instance,

Tim Keller explains what the Sunday

the book. As part of the entire Bible,

school story truly says about God.

however, the book is like a chapter that

his own countrymen. When the real God—not Jonah’s counterfeit—keeps showing up, Jonah is continually thrown. He finds the real God to be an enigma because he cannot reconcile the mercy of God with His justice. How, Jonah asks, can God be forgiving to people who have done such violence and evil? That question is not answered in

drives the overall plotline forward. It teaches us to look ahead to how God saved the world through the one who called himself the ultimate Jonah

L

ike most people raised

nuances of the message. Both episodes

(Matthew 12:41) so that he could be

in a churchgoing

show how Jonah, a staunch religious

both just and the justifier of those who

home, I have been

believer,

believe.

aware of the story of

regards and

Only when

Jonah since childhood.

relates to

It seems to be about so many things.

people who

Is it about race and nationalism,

are racially

since Jonah seems to be more

and religiously

concerned over his nation’s military

different from

security than over a city of spiritually

him. The book

lost people? Is it about God’s call to

yields many

mission, since Jonah at first flees from

insights about

the call and later goes but regrets

God’s love for

it? Is it about the struggles believers

societies and

have to obey and trust in God? Yes to

people beyond

all those—and more.

the community

Careful readers find it to be an

Jonah yields many insights about God’s love for societies and people beyond the community of believers.

of believers;

we readers fully grasp this gospel will we be neither cruel exploiters like the Ninevites nor Pharisaical believers like Jonah, but rather

ingenious work of literature. Its four

about his

chapters recount two incidents. In

opposition to toxic nationalism and

chapters 1 and 2 Jonah is given a

disdain for other races; and about how

command from God but fails to obey

to be “in mission” in the world despite

it; and in chapters 3 and 4 he is given

the unavoidable power of idolatry in

T IM K EL L ER

the command again and this time

our own lives.

is the founding pastor of Redeemer

carries it out. The careful structure reveals

Spirit-

Grasping these insights can make us bridge builders, peacemakers and

changed, Christ-like women and men.

Presbyterian Church in Manhattan and the author of the new book, The Prodigal Prophet.

Reprinted from THE PRODIGAL PROPHET: Jonah and the Mystery of God’s Mercy, by Timothy Keller. Published by Viking, an imprint of the Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © Timothy Keller, 2018.

MAR-APR

036

2019


KIM WALKERSMITH

How the founding member of worship group Jesus Culture stopped her rebellion and gave her voice to God

MAR-APR

038

2019


F

or Kim Walker-Smith, the road to

AS YOU’RE GOING THROUGH THESE THINGS, YOU’RE

her role in the Jesus Culture worship

AROUND CHURCH AND HEARING CONVERSATIONS

movement was marked by intense

ABOUT JESUS. WHAT WAS YOUR IMPRESSION OF

trial. Abuse, loss and trauma are all

FAITH AT THE TIME?

in her past, and she shares most of it in her new book: Brave Surrender.

I was aware of God, but I had this understanding

Walker-Smith says writing the book

of God creating the world like some big old man in

pushed her to be vulnerable in a way she never

the sky, watching us. I thought good people went

had to be onstage. Her relationship with Jesus has

to church on Sunday mornings and Jesus was

always been front and center, but the intimate

somehow connected to God, but I wasn’t sure how.

details of her life have not.

Jesus was the actor who’d be crucified on Easter

RELEVANT sat down with Walker-Smith to talk

and make me cry, and my grandparents would

about her story, the growth she’s experienced and

explain who He was and what He was doing. I

how God has revealed Himself in the process.

couldn’t comprehend what that meant for my life as a child, but I felt closer and more connected

YOUR STORY IS MARKED BY TRANSFORMATION.

to Jesus and the idea of His love [than the idea of

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF BEFORE

God]. The Holy Spirit was a complete unknown.

KNOWING JESUS?

The older I grew, and the more comprehension of God I had, the more I thought God could stop all

Before Jesus, I wanted to put on a mask and show

the pain I was walking through. A lot of my anger

you whatever I thought you wanted to see. If you

began to turn toward Him. It started with, “You’re

needed a good student, I was a good student. If you

letting these things happen to me,” then, “You don’t

needed someone excited and lively to get the crowd

love me and you don’t care about me,” then, “I was

going, I could do that. If you needed someone kind

a mistake. I should never have been born. Why did

and gracious, I could be that. But I had an edginess,

you let me be born?”

too, like something could burst out of me and eat

Even at 18, when I finally surrendered my life

you alive. I was angry and rebellious beneath the

to God and took ownership over my relationship

surface. I had my mind made up about things.

with Him, I still had a lot to process. I couldn’t reconcile that relationship with what I had just

WHAT WERE YOU REBELLING AGAINST?

lived through, and so before I was set free from those pieces of my story, I experienced His love but

I had all this anger inside of me because of

I wasn’t fully trusting it yet. A journey of healing

everything that was going on in my life, from my

had to take place so I could have a full relationship

dad’s first motorcycle accident, to my parent’s

with Him.

divorce, to all the abuse I went through. Anger was my way of coping with the pain because at least

BEFORE YOU TRUST GOD’S LOVE, IT CAN FEEL

with anger, I had some sense of control. I would

EMPOWERING TO LASH OUT AND ASK HIM

have rather felt angry because it made me feel

QUESTIONS AND MAKE DEMANDS. DID YOU HAVE

strong and that the pain couldn’t touch me. But

EXPERIENCES LIKE THAT?

once that anger was removed, there was no choice but to face the pain and feel it.

Yeah, definitely. I had a lot of questions, and I felt

039

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


“I encountered a God who was not afraid to enter the mess with me and walk through that. It wasn’t anger, it was just love.” it was my right to have answers

we bring those questions. He meets

because of what I went through. I

us where we are. In that moment,

had given my life to Him, but there

I encountered a God who was not

Kim Walker-Smith

was more to be had because I was

afraid to enter the mess with me and

is bold, but her

withholding myself. I felt I was

walk through that. It wasn’t anger, it

vulnerability was tested when telling her story.

looking at God through a veil. I

was just love.

wanted to be with Him, but I couldn’t reach Him, and that was because of

I DON’T THINK THAT IDEA OF

my demand for answers.

CONTINUAL GROWTH, PAST THE

So I had to humble myself. What I thought I deserved didn’t

POINT OF CONVERSION, IS TALKED ABOUT ENOUGH IN CHURCH.

matter, and soon my hunger for There’s this language put out there

for the answers. I was able to lay

that once we begin a relationship

my questions down and hope in

with Jesus, life is suddenly good,

Church wounded and broken inside

God’s plan for me. I couldn’t handle

and that’s not the case. Yeah, you

and feeling a pressure to be perfect.

being disconnected, and that was the

experience love and freedom and

For me, inner healing was like being

beginning of my healing.

hope, especially at conversion, but

fractured in my mind. Because of

there is a process after that in which

my trauma, my mind was shattered,

Years later, my stepdad, who I was

your ingrained mindset and baggage

and Jesus came along and through

really close to, passed away from

still needs fixing and change. That’s

His process, put all the pieces back

Parkinson’s. He had never stopped

why we need redemption. Jesus

together and made me whole again.

praying for God to heal him, and I

didn’t lay down His life for a moment

Talking about that process in the

was so hurt when God didn’t heal

with us. He laid down His life so we

book was vulnerable and scary, but

him and he died. I found myself

could have a lifetime of relationship

Jesus came for restoration. Your need

again with questions and anger and

and become more like Him. That’s

for a Savior is always there. I hope

demands. But that time around, God

the Kingdom of God on Earth: His

we can be a people who want to be

showed me He’s not afraid of those

people restored to what it was always

the best version of ourselves. That’s

questions, and He’s not upset when

meant to be. That’s a process. We

Heaven on Earth manifested in us.

And it still comes up, often.

MAR-APR

need more people in the Church

freedom outweighed my demand

040

talking about that. There are so many people in the

2019


better and He sees what I don’t. I have to trust He’s not only taking care of me, but taking care of me in exactly the way I need. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF NOW COMPARED THOSE CONVERSATIONS CAN ALSO

YOU TO SURRENDER?

TO THE PERSON YOU USED TO BE?

JESUS IN THOSE MOMENTS THAT

Oh, man. The hardest thing is

I would say my boldness is still there,

MIGHT HAVE DAMAGED US.

trusting God will take care of me.

my strong will and mind are still

In my mind, I grew up believing

there, but there’s no rage or anger

That’s the kind of healing He wants

no one could take care of me like

underneath that person. There’s

to bring to us. That’s who God is. He

me. I didn’t believe anyone loved

a peace and calm, and a wisdom

takes nothing and creates something.

or cared enough, so I felt I couldn’t

that knows God is still there with

He takes ashes and creates beauty.

trust anyone to take care of me. I

me and taking care of me. There’s

That’s why it’s so important for us

still reach points in my life where

a real strength, too. Back then, I

to live in a place of surrender and

God reminds me to trust Him to take

thought my anger was my strength.

live our lives in a way that yields our

care of me. It’s still hard sometimes.

I wanted everyone to believe I was

hearts to Him. When we can do that

I have a need for control where I ask

strong because I was so scared, but

on a regular basis, we make room for

God to take care of me in a way I feel

because of the foundation that’s been

the ways He can intervene in a way

is right and good, but He says He’s

built through what God has done in

we need.

going to take care of me in a way He

my life—because of trusting in His

knows that’s good for me. I have to

strength, not my own—I can yield to

let that go. His ways are higher and

Him every day.

REVEAL RETROACTIVE EVIDENCE FOR

WHAT’S THE HARDEST THING FOR

041

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


Should the debate about gun control be reframed as a pro-life argument?

BY J E S S E C A R E Y

AT

the beginning

they will melt it down, beat it into

of the book of

a usable gardening tool and send

Isaiah, there is a

it back to you—for free. Martin

prophecy about

recently teamed up with his friend

what will happen

and fellow activist Shane Claiborne

“in the last days.” It’s a stirring series

(co-author of the new book, Beating

of verses.

Guns) to take the gun-converting

When God’s coming Kingdom is established, “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” It’s a powerful image: One day,

exercise on the road. What they’ve seen is moving. Claiborne remembers the mother of a son killed by gun violence. “As she says, ‘This is for my boy,’” he

weapons and turn them into tools

says. “There wasn’t a dry eye out

used to propel life.

there. It kind of felt like there was

That verse inspired blacksmith

a therapeutic element of this, and

Mike Martin to do something radical:

there’s an element that transcends

Make the prophecy literally come

all the stale redirect of gun control

true. He started a group called

debates and goes right to the heart

RAW Tools (“RAW” is “war” spelled

of it.”

mission: If you send them a gun,

40% O F T H E WO R L D ’ S GU N S

she starts beating on this metal,

people will take their stockpiles of

backwards), and they have a unique

Gun ownership In the united states

But with the gun debate, “getting

4.3% O F T H E WO R L D ’ S P O P U L AT IO N

to the heart of it” is increasingly

043

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


difficult—especially for many

abortion—but I also know that

Christians.

that’s not the only pro-life issue,” he explains.

BEARING ARMS

Many of his fellow Christians

Today in America, there are more guns than there are people.

THE NUMBER OF AMERICANS KILLED BY GUNS EVERY DAY

don’t really see things that way. White evangelicals—who

Right now, “firearm-related

almost entirely identify as

injury” is the second leading cause

“pro-life”—are also extremely

SHOTS FIRED

of death of children in America.

pro-gun. More than 40 percent of

The modern Church’s relationship

It’s right below car accidents, but

the demographic own guns. That’s

with guns is a complicated one.

the gap is closing quickly. Guns kill

significantly higher than Americans

“We’ve got almost five times as

twice as many American children

overall (30 percent).

many gun dealers as McDonald’s

as cancer. In 2017 alone, guns killed about 40,000 American children.

Evangelicals as a whole, a

restaurants,” Claiborne explains.

demographic that has become

And, he says, many times those guns

known for its political power, are

end up in the hands of people who

link between guns and death. For

far more likely than the general

have violent intentions.

Christians who view a pro-life

population to say they are satisfied

ethic as central to their faith, this

with current gun laws or say they

we can make in our country that

should be a reason to discuss gun

want gun laws to be less strict.

might save lives,” he says, referring

Statistically, there is a direct

legislation.

Guns are disproportionately

Claiborne says this is what drew

owned by and supported by the

him to the issue. “I care about

same group that disproportionately

abortion—reducing and eliminating

identifies as pro-life.

“There are some changes that

to common-sense measures like universal background checks. However, the argument often used by pro-gun advocates echoes

Cities with the most gun violence per capita

1 . N E W OR L E A N S , L A 2 . M E M P H IS , TN 3 . B I RM I N GH A M, A L 4. BA LT I MOR E , MD 5. ST. LOU IS , MO 6 . M I LWAU K E E , W I 7. LOUISV I L L E , K Y 8 . D E T ROI T, MI 9 . K AN S A S C I TY, MO 10. CH IC AGO, I L

MAR-APR

044

2019


Leading causes of death for children in America CAR ACCIDENTS

3,669

GUNS

that of NRA executive Wayne LaPierre, who famously claimed,

3,430

CANCER

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with

1,740

SUFFOCATION

1,633

a gun.” POISONING

In the days following the mass

1,604

shooting at Sutherland Springs Church that left 26 people dead, another church in Texas issued a statement. First Baptist Church of

run workshops for the NRA.

Instead, he believes that Christians

Dallas is one of the state’s oldest

But before he became one of

and largest churches. Appearing

the world’s most well-known gun

taken within the gun industry itself.

on Fox and Friends, Pastor Robert

experts, Correia was in ministry. He

When we talked with Correia, he

Jeffress claimed that smaller

was a pastor for 15 years, holds a

was at Las Vegas’ SHOT (Shooting,

churches like Sutherland Springs

master’s in divinity and has taught

Hunting, and Outdoor Trade)

were “more of a target” because at

Bible courses at seminary.

Show, one of the industry’s biggest

his church, “a quarter-to-half” of

Correia believes there is a

should support measures being

annual events. In recent years,

the thousands of congregants bring

biblical case for his new profession.

suicide prevention has become a

their guns every Sunday.

“Nowhere in Scripture is someone

major emphasis. They’ve offered

required to be the victim of criminal

seminars put on by the American

wasn’t that America needs more

violence,” he says. “Martyrdom is

Foundation for Suicide Prevention

effective gun legislation—it’s that

not the same as being the subject of

to the thousands of exhibitors so the

in order to stop innocent Christians

criminal violence in any way.”

people actually selling firearms to

For pastors like Jeffress, the lesson

from being killed, churches need more well-armed Christians.

For Correia, guns aren’t about taking life. They are about protecting it.

There are 120 guns for every 100 people in the U.S.

“I tell people all of the time, ‘I am

the public could receive training to help spot warning signs and know what resources are available to help people in crisis. “I don’t want to worry about this

a person of peace,

category that people talk about,

and I seek to bring

quote-unquote, ‘gun violence,’”

the Kingdom of God

he says. “I am more interested

wherever I go, but

in removing the qualifier, for us

as a bearer of the

to solve the violence problem in

image of God, I have

America, regardless of its vector,

the right to stop

and regardless of its tool.”

someone from hurting me,’” PREACHING GUNS

In firearm-enthusiast circles, John

STANDING HIS GROUND

he explains. Correia is a staunch supporter of

There are dozens of stories in the

Correia is a genuine celebrity.

gun rights, and flatly doesn’t believe

Bible that can be used to justify

His YouTube channel, Active Self

there are policy solutions to ending

either major position on guns. The

Protection, has more than 1.3

gun violence like limiting access

Old Testament is full of tales of

million subscribers, and his videos,

to firearms or the accessories that

God’s people using violence as a

which aim to “train people in armed

make them more lethal or even

way of conquering unrighteousness

and unarmed self-defense” have

implementing universal background

and injustice. But in the New

been viewed more than a half a

checks. His reason, he says, isn’t

Testament, with the arrival of Jesus,

billion times. He’s a professional

ideological. He simply believes these

things change.

firearms instructor and has even

measures won’t reduce violence.

045

In perhaps His most well-known

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


sermon, Jesus explains that He

The last thing that the Bible says

has come to challenge traditional

Jesus said at the meal were the

point Jesus was trying to make: “He

understandings of violence and

words, “That’s enough!”

says if you pick up the sword, you’ll

retributive justice. He says, “You have heard that it

For many pro-gun advocates like Correia, the story is an example of

was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for

Jesus seeing the need

tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist

to be armed when

an evil person. If anyone slaps you

bringing the Gospel in

on the right cheek, turn to them the

dangerous places.

other cheek also.” So, when it comes to the Bible’s

However, Claiborne sees it differently.

sometimes conflicted message on

“What I think Jesus

Claiborne suggests this is the

die by the sword,” he says. “The early Christians interpret that as the

Access to a gun Increases the risk of suicide by 3x.

violence—and using violence as a

was doing is kind

deterrent for evil—what does Jesus

of airing the dirty

actually teach?

laundry,” he explains. Claiborne

most incredible disarming of every

suggests that is what it means “to be

one of us. They said when Jesus

numbered with the transgressors.”

disarmed Peter, He disarmed every

“This was not a holy thing,” he

Christian. Because if ever there was

During the Last Supper, the meal Jesus had with His disciples before He would be apprehended by armed soldiers to be tortured to death,

argues. He points to what happens

a case for ‘stand your ground’ or

Jesus ended the meal by saying this:

next to underscore his point. When

protecting the innocent, he had the

“But now if you have a purse, take

a man comes to lead Jesus to his

strongest case in the world, and yet

it, and also a bag; and if you don’t

death, Peter pulls out one of those

Jesus shows us that violence is not

have a sword, sell your cloak and

swords, swings it at the man’s head

the solution.” Correia, however, disagrees. He views that verse as Jesus specifically referencing His own circumstances. “Jesus wasn’t supposed to die by

25,000 Suicide

the sword—He was supposed to die by the cross,” he says, arguing that

Gun deaths in the united states

if he’d been killed in a sword fight (instead of on the cross) “that would thwart the will of God.” So, when it comes to effectively Homicide

addressing gun violence, is there a solution everyone can agree on? PULLING THE TRIGGER

The first step in finding a solution 1999

2017

is admitting that gun violence is a problem Christians must address. That’s why Claiborne and Martin have taken their guns-to-tools demonstrations on the road­—to

buy one. It is written: ‘And he was

and cuts off his ear in a gruesome

provide a powerful example of what

numbered with the transgressors.’”

scene. Jesus immediately heals the

the Bible looks like if you take it

In reply, the disciples told Him,

man, yelling, “No more of this!” to

literally. They also hope that it will

the disciples.

lead to change.

“See, Lord, here are two swords.”

MAR-APR

046

2019


“I think this is a spiritual and moral crisis, it’s also a public health crisis,” Claiborne says. For Claiborne, it means finding a balance between identifying the spiritual and moral elements of the

Acco rdi ng to t h e FBI,

crisis—which is undisputedly a role

h a nd g u ns acco u nt fo r

the Church should have—as well as

alm o st t wo - t h i rds of

finding “common-sense” legislative

all g u n v iolence.

measures to protect the public. “If we made guns illegal across the board, people would still kill folks,” Claiborne says. “There are people that will say, ‘It’s not a gun issue, it’s a heart issue, or a sin

one true king, not as a proponent

issue,’ and what Mike and I are

for firearm rights.”

saying is, ‘Why can’t it be both?’

The concept that we are to

God heals hearts and people change

bring about a Kingdom—one

new legislation that would help

laws, so let’s see what

where swords will be turned into

widely expand background checks

we can do to save lives

plowshares—is one Correia is

that would be performed before a

in this country.”

looking forward to, even if it means

gun could be legally purchased.

Though Correia may 3.6

he’ll be out of work. “In God’s

It’s a small first step, but one

disagree with Claiborne

coming kingdom, when the lion

that could lead to more, expansive

and other advocates

lies down with the lamb,” he says

legislation—like restrictions on

for gun control

jokingly, “I will have to cross-train,

the number of bullets a magazine

measures, he says

because my job will no longer be

can hold and accessories that

that the debate must

needed.”

make guns shoot more rapidly

become less politically

But until that day, Christians must

and be more lethal—that some say

toxic, especially for

educate themselves on the scope of

could eventually go a long way in

Christians: “We have to

the problem, and prayerfully decide

combating violence.

be first and foremost

what they think the solutions are.

In her speech to lawmakers,

This winter, former Rep. Gabby

Giffords said, “Now is the time

citizens of the Kingdom of God,” he says. “My

Giffords—a victim of horrific gun

to come together, Democrats and

primary identity is as

violence herself—visited Congress

Republicans. Be bold. Be courageous.

an ambassador of the

to encourage lawmakers to take up

The nation is counting on you.” Those final words could also serve as a call not just to legislators, but also to Christians on both sides of the debate: Be bold. Be courageous.

THE GUN HOMICIDE RATE

The nation is counting on us.

PER 100,000 RESIDENTS 0.5

0.5 0.4 0.3

0.3

0. 3 0. 2

0. 2

0. 2

JESSE CAREY is the brand director at RELEVANT. You can find him on Twitter @jessecarey.

D

F

E

R

E

N

A

T

N

A R K

N

L

E

S

T

D

TA

LA

D

M

E

R

N

C

E

M

N

H

LA

LY

U

A

S

D

G

N

U

I

LA

T

A

D

D

E

A

T

LG

E

R

N

I

TA

E

R

O

A

N

I

N

F

I

B

I

P

C

U

S

047

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


KK II LL LL EE RR K I L L E R The acclaimed rapper is taking his talents to TV, and he’s not afraid to tackle big questions about race, money, politics and, yes, Jesus. BY T Y L E R H U C K A B E E

H

ow many life acts

rap group of the decade so

way,” Killer Mike says.

in what he calls “a very

can one guy get?

far, with three eponymous

“Trigger Warning gave us

Christian household” and

At this point, you

albums of striking creativity

the opportunity.”

has been exposed to the

could be forgiven

and vitality.

for thinking Killer Mike had

But even that doesn’t

teachings of the Church all

as he tackles issues like

his life. He says he’s grateful

reached his personal and

represent the full measure

gang culture, imperialism,

for what he learned, but

creative zenith at something

of Killer Mike (real name:

consumerism and racism,

he’s also been doing a lot

like three previous points in

Michael Render), whose

but he comes at them from

of reflecting on some of the

his life. First there was his

new Netflix show, Trigger

surprising angles. Maybe

American Church’s issues,

illustrious solo rap career

Warning, takes his wit

his most provocative

which he sums up in one

in the early ’00s, where he

and intellect across the

thoughts are about a topic

phrase: White Jesus.

collaborated with the likes

country in search of difficult

near and dear to his heart:

of OutKast and Jay-Z. Then

conversations about

Christianity.

in 2013, his career went to

complicated topics.

“White Jesus is not good for the African-American community,” he says.

WHITE JESUS

He calls it “the greatest

been random conversations

“My frustration is simple,”

hindrance that black people

in everything from

Killer Mike says. “It’s with

have.”

barbershops to bars that

White Jesus. It’s personal

Jewels and have become

I’ve wanted to see on

for me.”

maybe the most essential

television but in a different

a whole new stratosphere

“These things have just

with El-P, who he met on a Cartoon Network gig. The pair formed Run the

MAR-APR

The show follows Mike

Killer Mike was raised

048

“As an African-American, there’s pain and trauma attached to Him because

2019


M I K E M I K E M I K E

049

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


“MY FRUSTRATION IS SIMPLE: IT’S WITH WHITE JESUS. IT’S PERSONAL FOR ME.” the same people that are

Church allows

responsible for me being

you, and that’s

here worship the same

for anybody of

God,” he explains.

color or not,” he

When slave traders

room for women

United States in chains, they

in leadership.

forced many of them to

There’s no room

convert to Christianity—a

for people, like

practice which was

sex workers, who are

religion in this country,

him “Killer Mike.” While

carried on for years

morally reprehensible to

as any country, is when

attending Morehouse

and passed down over

the Church.”

you start to see God in a

College, he met the Beat

building you’re visiting or a

Bullies—the production duo

generations. Those roots,

This bothers Killer Mike.

he says, have a lasting and

It bothers him that so many

book you’re holding versus

who elevated artists like

negative effect on black

churches see themselves as

the grass and the trees,” he

T.I. and Ludacris to fame—

Americans’ relationship

gatekeepers, sorting sheep

says. “These are things that

and Antwan Patton, better

with Christianity. He calls it

and goats on their own time

were here long before we

known as Big Boi.

“schizophrenia”—a feeling

to save Jesus some time

were here and are gonna be

that you’re morally and

down the road. “You want

here long after we’re gone.”

spiritually bound to a God

to connect with God, but

that was first introduced as

you’re told you have to do it

MIKED UP

Stankonia, which put him

an oppressive force.

[their way],” he says. “And if

Killer Mike was born and

on the map for more and

“As an American,

for some reason you get out

raised in Atlanta, and he

bigger things in the future,

of line, you’re expelled.”

gained a reputation as

like guesting on Jay-Z’s

a rapper early on, once

“Poppin’ Tags” in 2002.

Christianity is very white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant-

MAR-APR

says. “There’s no

shipped Africans to the

He argues that God never

Killer Mike laid down a few guest verses on OutKast’s 2000 masterpiece,

based, so it’s very difficult

intended to be identified

beating his opponents in

to live anything except

with institutions. “The

a rap battle so soundly

performed respectably, but

what their strict Protestant

biggest problem with

that his friends christened

it was with Brooklyn native

050

A handful of solo albums

2019


sits down with Creflo Dollar,

go,” he says. “They go to

pastor of World Changers

fellowship with people from

Church International, a

the community that they

megachurch in the Atlanta

know and they care about.”

suburbs. Dollar has gotten

Killer Mike—he’s the

for espousing a prosperity

ultimate “tough but fair”

gospel theology.

critic. For all his tough jabs

“I want to see a

at the American Church, he

black savior,” Killer

readily acknowledges that

Mike implores a visibly

it’s done a lot of good too.

uncomfortable Dollar. “I

church community is

like me.”

something that matters

P” Meline make up the duo Run the Jewels.

to people, and is often

Dollar says in hushed

a positive influence on

whisper. “That’s a

people’s lives. Moreover, he

Michelangelo painting,

says he doesn’t think people

man.”

have to leave their church

The two then joke about Render and Jaime “El-

He understands that

don’t see the guy that looks “They did that, man,”

Michael “Killer Mike”

This is the thing about

in hot water in the past

to have a real reckoning

storming Joel Osteen’s

with some of the damage it

church doors to lead the

can do.

black people out of the

Specifically, Killer Mike

pews, leaving the white

says people in religious

parishioners behind with

traditions that foster a sense

their White Jesus. It’s

of prejudice against others

probably worth noting at

can reject those forms of

this point that all this is less

bigotry while still enjoying

Jaime Meline, better known

series, Killer Mike and

than four minutes into the

the community that church

as El-P, that Killer Mike

a few friends travel the

episode.

offers. He says there’s value

found a rare, combustible

country conducting social

chemistry. El-P started

It’s quite a moment,

in people staying in the

experiments, hosting

and it’s probably the only

institution and fighting.

as Killer Mike’s producer

challenging conversations

place on any channel or

and friend, but eventually

and finding small ways to

streaming service you

church because Martin

became a tourmate and

put big ideas into practice.

can go to find anything

Luther chose protest,” he

finally, collaborator as

Some of his bold proposals

approaching an honest

says. “Just because you

the other half of Run

involve racial justice, some

conversation about Jesus’

let go of the ideology that

the Jewels—a critically

involve economics (Killer

racial identity and how

causes you to be bigger

acclaimed duo with releases

Mike was a vocal supporter

thoroughly it has been

than your prejudice toward

that scream in equal parts

of Bernie Sanders in the

appropriated by whiteness

something or someone, that

fire, fury and fun.

2016 presidential election)

in America.

doesn’t mean you have to

Three Run the Jewels

and some, of course, air

let go of community.”

albums later, and Killer

his grievances against

MIKE ON

Mike figured it was finally

organized religion.

Killer Mike says he still

time to turn his attention to a TV show. On the new Netflix

That led to “White

“We have a Protestant

goes to church with family

Jesus,” the episode about

members, albeit rarely.

religion. In it, Killer Mike

“I understand why they

051

T YLER HUCK A BEE is the senior editor at RELEVANT. You can find him on Twitter @tylerhuckabee.

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


The Breakup Handbook BY TYLER HUCKABEE

MAR-APR

How to Survive a Broken Heart Without Losing Your Mind

052

2019


The scene that never grows old is the breakup bit from

the fact, the sooner that knot in your stomach will go away. Breaking up with someone is hard because you know it will cause them pain, but it will ultimately make it more painful for them if you string them along. Pray for strength and poise, and do the right thing. If you’re on the receiving end of a breakup, denial looks a

Say Anything. Even if you’ve never seen the movie, you

lot like a desperate search for answers. You convince your-

know it. Lloyd Dobbler, played by a fresh-faced John Cusack,

self the person who dumped you isn’t in their right mind or

boombox held aloft into the darkening sky, Peter Gabriel

is just going through a phase. You hunt for tangible reasons

saying for him what his own words could not in an attempt

they dumped you, convincing yourself that if you can boil

to win back Diane. It might be pop culture’s most iconic im-

the reason down into one clear thing, you can fix the break

age of a breakup. Which is a shame.

and things will go back to being what they were.

Because of all the many things you can do with a breakup,

This is what denial looks like. It’s a coping mechanism

one of the absolute worst is to pine over what might have

meant to shield yourself from the reality of the situation.

been, trying to reverse engineer a thriving relationship out

Heartbreak, disappointment and rejection are brutal feel-

of the lifeless husk of what once was. A breakup isn’t fun,

ings, so our minds find ways around embracing them. It’s

so the natural inclination is to back out of one and try to go

understandable, but reckoning with the truth of your situa-

back to being in a relationship.

tion is your first step toward healing.

“A breakup is like a death only the person is still walking around in the world,” says Dr. Suzanne Lachmann, a clinical

STAGE TWO: PAIN AND GUILT

psychologist with an expertise in helping people navigate

That acceptance is going to come with a

2

breakups. “Any time you are experiencing anything that’s like a death of someone that means something to you, it’s going to hurt no matter how progressive society gets. A loss

sharp, brutal pain that’s known in the business as heartbreak. You go from seeing someone every day

is a loss.”

and sharing your life with them to not

That means you’re going to probably go through some

having any interaction with them at all, other than some

version of the seven stages of grieving a breakup. This is a

tortuous social media teases. (Seriously, an Instagram pic

process identified by Lachmann as a sort of road map for

from that restaurant we used to always go to?!) It can feel

what the days, weeks, months and even years following

like a death, as someone very close to you vanishes from

a bad breakup will most likely end up looking like. These

your life—and the future you’d been envisioning is swirling

aren’t really steps, since they’ll happen naturally. Consider

down the drain.

them more markers to help you get a rough idea of where

There is one thing to remember during this stage and,

you’re at and how to best navigate this season.

unfortunately, it’s not particularly fun. It’s simply to accept the fact that you’re in pain. That sounds easy enough, but

1

STAGE ONE: SHOCK AND DENIAL

a lot of people struggle with it. They try to convince them-

Your instinctive reaction to a breakup

selves that the pain they’re feeling is silly and juvenile, and

will probably be a little different based

attempt to undermine their own feelings by shutting their

on whether you were the one who initi-

eyes and being a “grown-up.” There’s a reason why Eccle-

ated it or not, but one thing most break-

siastes says there is “a time to weep” and “a time to laugh.”

ups have in common is an initial stage of

Everyone likes laughing, but sometimes we need a reminder

shock and denial in which you don’t fully grasp the reality

it’s OK to just cry and grieve.

of what’s happening.

And yes, rejection is embarrassing and breakups can be

If you’re breaking up with someone, this stage comes be-

humiliating, but that is no excuse to treat your emotions

fore the actual breakup, when you’re refusing to accept in

like they don’t matter. Admitting that to yourself and let-

your head what you already know is true: You need to break

ting yourself feel the full brunt of the breakup is much more

things off. This stage can last as long as you can hold the

emotionally mature than keeping a stiff upper lip and pre-

realization at bay, but the sooner you come to terms with

tending to be hurting less than you are.

053

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


3

STAGE THREE: ANGER AND BARGAINING

a yawning chasm of loneliness, but the day is going to come

Anger usually doesn’t set in immediately.

when you wake up and you’re not thinking about your ex.

Initially, the feelings of loss and loneliness

Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not next month. Maybe not

overwhelm any real mad energy, which

even in six months. But it’ll come. The important thing is to

is why people generally turn to ice cream

not try to rush through this stage. Lachmann says that might

and fried chicken immediately after a

just end up making things worse.

breakup. But the anger stage is when people start turning

“I highly, strongly feel there should be no expectation

to stronger substances (do not do this) or aggressive activi-

ever about how anyone processes a loss,” says Lachmann.

ties like kickboxing (much better). Anger is when the initial

“All the different formulas only put pressure and make you

shock of sadness dissipates and all you’re left with is rage.

feel bad.”

Sometimes anger gets a bad rap. Sure, the Bible says we

Well-intentioned friends will be there to try and talk you

should be “slow to anger,” but it never says we should avoid

out of your funk, telling you to move on and snap out of

it all together. Here’s the thing: Anger is actually a good sign.

it. That’s what friends are for, but it’s also important that

It’s the first sign that you actually are progressing through

you recognize these feelings aren’t something you can just

the stages. Even better, it’s a sign that you’re starting to take

turn on and off. There’s no set schedule for getting over

stock of yourself again. Depending on your temperament,

stuff like this.

you might be mad at your ex, their friends, the circumstanc-

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Stay plugged in to church

es surrounding the breakup or maybe just mad at yourself.

and don’t hesitate to ask for prayer—it really does work.

You’ve got two options here. The first is to let that anger

Also, remember that counselors are heartbreak experts, and

simmer and calcify into a bitter grudge. The second is to use

having someone with the resources to help you process your

it productively. Anger can be a great motivator. You can take

emotions is more valuable than you might realize.

that energy to the gym, a creative project or even some simSTAGE FIVE: THE UPWARD TURN

ple housework. Pretty much anything is better than sitting in your own anger, stewing on the one who got away.

5

A quick note: This is a stage where you might be tempted to start dating again, just to prove something. This is called a rebound, no matter how much you try and convince your-

This is obviously a welcome adjustment to your emotional state, and it’s important to remember that it’ll come. Old routines start to set back in. You’re still sad about

self otherwise. Avoid the urge at all costs.

things—obviously there’s no event under which you wake up one morning feeling completely bet-

4

STAGE FOUR: DEPRESSION AND LONELINESS

ter—but there’s an organization and clarity to your thoughts

“How long will it be like this?” The thing

that you haven’t had in a while.

to remember is that this stage does have

You start having fun again, here and there, but don’t let

an end. It may look like the entire future is

this lull you into a false sense of security or, worse, make

When You Try Your Best But You Don’t Succeed Music can be the only thing that makes sense after a breakup. Both for giving words to the insanely bad feels you’re going through, and for the simple knowledge that someone else out there has felt this way too. Breakup songs do a broken heart good. Here are some of the best ballads for a breakup.

MAR-APR

21

BODY TALK

808S AND

ADELE

ROBYN

HEARTBREAK

The undisputed queen of

Dance the blues away?

KANYE WEST the genre. Adele’s 21 gave a

Tempting offer, but only

Not Kanye’s most

generation a soundtrack to

Robyn knows how to create

commercially successful

true emotional devastation,

danceable club anthems

album, but maybe his most

manifested by a voice that

that can both get your body

nakedly emotional, brimming

could bring a mountain

moving while nursing your

with pain, guilt, rage and

to dust.

wounded spirit.

boundless creativity.

054

2019


you feel like you should be doing better than you are.

happened, happened. The sting of rejection hurts, but it

“There’s no point at which you can look up and say, ‘I’m

doesn’t have to define you moving forward.

officially over this thing,’” Lachmann says. “Because you

This is the stage where, at long last, you’ll get through the

have no idea if you might have some association three

day without thinking about your ex—and when you do, it

months later that makes you melancholy for a minute. It’s

won’t come with a wrenching pain in your gut. You’ll be able

not an exact process and the worst thing you can do is set

to move on and maybe start thinking about dating again.

expectation on your own grieving process.”

And, by this point, you might be an awesome kickboxer.

Allow yourself to have some fun and enjoy life, but also, THE END OF THE BEGINNING

take your time. Build yourself back up slowly.

Breakups are made out of two pains: loss and rejection.

6

STAGE SIX: RECONSTRUCTION AND WORKING

Both take time to heal, and Lachmann makes it clear that

THROUGH

the stages she’s created won’t necessarily go in order. Life,

As a feeling of normalcy starts to return,

like love, is messy that way.

you’re going to have the emotional margin

“You can cycle through [these stages]” Lachmann says.

to start making some changes to your life.

“Go back and forth through them, under them, around

Start thinking about the things you want

them, through them, for as long as you personally, physical-

to improve about yourself and set some goals with realistic

ly, emotionally need to.”

plans about how to achieve them.

Remember your absolute acceptance by God is secure,

Reach out to some friends you haven’t seen in a while

and there is nothing any ex can do to change that. That

or maybe make some new ones. Pick up a hobby (Remem-

won’t necessarily fix the way you’re feeling, but it can pro-

ber the kickboxing thing?). You’re going to have some fresh energy and now is a great time to funnel it toward something proactive, but make sure you’re not using these new activities as a bandage. There will still be moments of pain. “Breakups take as long as they take,” Lachmann says.

“There are most definitely people out there who won’t reject you. You and this person just were not compatible in ways that you didn’t see. That’s all.”

“There are so many ways to distract yourself from feeling sad that we lose sight of the fact that grieving is actually part

vide a true north in a disorienting season.

of the healing process.”

The important thing to remember is that feelings you ex-

In other words, don’t rush yourself. If you don’t process

perience on the heels of a bad breakup aren’t permanent.

this grief now, it won’t disappear. It’ll just show up later,

“Remind yourself that there are most definitely people out

stronger and more stubborn. Better to do the hard work

there who won’t reject you. You and this person were just

now than wish you had later.

not compatible in ways that you didn’t see. That’s all.”

STAGE SEVEN: ACCEPTANCE AND HOPE

7

Acceptance doesn’t necessarily mean happiness. Sometimes the wound left by a

T YLER HUCK A BEE is the senior editor at RELEVANT. You can find him on Twitter @tylerhuckabee.

breakup never completely goes away. Acceptance is about acknowledging that what

055

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


Fearfully Made

Jerry Lorenzo’s unique fashion sense made him a style superstar. But turning Fear of God into a cultural force took him turning to a higher power. W O R D S BY C A M E R O N S T R A N G

F

ear of God’s

have noticed the lack of a

offices aren’t

sign on the door.

what you

Inside the renovated

everywhere you look. Take Fear of God’s

innovative fashion brands in the world. But perhaps

founder, Jerry Lorenzo, for

most surprisingly, he is

would expect

industrial space, a small

example. He is laid-back

an outspoken Christian

for one of

team works in controlled

and effortlessly cool, but he

leading a revolution in the

the hottest

chaos. High-end, modern

is a perfectionist involved in

luxury marketplace.

fashion brands in the

furniture is surrounded

every detail of the company.

world. On a nondescript

by hundreds of boxes

He’s a self-taught

corner in Los Angeles’ Arts

stacked in the creative

designer who built the

“I come to work in sweats

District, the brick building

studio, turning what used

brand on his own, and

and hair looking crazy.

is completely unmarked.

to be the design space into a

now is one of the hottest

That’s something that a

You have to text someone to

makeshift fulfillment center

names in high-end fashion.

lot of people can’t do. I’m

figure out which door to use.

for a drop of the latest Nike

He wears sweats to

operating in my freedom

“I’ll come meet you outside,”

collaboration.

Paris Fashion Week. And

and the only boss I have

somehow he’s a playable

is the greatest creative

refined. Expansive, yet

athlete in the NBA 2K19

director of all time. And

God is being discreet

packed. It’s the ultimate

video game.

I’m OK with being His

so fashionistas and

contrast of high-end and

sneakerheads don’t come

hustle, which might just be

has turned his penchant

knocking. Or maybe things

a perfect metaphor for the

for ’90s-retro fashion into

Fear of God has become

are just so busy no staffers

brand itself. That contrast is

one of the hottest and most

the brand for luxe apparel

is the reply. Maybe Fear of

MAR-APR

I M A G E S BY S T E V E N TAY LO R

The space is raw, yet

In the last five years, he

056

“I think luxury is freedom,” Lorenzo says.

employee.” Over the last few years,


057


gatekeepers, celebrities

He’s well on his way.

nice sneakers. He wants to

old Nike shoe, but we fought

When Nike debuted the shoe

use what he does to make

seen the Fear of God Sixth

to do something new,” he

in December, it sold out in

an impact, and he wants

Collection on everyone from

says of the Nike Air Fear of

minutes. Despite being some

people to know the real

Justin Bieber to LeBron

God 1. “What I’m really good

of the priciest sneakers in

source of the high-end

James, Gigi Hadid to Kanye.

at is shape and silhouette,

history at $350 a pop, Nike

designs they’re wearing.

and if I can help change the

was only able to fulfill 5

“I have to really know

collaboration with Nike on a

shape of a basketball shoe

percent of the demand.

where the favor is coming

new line of basketball shoes

and I create a new shoe with

Lorenzo has bigger

that has taken things to an

Nike, we can maybe change

goals than just dressing

quickly get lost in thinking

unprecedented level.

culture together.”

celebrities and selling

it’s your talents that got you

But it’s Lorenzo’s recent

MAR-APR

“I could have just done an

and trendsetters. You’ve

058

from,” he says. “You can

2019


somewhere, and that’s a

music in the house, and

doing corporate America

scary place to be. Thinking

every night at the dinner

was doing whatever my dad

it’s through your own will,

table the family would

did,” he says.

or your own gifts, that

do devotions.

you’re able to make these

“It says in the Bible, ‘Raise

Lorenzo took a front office job with the Los Angeles

things happen, when the

a child up in the way that he

Dodgers, where he met

reality is it’s the opposite: It’s

should go, and he’ll never

the team’s young phenom,

only through obedience.”

turn from it, and if he does

Matt Kemp. At the time, not

turn, he’ll come back,’” he

only was Kemp one of the

IN TWO WORLDS

says. “I’ve had these spiritual

league’s best players, he

When Jerry Lorenzo was

roots in my life, in heavy

was also a nascent celebrity

a kid, his dad traveled a

part to my mom’s obedience

who briefly dated Rihanna.

lot. A former Major League

and dedication to keeping us

Soon, Lorenzo was doing marketing for the baseball star, which included

“I’m not talking about real fear ... I’m talking about a respect and a reverence, but if you don’t know that, it’s kind of gangster.”

upgrading his style. “I kind of had this knack for knowing what was missing from [Kemp’s] closet,” Lorenzo says. Lorenzo didn’t really set out to start a brand. The “humble beginnings” story is that he had ideas for pieces he wanted for Kemp’s—and his own— closet, but couldn’t find them in the stores. “So I was like, ‘I’ll go downtown, and I’ll make it,’” he says. “I’ll figure it

Baseball player, Jerry

spiritually grounded.”

Manuel Sr. coached at

Lorenzo played baseball

out. It can’t be that tough.” A few pieces later, and

both the major and minor

at Florida A&M University

he had a small collection.

league levels, leaving Jerry’s

before getting his master’s

But it still wasn’t a brand,

mother to shoulder a lot of

degree in business

or even close.

the responsibility of raising

administration at Loyola

five kids.

Marymount University.

actually on the L.A. party

Though Lorenzo attended

Lorenzo’s focus was

Even so, he felt like his job

scene. While working in

a mostly white high school

options were limited after

management and marketing

with “grungy Kurt Cobain-

graduation. He got a taste

by day, by night he was

type kids of the ’90s,” his

of the fashion industry

throwing hugely successful

mom would take him and

working retail during

parties, dubbed JL Nights,

his siblings to a mostly

college, but after school he

attended by the who’s who

black church every Sunday.

took a different path.

of L.A.’s scene.

“I remember her being

“At that time, just being

It was in these rooms

a rock of our family

a young black kid and

full of tastemakers and

spiritually,” he says.

finishing grad school, I really

streetwear pioneers that

thought my only chance at

something became clear:

She would play praise

059

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


Lorenzo was consistently

would become staples

he says. “When you’re

like Nashville or Colorado

the best dressed guy in

of his fashion line.

in relationship with

Springs, he would have

the room.

Professionally, things

Him, you’re at peace

gotten labeled as the

were coming together.

with Him. But if you’re

Christian designer (“It

guys have clothing lines,

Personally, well, his life

not in relationship, you

would have been DC

I could probably have a

wasn’t where he wanted

see those clouds and

Talk,” he cracks).

clothing line,’” he says.

it to be.

darkness as literal clouds

“I was like, ‘If you

But Lorenzo’s lifestyle

That’s when his

But in L.A., it was

of darkness, and there’s

different. It was a little

came at a steep cost to

parents read a passage

like a literal fear. I was

weird, a little punk. And

his personal life. Partying

from Oswald Chambers’

like, ‘Man, I’ve got this

sure, it was cool. But for

every night led to a

devotional classic My

foundation I could build

Lorenzo, it wasn’t just

drinking problem, and he

Utmost for His Highest

a brand on.’”

cool. It was a spiritual

stashed his faith in the backseat. He even decided to publicly change his last name from Manuel to Lorenzo to avoid any overlap with his father, the devout,

“I can’t afford to compromise my perspective for price. I think God has called us to excellence.”

respectable baseball manager. Jerry “Lorenzo” had come a long way

that would change

from the churchgoing kid

his life. The passage

idea of the fear of God—a

who sat down for nightly

described God on a

God who could burst

to make good-looking

devotions with his family,

throne, wreathed in glory

through the darkness like

clothes anymore. He

but that all changed

but surrounded by dark

Chambers described—

was being obedient to a

during a trip to see his

clouds. Dark and light.

sparked something. “I’m

creative calling.

parents in Chicago. It

“I just had this vision

not talking about real

wake-up call. He wasn’t just out

“Fear of God just gave

was a trip that ended up

of God, and He kind of

fear,” he explains. “I’m

me this foundation that I

having a ripple effect, not

looked just like really

talking about a respect

needed,” he says. “There

just on his own life, but

cool for the first time,”

and a reverence, but if

was the conviction that I

also the fashion world.

Lorenzo says.

you don’t know that, it’s

knew there was something

kind of gangster.”

missing in the market,

This wasn’t a Sunday

MAR-APR

Something about the

THE MEANING OF ‘FEAR’

school God. This wasn’t

The Manuels do

a corny, Christian

name stuck. It was cool

conviction that I needed

devotions as a family, so

bookstore depiction. This

whether you knew what

a platform to honor Him.

any trip Lorenzo took to

was an all-powerful God

it meant.

This is something that,

check in with his parents

who demanded respect

meant a little prayer

and should be feared by

gangster enough to

least I’m honoring God

and Bible reading. At

those who oppose Him.

overcome the Christian

through this.”

The Fear of God

“I knew that it was

connotation,” he

and there was also a

even if it doesn’t work, at

this point, Lorenzo was

“In my mind, I was

partying with a handful

like, ‘Oh my God, this

explains. He knows that

initial pieces caught the

of the world’s most

is a good foundation to

if he’d started the brand

eye of Big Sean and other

famous people and had

build this clothing line

in a more traditionally

high-profile figures in

designed a few items that

on: the fear of God,’”

Christian environment

the hip-hop world. And

060

Not long after, those

2019


that led to a call from fashion/rap titan Kanye West, who asked for a few Fear of God shirts of his own. “Kanye got a hold of it,” Lorenzo says. “He and I had never connected, but all of his close friends were really good friends of mine. He’s like, ‘Man this is amazing! Can you be in Paris next week?’” Lorenzo was in Paris next week. The meeting led to a three-year collaboration with West. Soon after, Lorenzo was designing high-end tour apparel for the likes of Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar and Justin Bieber. Lorenzo was quickly becoming one of the most talked-about figures in fashion, and as his personal profile grew, so did his initial conviction to honor the God he “feared.” The brand gave him more fame but also more access to his vices. “I had a brand called Fear of God, and I had an alcohol problem, and I was living these two different lives,” he says. “I was just like, ‘You know what, God, if you don’t want this thing for me take it away, but know that I’m doing this for you.’ And I changed my life.” Lorenzo decided to get sober after a single AA meeting and rededicated himself to his faith. It’s been three years since he’s had a drink. “I really believed that my old self died on the cross when Christ died on the cross, and I really believed that I wasn’t who I was, and that I was how God saw me,” he says. “I really believed that. And I was just able to walk in that. I don’t know where I got that strength from. I think it just kind of happens when you hit rock bottom. You know, it’s just you and God. I was just like, ‘Take this from me.’” THE LUXURY OF OBEDIENCE Listen up sneakerheads: Your first look at the Fear of God x Nike Air 180 Moccasins, releasing May 2019.

061

“I feel like God has called us to do the best that [we] can possibly do,” Lorenzo says when asked about the tension of

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


MAR-APR

062

2019


balancing his faith with

called to be free.

not compromise who he

creating high-end goods.

“Are you finding

“He’s given me the gifts

your freedom having

“This is not a Christian

and talents to express

a bunch of money in

brand, but I’m a Christian

myself at the highest

the bank? Is that your

human,” he says. “And

level, and I’m just trying

definition of freedom?”

as a Christian man, I’ve

to express myself through

he asks. “Because I’m

come to the realization

clothing at the highest

defining freedom as being

that your success is more

level. That costs a lot of

obedient.”

determined by how you

money to do.”

This is where the

Make no mistake, Fear

is—regardless of the cost.

deal with the persecution.

two ideas at the core

It’s not so much in your

of God is high fashion,

of the Fear of God

craft. It’s in how do you

and if you want to wear

ethos intersect: Being

gracefully deal with

it, you’re going to have

obedient to God frees

those who are throwing

to pony up. (For those

him from the pressure

stones at you? How do

lighter in the wallet,

of the industry and the

you represent what you

Lorenzo’s value line

expectations of other

believe in those times?

Essentials is at PacSun.)

brands. And that freedom

But for Lorenzo,

“I think the

provides Lorenzo with

persecution is going to

creating prohibitively

the ultimate luxury: not

come. I think in anything

expensive clothing is

worrying about what

you do, especially doing

just a sign that he’s

others think. He can mix

something for the

living up to the creative

low-profile comfort with

Kingdom, you’ve got to be

standard he’s been called

high-end luxury. He can

ready for that and it’s in

to. He says luxury and

draw inspiration from

how you deal with that,

obedience are inseparable

the world of sports, hip-

that I think ultimately

values in conversation

hop and the Bible, and

you’re measured by, even

with each other.

he can do it without any

more so than the shape of

pushback. He’s free to

that sneaker.”

“Yeah, it could be cheaper,” he says.

take orders from God.

“But I can’t afford

“I don’t think God

For him, these clothes, materials, designs, shapes

to compromise my

needs anything to

and shoes—these are all

perspective for price. I

influence or change

an act of obedience to a

think God has called us to

culture,” Lorenzo says.

creative calling. And yes,

excellence.”

“God doesn’t necessarily

that calling mixes some

need a person or a

tones—effortless and

brand he created. He

platform. He just needs

perfectionist, obedience

runs the team. He does

someone who’s obedient.”

and freedom, light and

Lorenzo owns the

the designs. He is the face

dark, high-end and hustle.

of Fear of God. He’s also a

NO COMPROMISE

husband and father.

When you leave the

It keeps him busy,

It’s a lot of contrast. But in Lorenzo’s world,

Fear of God offices for

that’s what luxury is all

but he doesn’t have to

the trendy yet drab

about.

answer to anyone, and

neighborhood outside

because of this, he says

its doors, you realize

he will never sell what

the extent of Lorenzo’s

he’s built. The money

unique vision, and

wouldn’t be worth the

how successfully he’s

loss of freedom, and

manifested who he is

Lorenzo believes he is

through his art. He does

063

CA MERON STR A NG is the founder and publisher of RELEVANT. Follow him on IG and Twitter @cameronstrang.

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


Maggie Rogers Really Means It In an industry built on artifice, inflation and influence, the ascendant indie-pop star is as real as it gets. BY T Y L E R H U C K A B E E

Is

it hard to be a

industry.

indie star with

legions of fans.

relish, delighted

Heard It in a

Is Born milked a

that her years of

Past Life is Rogers’

successful

whole critically

work are starting

major label debut

musician? It’s

beloved movie

to pay off with the

and her first

difficult for those

out of just that

release of Heard It

album since she

outside of that

premise. “Don’t

in a Past Life.

famously wowed

orbit to know for

kid yourself,” the

“It’s been so

sure.

movie seemed to

amazing,” she

by playing an early

On one hand,

warn. “Success in

says. “I feel like

version of her hit

it looks great. You

this industry isn’t

I’m taking a big

single “Alaska”

get paid to do what

as easy as it looks.”

breath. Like I’ve

for him (Google

kind of come up

the video if you

young,

you love, making

2018’s A Star

But Maggie

Pharrell Williams

fans happy by

Rogers doesn’t

for air and can

haven’t seen it.

creating music

see it that way. Of

enjoy it all.”

You won’t be

you believe in. On

course, you almost

the other hand,

have to say that

enjoy. Her album

there are plenty

in interviews,

debuted at No. 2

of years from her

of examples of

but in her case it

on the Billboard

exploding into

the hardships

feels shockingly

200 and landed

the mainstream

of art—the

genuine. She talks

the top spot on

consciousness

struggle to create

about her life as a

the alternative

for the album to

authentically while

critically beloved

charts, netting

come together in

surviving the

singer-songwriter

rave reviews

a way Rogers was

toxic nature of the

and freshly minted

and thrilling her

happy with.

065

There’s a lot to

disappointed.). It took a couple

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


“I took the time I needed to make a record I love and that I’m really proud of. I think whatever you’re working on, that’s the thing that matters most, you know?” she says.

“If I tell you the whole truth, then there’s nothing you can do to hurt me.”

“That you love what you’re doing. This thing I love is finally out in the world.” But isn’t it hard? The struggle of art?

says she didn’t feel a ton

craft than many of her

finding myself through

The pressure of the

of pressure about the

peers. And she’s proud

a new way, and I’m

industry? The challenge

album, but she did take

of the result.

excited to let it keep

of making something

time to figure out what

“I think if you’re

that really speaks to this

she wanted to say, and

not having fun, then

That spirit bleeds

time and place without

how to best apply her

it’s not worth it,” she

over to the community

compromising its

talents to saying it in a

says. “Music makes me

of fans who’ve fallen

commercial appeal?

way she felt good about.

happier than anything

in love with both her

“You are asking

“I love doing music,

else in the entire world.”

studio albums and her

negative questions,”

and it’s what I’ve always

Rogers says.

loved doing,” she says.

ROGERS’

“I’ve been thinking a

“I went to school to

NEIGHBORHOOD

lot about performing

ROGER THAT

study it. I have spent

“I’ve often come to

recently,” she explains.

“Records, for me, have

every moment of my

describe my job as being

“I think that a great

always been a record

waking life, essentially,

vulnerable for sport,”

performer gives the

of a period in time,”

trying to be the best at

Rogers says.

audience permission

Rogers says. “So I made

this that I can and I love

this record and I’m so

the work that I do. This

therapeutic. “I’ve

of the reasons I always

proud of it and in love

is definitely something

always used music as a

loved going to shows.

with it. And then I’m

I’ve been working for

form of self-care. It’s my

Letting go for a little

gonna make another

and in so many ways,

way of understanding

while and being in this

one. It doesn’t feel

[is] the dream.”

the world around me,”

place with a bunch of

Maybe this is what

she says. “I think that’s

other people.”

sets Rogers apart from

what I’ve learned over

many of her long-

the last couple of years

a one-way street, Rogers

and satisfaction about

suffering peers: the

is really how to let go,

says. She can set the

what she does shouldn’t

prioritization of the

and in the process I’ve

table, but she says the

be mistaken for

reward over the work—

really grown into my

people who come to her

breeziness. She stresses

the top of the mountain

voice in a different way.

shows give her freedom

that music is her art—

over the climb. Rogers

I’m singing right now in

to be authentic, and she

something she’s been

is a hard worker who’s

a way that I never have

gives it back to them. It’s

studying and working on

put substantially more

and didn’t know was

a conversation: a spirit

for over a decade. She

hours into honing her

possible. I feel like I’m

of vulnerability that’s

like it has to be super complicated.” Rogers’ sense of pride

MAR-APR

unfolding.”

mesmerizing live shows.

For her, music is

066

to let go and that’s one

That “letting go” isn’t

2019


fostered and fueled on

essentially saying is

both sides of the stage.

‘You’re so you!’ But, like,

“I really feel incredibly held and supported by my

who the f*** else did you expect me to be?” This is Rogers’

audience,” she says. “I

charm: walking a fine

think as much as we’re

line with so much

talking about making

ease you could be

space to be vulnerable

forgiven for thinking

and performers

it takes no effort at

giving their audience

all. She’s carefree, but

permission, I think my

intensely dedicated.

audience also holds

She’s gracious, but firm.

such incredible space

She gives everything

for me to be vulnerable.

she’s got to her fans

I feel really protected

because they give

in that.”

everything they’ve got

Vulnerability is a gift,

to her. Maybe she’s a

and it comes naturally

mass of contradictions.

to Rogers. You can

Or maybe this is what

hear it in her music,

it means to be an

when she sings about

authentic person in

love, restlessness and

2019. You’ve got to live

the creative impulse.

in the tension.

You can see it on stage,

“I have this mindset

when she performs

of, ‘If I tell you the

with abandon, proving

whole truth, then

that the secret to

there’s nothing you

dancing like nobody’s

can do to hurt me,’”

watching is to dance

she says. “And I think

like you know everyone

that I carry that into

is, and just choose not

my music. Just saying,

to care. She is, to an

‘Here are all the things

astonishing degree,

I feel, and I’m sure

herself. It’s striking to

they’ll change. Maybe

encounter it, not that

you feel some of the

she sees it that way in

same things. If you

the least.

don’t, that’s cool. This is

“The thing that

where I stand.’”

people say to me all the time is like, ‘You’re so authentic!’” she says. “And that seems like such a dumb compliment. I’ll take it, but what you’re

067

T YLER HUCK A BEE is the senior editor at RELEVANT. You can find him on Twitter @tylerhuckabee.

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


S T A T E O F F E A R How China’s government is cracking down on young Christians

BY JOSEPH RIGGS


October 2018, a hypothetical question was posed by Wang Yi, the pastor of Early

IN

Rain Covenant Church in Southwest China. That Sunday morning, according to reports, Yi asked the congregation of his large and influential underground church what would happen if the church was no more. “If tomorrow morning the Early Rain Covenant Church suddenly disappeared from the city of Chengdu, if each of us vanished into thin air, would this city be any different? Would anyone miss us?” The question hung in the air for a moment like a cloud as Yi gripped the sides of his podium.

“I don’t know,” he said finally. As it turns out, the question happens to not be so hypothetical. Today, the Early Rain Covenant Church is shuttered, its cross and pulpit gone, the doors guarded by police officers while a construction company and business association set up shop in what used to be the church building. Pastor Yi and his wife have been detained and are charged with “inciting subversion,” for which they could face as many as 15 years in prison. One hundred other members of their congregation have been detained as well, while others remain under close supervision. Stories like Early Rain’s have been common in China since Mao Zedong’s cultural revolution in the ’60s and ’70s, but activists and pastors say the current crackdown on Christianity has reached a terrifying pitch in recent months. Fearing Christianity’s rapid growth, President Xi Jinping drastically tightened China’s religious freedom laws, forcing churches to follow the government’s strict rules about what can and cannot be taught in houses of worship—or face the consequences. And to make sure the crackdown is successful, the government has focused its efforts on one demographic in particular: young people. THE FUTURE IS YOUNG

“When they survey these university students in China they say, ‘What’s your most current curiosity?’ Christianity is at the top. They are curious. They are seeking.” David Curry is president of Open Doors USA, an organization that advocates for persecuted

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


Christians around the world. He

now of China, they’re restricting

to be in line with the CCP. But as

says the Chinese government

anybody under the age of 18 to come

these religions have spread with

knows there are more Christians

into church, to go to youth group, to

fearsome speed, Xi has tightened

in China than there are members

have summer camps.”

his grip on the unsanctioned house

of the Communist Party, and that

Curry says the Henan province has seen a strict enforcement of

the Church’s rapid explosion by

this new age limit on religious

THE FUTURE IS FEAR

targeting the people most likely to

expression. It’s probably not a

Curry stresses that these

join it. And in the case of China, that

coincidence that Henan reportedly

underground churches are “full

means targeting college students.

has the highest population of

of lawful citizens who are an

Christians in the country, estimated

important part of China.” Their

Atheism, a Chinese academic

to be several million strong. A

only crime is resisting their church

journal, found that there was

widely circulated notice dated April

being brought to the heel of the

a “religious fever” in Chinese

8, 2018, strictly forbid children from

government. They don’t want to

society and “religious forces were

attending church, youth group or

see their church become too closely

A 2013 study in Science and

any religious retreats. “In the past this was

“They’re trying to ... change the theology of Jesus, in some cases and restrict the free expression of faith.” –David Curry

identified with a political party. Increasingly, Christians in China

mainly a matter of

are seeing their faith as a potential

propaganda and education,

tool for social change, akin to a civil

but now this is the red line,

rights movement. That means the

the high-pressure line,” the

Church often finds itself vocally

notice’s stern final line read.

confronting the government about

“Do not disregard this.”

corruption and abuses of power,

To understand how

which experts say is part of why

this works, you have to

Xi is tightening his grip. In 2018,

understand a little about

the government implemented new

China’s attitude toward

rules about religious expression

Christianity. The Chinese

in the country that said one of

government is less

the plans for “promoting Chinese

interested in stomping out

Christianity” from 2018 to 2022 is

the Christian Church than

“thought reform.” The government

it is bringing it in line,

issued calls for “retranslating and

domesticating it and making

annotating” the Bible in order to

it obedient to the party.

establish a “correct understanding”

Officially, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is atheist, but it “sanctions”

of what it really means, according to the government. In short, the Chinese

five different faiths in

government’s vision for the future of

the country, including

the Church is not just that they’ll act

infiltrating colleges.” The study

Protestantism and Catholicism.

the right way, it’s that they’ll think

feared the spread of Christianity

Religious freedom is enshrined

the right things, too. This is what

brought with it a dangerous Western

in the Chinese constitution and

the underground Church in China

influence.

has been since the 1980s, so the

is pushing back against, and Curry

government has typically been

says it’s a challenge for all churches.

“It’s a very young church,” Curry

MAR-APR

churches.

has motivated them to head off

says. “They’re trying to restrict the

lenient toward house churches that

growth amongst young people,

didn’t register with the government

or a home group, the theology and

restrict access. In many provinces

or edit their teaching and preaching

purpose of following Jesus must

070

“Whether it’s a licensed church

2019


numbers are difficult to come by as churches have increasingly moved underground, but Fenggang Yang, the director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University, predicts that the number of Protestants and Catholics in China could exceed 247 million by 2030, making it one of the world’s largest Christian populations. The government’s methods of cracking down are sophisticated, but Christians in China are savvy and determined. “In this war, in Xinjiang, in Shanghai, in Beijing, Christians in China gather for church. The letters above the cross say “Immanuel.”

in Chengdu, the rulers have chosen an enemy that can never be imprisoned—the soul of man,” Pastor Wang said in a sermon he preached before he was imprisoned that was posted online. “Therefore they are doomed to lose this war.” “This is a vibrant church,” Curry says. “It’s not a weak church. They’re

always be a spiritual endeavor, not

there anybody under the age of

going to need to stand up for their

a political one,” he says. “And that’s

18 here? Who are these people

place as Chinese citizens. As 100

the challenge, that’s the problem.

showing up?” Curry explains.

million strong, they need to stand

They’re trying to now restrict or

Curry says this sort of Black

up and go, ‘We are great citizens.

change the theology of Jesus, in

Mirror-level, futuristic government

We want the right to worship Jesus

some cases, and restrict the free

surveillance has been implemented

freely. Full stop.’”

expression of faith.”

in Beijing, where it then can be

In some cases, this has meant

Curry says American churches

followed up with more old-school

should commit to praying for the

churches in China being forced

forms of oppression like black vans

persecuted Church overseas weekly.

to use a government-approved

with tinted windows, nightsticks and

Unlike many persecuted churches,

edition of the Bible, with the Ten

handcuffs. The overarching message

Chinese Christians are not, generally

Commandments removed. Videos

from the government is: Play by the

speaking, impoverished or lacking in

have been posted of Chinese

rules, and if you don’t, we’ll know.

resources like Bibles and Christian

authorities removing crosses from

literature. But, he says, “They need

the walls of churches and holding

YET THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT

boldness and they need strength and

mass burnings of non-sanctioned

“The Communist system has no

wisdom and they need to know that

Bibles. And now the Chinese

moral grounding, so people are

they’re not alone.”

government is using its wealth and

responding to the truth of the

technological savvy in some chilling

teaching of Jesus,” Curry says.

new ways.

The growth of the Chinese church

“China now has rolled out

has stymied its government, and

and is testing facial recognition

their attempts to squash it so far

technology in churches to see: Is

have been ineffective. Precise

071

JOSEPH RIGGS is a writer from Portland, Oregon, where he lives with his dog Jude.

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


joel mchale’s A

BY TYLER DASWI CK

fter a joke about heroin, another joke about co-

charisma and work ethic you admire. “I love playing charac-

caine, a suppressed F-word, an unsuppressed

ters—it keeps me young and away from the heroin,” he says

F-word and a description of his personal hell

(told you). “I see performing like a sport. If you don’t hone

(the Big Brother house with everyone inside

your skills, you don’t work.”

conspiring against him), Joel McHale opened up

Nowhere is this more true than comedy. McHale is touring

about his church. It felt like an alternate reality,

a new stand-up act in 2019, but he’s rewriting the first 15 min-

but it makes sense. Joel McHale’s lived between the real and

utes of every show. Ambitious, but if that’s what it takes to lay

unreal for decades.

off the drugs, so be it.

McHale has a cynical, 47-year-old voice, but he has messy

“I don’t run out there and go, ‘Airline food sucks, who’s

27-year-old hair and a satisfied smile that only comes from

with me?’” he says. “I will find every way to win people over,

earning some of the luckiest jobs in show business: The Soup,

and for me, that first 15 minutes is gauging what we’re deal-

Community, a Netflix series and a new stand-up tour.

ing with.”

It’s easy to like McHale. He reminds you of the friend your

Most comedians earn gigs by clawing their way through

parents worried about: a presumptive bad influence with a

the club scene or catching a break with an improv troupe, but

rise to the bottom

Ever since his days on The Soup, the comedian has reveled in the lowest forms of popular culture. His trick to rising above? He doesn’t.

073

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


McHale started filling seats because of

thank God. Now that I’ve done 6,000

With the rise of the inter-

his hosting gig on E!’s The Soup, which

f***ing comedy shows, I have a much

net, the insanity worked

ran for 12 seasons between 2004 and

better feel of how it goes. Now stand-

to not only draw ratings,

2015.

up’s a huge part of my career.”

but attract clicks. If an

It was the perfect match between

Across 618 episodes of The Soup,

on-camera meltdown is

host and concept. On The Soup, McHale

McHale asserted himself as the judge

seen by 5 million people

scoured the dregs of pop culture for

and jury of trash culture. He brought

live, great, but it’s better

things to riff on, unearthing satirical

uncommon observation to lowbrow

if it goes viral the next

gold from mainstream shows like The

things like Keeping Up With the Kar-

morning, too.

Bachelor and Vanderpump Rules along-

dashians and Dance Moms. That in-

Are general audiences

side unscripted deep cuts like Steven

cisiveness is key for a comedian, and

savvy to reality TV’s illu-

Seagal: Lawman. No stone went un-

it’s why McHale can not only tell great

sion? Yes. Does that stop

turned, be it on Judge Judy’s witness

jokes onstage, but also talk about reali-

them from watching? No,

stand, inside Oprah’s couch or hidden

ty TV like he’s drafting a thesis.

to a point. People buy into

deep in the jungles of Survivor. The

“After Survivor came out in 2000,

Soup was full of crass puns and bath-

there was a gold rush of reality shows,”

than others, and not even

room jokes, but despite its low subject

he explains. “It was wide open and

McHale understands why.

matter, McHale always stood tall at

there was a lot more mayhem. Take

“These shows are ab-

its center. He was dumpster diving in

Being Bobby Brown—Bobby Brown and

solutely staged, but for

American culture for over a decade,

Whitney [Houston] just allowed a cam-

whatever reason, people

but somehow he came out clean.

era to follow them. A publicist would

are on-board,” he says.

In fact, McHale looks back on The

commit seppuku like a samurai if their

“It’s a gold mine. Some

Soup with a lot of pride. It gave him his

client did that now. Or like when Brit-

of my most intelligent friends can’t get

stand-up platform, where he can skew-

ney Spears and Kevin Federline were

enough of The Bachelor—they’re really

er a lot more than Charlie Sheen inter-

walking around with a video camera

wondering if those people are going

views and Kardashians.

documenting themselves getting high,

to find love. It’s a game show about

that wouldn’t happen now on TV.

desperate, disturbed people who be-

“I’m very fortunate I backed into

“realities”

more

stand-up,” he says. “So many comics

“Now, reality television’s a lot more

lieve they’re going to get a husband in

have to earn five minutes here, five

homogenized and the mayhem is on

30 days! It’s crazy to me, but h***, I’ll

the

“[Jesus] would be around the things elitist people would scoff at. He’d be right there in the muckiest muck.”

MAR-APR

some

internet,”

watch it. Maybe Jesus would, too.”

he continues. “I

Yeah yeah, Jesus loves everyone,

don’t even know

even people on The Bachelor. We’ve

if it’s reality any-

heard this song and dance. But would

more.”

he actually show up to your watch par-

The

question

of “What’s real?”

ty and grab the popcorn? McHale gives an emphatic yes.

has been at the

“Jesus would’ve been close to all

center of reality

those things,” he says. “He was nev-

television

since

er one to feign away from anything.

it

Nov-

If He were here, He would be around

elty used to be

the things elitist people would scoff

enough to engage

at. He’d be right there in the muckiest

viewers, but as

muck, I think.”

began.

minutes there. I’m lucky I can go up and

McHale articulates, the boundaries of

McHale and his wife have been going

experiment for an hour. I’ve bombed

reality TV had to expand to keep peo-

to the same Presbyterian church for 19

horribly—numerous times—but I’ve

ple hooked, and that’s how gimmicks

years (He says without his wife, he’d be

been allowed to work on it onstage,

and extremes invaded the landscape.

“a quadruple amputee for some rea-

074

2019


swered a billion

ness. That’s how the immunity-chal-

times,” he says.

lenge victories become ecstatic, the

“I defend Hol-

season-finale betrayals gut you and

lywood

often.

the most shocking rose ceremony ever

People

think

leaves you a wreck on the floor of

there’s a bankrupt

your apartment.

morality

The more we accept things that defy

That’s

easy description, the more capacity life

everywhere,

has to surprise us. When that surprise

dummies! Peo-

is rooted in truth, it expands our con-

ple assume this

ception of what’s possible, whether

is

cesspool,

it’s someone on The Challenge stealing

which it can be,

$250,000 from their season-long ally or

but that’s true

a devoted Presbyterian dissecting that

for any profes-

betrayal with gleeful profanity and

sion. Talk about

devastating insight on his TV show the

bankrupt

next day.

here.

a

and

delusional: You

For some people, Joel McHale rais-

have preachers

es the same question as the shows he

buying

second

lords over: What is real? He curses and

private

jets

he makes crude jokes, but he also is go-

right now.”

ing from this interview to his pastor’s

son.”). Their church is ritual-centric and

As for his perceived trashy TV pref-

birthday party, and he talks about Jesus

modern-feeling, with a special emphasis

erences, McHale’s response is simple:

like He’s the most important thing that

on serving the homeless, which McHale

How’s it feel to have that plank in

ever happened to him.

says

your eye?

is

“wonderfully

eye-opening.”

When he talks about church, the edge of cynicism leaves his voice entirely.

Since Joel McHale is real, the con-

“You’re watching it all, too!” he says.

cept of following Jesus is more expan-

“I’m just making fun of it, which is

sive than many of his peers might have

The expertise McHale flexed on The

exactly what I would do sitting in my

thought. In the mainstream cultural

Soup extends to his spiritual life. He has

underwear. For me, faith has been a

sphere, it adds new dimension to who

takes. Non-denominational churches

sanctuary, but not somewhere I hide.

Jesus is, who Jesus wants and who Jesus

aren’t exactly his cup of tea, he says, but

It’s not a place I go Sunday morning

can reach.

he does enjoy “a progressive church.”

before going out Sunday night to deal

The question isn’t what’s real about

Megachurches, with “movie seats and

cocaine. It’s not like these things are

McHale. The question is what’s possible

keyboards and people practically be-

compartmentalized.

with McHale, because the image of him

ing drowned during baptisms” are fine,

“Once you start believing,” he con-

and Jesus sitting next to each other on

but not his preference. Raised Catholic,

tinues, “it’s nearly impossible to ex-

the couch in their underwear has truth

he finds the ritual of the Presbyterian

tract yourself from faith. It should be

in it.

church “ancient and wonderful.”

in every part of your life. I don’t know

McHale’s says he’s gotten some

what I would’ve done without it, and I

criticism from the faith crowd, and

shouldn’t take it for granted. I need it. I

his edge comes back at any accusa-

need Him all the time.”

tion of a disparity between him and his environment.

This is his reality. Nothing’s for the cameras, and nothing’s for show.

Watching reality television requires faith. These shows are beyond belief,

“When people ask me if you can

but even if you realize it’s ridiculous,

have faith in Hollywood, you’re ask-

the full experience is only available

ing me a question that has been an-

when you buy into the preposterous-

075

T YLER DASWICK is the senior writer at RELEVANT. Follow him on Twitter @TylerDaswick.

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


How to Actually Make Friends in Your 20s After college, finding new friends can be pretty tough. Here’s what you can do about it.

BY TO W N E S P R E S C OT T I I I

M

OST KIDS FIND THEIR BEST FRIEND LIKE THIS: One kid on the

bus sees another kid reading a book. That kid is like, “Hey, can the girl on the cover really turn into a skunk?” The other kid’s like “Yep,” and then they start talking about what animals they’d want to turn into if they could. Sixteen years later, they’re standing in each other’s weddings. But after you’ve graduated grade school, making friends becomes much more difficult. A 2018 Cigna survey found 56 percent of people feel those surrounding them aren’t “necessarily with them” and 40 percent feel their relationships aren’t meaningful. Adults are lonely, but kids can (and do) make friends with a rock. Something’s missing—or lost—when we stop trading Go-Gurts and Gushers in

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


the cafeteria.

not just Him. That’s

“When we were younger, most

how Jesus showed

of our primary relationships were

us the importance

supported by institutions,” says Erin

of relationship in

Lane, author of Lessons in Belonging

ministry and mission.”

from a Church-going Commitment Phobe. “But when you age out of institutions, it becomes a hustle to

The types of friends you make in your 20s:

So, checkmate. We need friends. The Bible calls us to

cultivate friendships on your own.

be in close friendship

They require more margin on our part

with one another, but

to support.”

you’re still a grown-

You might be thinking this boils

up and grown-ups have a hard time

It must be about something else

down to “making friends as an adult

making friends, so how do we do it?

that both friends are committed to

means a little more hard work,” and

Let’s start with Aristotle. In his

and passionate about, besides one

to that end, you’re right, but then

writings, the Greek scholar and

another. Think of what that means

you might be thinking, “I don’t want

philosopher articulated three general

for Christians. Christian friendship

to work hard, so my TV can just be

motives for friendship. Friends enjoy

is the deep oneness that develops as

my friend.” Not so fast. People need

each other, are useful to each other

two people journey toward the same

community. Why? Because, believe it

and share a common commitment to

destination, helping one another

or not, the Bible says so.

the good.

through the dangers and challenges

These ideas aren’t based in any sort

along the way.”

LOVE ONE ANOTHER

of theology, but they are the roots of

In John 13 Jesus tells His disciples,

any strong community, theological,

run-through of all your friends, that’s

“As I have loved you, so you must

Christ-centered or otherwise.

the point. As Lamb says, “Aristotle’s

love one another. By this everyone

Childhood friendships are immature

If that has you doing a mental

definition is not particularly

will know that you are my disciples.”

enough to survive on the first two

Christian, but it’s robust. It helps you

Richard Lamb, author of The Pursuit

things, evidenced by you and your

assess where you’re weak in your

of God in the Company of Friends,

besties always watching Kim Possible

relationships. Christian discipleship

points to this verse as the linchpin of

together (enjoying each other) or

asks what purposes you’re pursuing

the way Jesus calls us to be in relation

trading desserts at lunch (being useful

individually and together because of

to one another.

to each other). As an adult, a more

your faith in Jesus, and it asks how you

mature friendship will require more

can help each other do that more.”

“To look at the many interactions between Jesus and His disciples, He

of the third dynamic: serving together,

called them not just to Himself but

sacrificing together and pursuing a

friendship, but how do we enter into

to each other,” he says. “We think of

mutual purpose.

it? Lane expresses the need for adults

discipleship as something an older

This paints a pretty picture of

to find margin when creating room for

person does to a younger person in

PROXIMITY, SPONTANEITY AND

friendships, and she says they need

a weekly meeting or something, but

VULNERABILITY

to do so on three fronts: proximity,

As Tim Keller writes in the friendship

spontaneity and vulnerability.

in the Gospels, we see the mark of a disciple was that they loved each other,

chapter of his book The Meaning of Marriage: “Friendship cannot be merely about itself.

That last one sounds pretty scary, so let’s table it for now. Making room for proximity and spontaneity is simple. You can’t make new friends unless you enter spaces where new friends are available and make time


THE WEIRDO

THE MARRIAGE EXPERT

THE BATEMAN

They have their quirks, sure, but you still enjoy your time together. Plus, their crochet hobby is starting to rub off on you.

This friend put a ring on it when they were, like, 19, and now they have all kinds of takes on your love life.

They have three investment apps and white shirts crisper than the dollars in their wallet. Nice that they pay your tab, though.

for those new friends. Press into your community. Pick one weekly event you can attend three

key litmus test for creating a truly

mistakes (“Get behind me Satan.”) but

meaningful relationship.

forgiving them and caring for them as

“Healthy friendships risk showing

well (washing their feet).

weeks out of four, like a fitness class at

up in the flesh,” Lane says. “That’s

the gym or a worship service at church.

patterned on Jesus first and foremost:

FRIENDSHIP IS A PRACTICE

Then go at the same time every week.

God is hungry for friendship with us,

“To have people we can course-

You’ll see the same people each time,

and when you’re hungry for someone,

correct with is really freeing,” Lane

and in the biz, we call these people

you show up in the flesh, pay attention

says. “Friendship is a practice, not a

“unconceived new friends.” Time to

to their lives and bear witness to them.”

privilege. We’re in practice with one

make it happen. Planning for spontaneity is trickier,

And realize who’s showing up for

another to become our true selves and

you. That’s how friendships grow.

the people God has purposed us to be.

obviously, but Lane advises doing

Reciprocate with people who reach

We’re going to get it wrong a lot, and

exactly that: Carve out a block of time

out to you, and make sure you don’t

we need people who get that. There’s a

in your schedule each week where you

leave the entire burden of initiation

lot of mercy in the relationship.”

won’t decide what to do until that exact

to fall on just one person. You want

moment, like 4 to 7 p.m. every Friday.

people who don’t make you apologize

a lot more effort than sitting next to

Then, when you receive that random

when you ask them to be there at an

someone on the school bus and striking

text or invite, you have an open slot. If

inconvenient time, or when you ask

up a conversation over their cool

you want, you can even be the one to

them to show up when you can’t offer

backpack or which Pokemon they’re

send that random text.

them anything in return. Those friends

hunting for near Saffron City. Making

Is all of this as easy as it sounds?

respect the difference between you

friends as an adult means being as

Pretty much, actually. Sure, this means

and themselves, but they also seek

forward with your shortcomings and

opening yourself up to the possibility

a one ness with you, evidenced by

your time as you are about your sports

that you might get turned down for a

their presence. That balance between

allegiances and the movies you like.

good hang, but vulnerability is part

individuality and togetherness is vital

of it. And, yes, it’s time to talk about

to vulnerability, Lane says.

creating margin for vulnerability with other people in our lives.

Further, it gives you room to mess

Making friends as an adult takes

It’s never too late for a new relationship, so start making the effort. The timing might actually be perfect.

up as a friend. That’s another thing

After all, we make old friends when

that comes from the Gospels: The

we’re kids, but we only know how to

requires both proximity and

disciples messed up a ton in their

be an old friend when we’re adults.

spontaneity, Lane says. You need not

relationships with each other and

only to be present, but open to the

Jesus. They bickered and competed

invitation (from God or others) to

and sometimes pandered to Christ.

share parts of yourself that will be

Jesus showed them grace throughout

surprising. It’s scary, but it’s another

all of that, admonishing them for their

For starters, to be vulnerable

079

TOWNES PRESCOTT III is an editor living in Kentfield, California with his wife and his bulldog.

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


MAR-APR

080

2019


B RYA N & K AT I E TO RWALT:

OUT OF THE

DARKNESS

because they weren’t matching her circumstances. That’s the central tension of living as a Christian in a broken world— God’s promise of a redeemed creation doesn’t align with what you see around you—and that conflict can muddle how, despite the tension, God’s truth still exists. That murkiness is how lies entered the picture for Bryan and Katie. About a year before

The real struggle—and hope—that inspired the Torwalts’ stunning new worship album.

Indigo was born, Katie remembers encountering some intense vocal problems that coincided with some major hurdles in her songwriting process. She couldn’t sing and she

BY

couldn’t write. Her whole identity

TYLER DASWI CK

was shaken. She couldn’t see the way forward and she had no idea who she was supposed to be. What

F

if God took it all away? Katie’s confusion became the or the first time in their 10

“We need these songs,” Bryan says.

foundation of “Prophesy Your

years as worship artists,

“As a creative, you have times in your

Promise” on Breakthrough. The

pastors and members

life when stuff just comes out of you.

chorus reads: “When I only see in

of Jesus Culture, Bryan

Then, there are seasons when it’s a

part / I will prophesy Your promise /

and Katie Torwalt didn’t

discipline and you don’t feel like you

I believe You, God, because You finish

have the right words. A

have anything to say. This project only

what You start. / I will trust You in

challenging season of life had unmoored

has five songs because we had a hard

the process.”

them from all sense of safety and

time articulating what we were going

security, and the way back was marked

through. These were the songs we sang

the midst of that particular battle,

by doubt, confusion and lies. They’d

over our life. These are the songs we are

they say that’s what they had to

been giving other people prayers and

declaring for ourselves.”

do: Return to God’s Word and

songs for years, but in those moments, they couldn’t even hear themselves. Praise Before My Breakthrough, Bryan

In 2018, Katie dealt with postpartum depression after the birth of the couple’s

When Katie and Bryan were in

remember His plan. “During that season, something

now-8-month-old daughter, Indigo.

we reminded each other of was

and Katie’s new five-song EP, is more

Katie had struggled with anxiety and

the people who had encouraged

about the silence of that period than it is

depression for a long time beforehand,

us with the words of God,” Katie

about the joyous shouts that come after

but after Indigo’s arrival her mental

says. “We wrote those words down

rescue. So much worship music is about

illness reached a breaking point. Katie

and stewarded them and spoke

victory and celebration and redemption.

says she was grabbing at words and

them back over ourselves when we

This album is about pain, patience and

prayers from other people, but when she

needed them. And it’s not always

hanging on for dear life. It doesn’t look

turned to the voice inside herself, she

easy. It’s the hardest in the middle

back. It sits in the unsafe, precarious

didn’t have anything to give. The words

[of that fight], but we wanted to be

now. It’s uncommon, and it’s urgent.

she did hear didn’t feel true, either,

intentional about it in that song.

081

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


“WORSHIP REMINDS ME OF THE TRUTH WHEN LIES ARE CREEPING IN.”

­

­— K A T I E T O R W A L T

God has to say.”

Bryan remembers a moment about a year ago when he and Katie were

When your identity is shaken, the

onstage leading worship at their

assurance it provides is replaced

church. Katie was trudging through

by loneliness. How can you find

the worst of her mental health

connection with another person when

struggles. They were performing the

you don’t know what’s true about

song “Defender,” a celebratory praise

yourself? Bryan and Katie turned back

anthem that goes: “You go before I

to that sense of truth in God’s Word,

know / That You’ve gone to win my war

even if the evidence wasn’t appearing

/ Your love becomes my greatest defense

in front of them.

/ It leads me from the dry wilderness.”

“One of the big lies we believe in

Katie spun away from the lyrics

difficult seasons of life is that we’re

and entered a spontaneous moment

the only ones experiencing that,

of worship, Bryan recalls. Her conflict,

and we’re alone, and no one can

pain and confusion surged forward

understand, not even God. That is

and Bryan felt the room shift away

truth when lies are creeping in,” she

something we want this album to

from celebration.

continues. “It sets the record straight

remind people of: God is with us. The

of who God is and what He has

Holy Spirit is with us. We’re not alone

onstage, and he’s crying even as

planned for us. Sometimes it feels like

in anything,” Katie says.

he tells the story. The impromptu

“Worship reminds me of the

there’s not a plan and there is no hope,

MAR-APR

that come into alignment with what

And that’s why Praise Before My

He remembers he started crying

words Katie sang became the title

but that’s not true, and that’s when you

Breakthrough is a capsule of their

song of their EP. “Praise Before My

have to choose to look for the words

hardship instead of a retrospective.

Breakthrough” reads in sharp contrast

082

2019


to “Defender.”

you have less requests.”

“I know the tension of the now /

Another song on Breakthrough

though, they’ve seen movement and progress, both in God and each other.

I don’t always understand / I don’t

came out of that tension: “Be With

always get to see everything / When I’m

Me.” Considering its appearance

holding up my hands.”

on the album and the context of

God miraculously change some

“There’s these moments that just feel

They have trust. “If I’m being honest, I’ve seen

its conception, it comes across as

circumstances and feelings and my

like the truth,” Bryan says. “I could see

uncommonly humble and submissive:

health overall, but I’m still waiting for

Katie fighting in that moment, fighting

“Be with me / I just want You to be with

some breakthrough,” Katie says. “What

through some of the lies she had been

me / I don’t need You to do a thing /

this project has shown me is that I feel

believing, and choosing truth.”

Your love is enough.”

more comfortable sharing after I know

For his part, Bryan was in the middle of an intense period of insecurity. He felt no stability in

It almost doesn’t make sense given the longing of the other songs. “Some people ask us if we’re

God has come through all the way. As Christians in ministry, there’s a little lie that says you have to have something

almost any aspect of his life, and he

contradicting ourselves between

figured out to have authority over it

remembers his prayers to God in

‘Prophesy Your Promise’ and

or you’ll be dragging people through

that season were marked by “I need”

‘Breakthrough,’ then ‘Be With Me,’”

your mess. But God says you do have

phrases. He prayed for financial

Katie says. “But that’s just a picture of

authority and victory over it. He’s done

security, for help from family and

our journey. God wants to move and

it already.”

friends, for Katie, for his own

heal and perform miracles. He’s still

emotional stability—“I need, I need,

going to come through, but ultimately

where God has set things in motion,”

I need,” he remembers saying.

it’s about just being in the room with

Bryan adds. “It’s been amazing to zero

Him. Amid all the things we’re waiting

in on those things and be thankful

instructions to take our requests to

to see fulfilled, we only have a small

in the moment. Your perspective

God, but he still felt tension in his

picture of eternity. There’s more we

changes. You feel like you’re moving

impositions. Something wasn’t right.

don’t understand yet, and that’s only

somewhere.”

Bryan was confident in the Bible’s

“We’ve seen little breakthroughs

“I think it’s good to tell God what

fulfilled in the presence of God.”

The cover of Breakthrough is

you need,” he says. “But when your

What makes Praise Before My

a dove. It signifies the dove that

relationship with the Lord is fully

Breakthrough so forceful, even

returned to Noah with the olive branch

based on what you can get, that doesn’t

uncomfortable, is how immediate it is.

indicating the flood across the Earth

work. There’s no depth. For me, it’s

This isn’t a “remember when” worship

was beginning to recede. The olive

been a long journey—and it still is a

album, and that made it that much

branch was a sign, but it also was

journey—but that depth has changed

harder to write.

assurance the Earth would heal and be

to come from the ability to just be with

Bryan and Katie say it’s tempting as

restored. That’s the assurance behind

God. There’s something about having

worship leaders to share struggles only

your identity grounded in God’s love

after you’ve gone through them. It’s

Breakthrough, too.

that assures you He’s going to take care

easier to engage with difficulty when

Katie says. “But it signified the hope

of your needs no matter what. You

you can see the before and after, and

to come. That was the promise for the

have less worry and less anxiety, so

it’s easier to share that difficulty with

future. Maybe you haven’t seen the

others after the fact because you feel

island pop up in the flood, but there

you can maintain your authority if

is life.”

“The bird just had a tiny little twig,”

people know you’ve come out of that hardship better for the trial. But that’s not this album. PRAISE B EF ORE MY B REAKTHROUG H

Bryan and Katie are still inside this time. They’ve seen victory, but only

The EP centers on hope

some. They have hope, but in things

in the midst of pain.

they haven’t seen yet. They maintain,

083

T YLER DASWICK is the senior writer at RELEVANT. Follow him on Twitter @tylerdaswick.

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


THE SEARCH FOR We’re all looking for things that will make us more fulfilled. But what if the answer has been right in front of us all along?

MAR-APR

084

2019


BY R ACH E L G IVE N S

ne of Chance the

“I’m going away to learn the Word of God, which I

Rapper’s great

am admittedly very unfamiliar with,” he wrote in the

strengths is his

caption. “I’ve been brought up by my family to know

ability to maintain

Christ, but I haven’t taken it upon myself to really just

the semblance of

take a couple days and read my Bible. We all quote

relatability despite

scripture and tell each other what God likes and doesn’t

his fame. Even

like, but how much time do we spend as followers

as his 2016 album Coloring Book

of Jesus to really just read and KNOW his Word. I’m

confirmed to the masses the Chicago

definitely guilty of not devoting time to it.”

native had staying power, he

Even celebrities of Chance’s caliber, who have

ascended to the top of the hip-hop

everything they could possibly want, still feel the

zeitgeist with a bewildered smile.

need for something more. Some people try to fill that

His connection to the South Side,

spiritual void by taking up meditation or trying less than

where he cut his teeth, felt genuine.

legal substances. But Chance’s approach is one worth

With corny t-shirts and a parade

imitating: Why not give the Bible a shot?

of unending variations of his signature “3” ball cap, he looked

THAT’S THE BOOK

younger than his 25 years. Still

The Bible is 66 books written over the course of a few

learning. Still inquisitive.

thousand years by a motley crew of shepherds, prophets,

No one would have been

kings, historians, disciples and poets. Some of the books

surprised to see this attitude shift

are letters, while some are historical documents. There

as his star continued to ascend.

are census records and government policy updates right

Collaborations with everyone from

next to visions of the end of the world. According to 2

Cardi B to Kanye to Lin-Manuel

Timothy 3:16, it is all “God-breathed, useful for teaching,

Miranda racked up. He even made a

correcting, rebuking and training in righteousness.”

movie with white-hot Oscar magnet

“The Bible reveals aspects of God’s character,” says

independent film studio A24.

Steven Sanchez, professor of Bible at Moody Bible

The natural assumption would be

Institute. “God’s work of salvation in history and the

that a victory lap was in the works,

way Christians should live—all these things are unique.

one where Chance would embrace

They’re only revealed in Scripture. So if you take that

his position among rap royalty

away, what do you have left? You have feelings. You have

with a Coloring Book follow-up that

some things that people told you. Maybe something you

would pull back the curtains on his

conjure up on your own.”

new life as one of the all-time greats. But that’s when things took a

Sanchez says many Christians underestimate or misunderstand the value of Scripture in their spiritual

turn. In early December, Chance

growth. “The Bible is designed to change the way we

took to Instagram to post a picture

think, the way we feel and the way we act,” he says.

of him and his young nephew,

But it can be difficult to know the best way to get

announcing an extended sabbatical.

the words off the page and into your heart, where it

085

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


TAK ING A CHANCE

can make a difference. “Just sprinkling a

since most of the books of the Bible

few Bible verses on your day is probably

are really written to be devoured in

not going to do what the Bible intends,”

a single sitting. If you take a whole

Sanchez says. “You read Psalm 119, you see

weekend and dedicate it to one of

the Psalmist meditating and thinking and

the books, you’ll be able to examine

delighting in and ‘my whole day it’s on my

it from both a mile-high, macro

mind.’ That’s the sort of behavior that will

perspective and have some time to

do what the Bible intends, and change the

delve into the nitty gritty, too.

way we love and how we behave. But that takes more time than 10 minutes a day.” The Bible is a unique book, but it still

DECEMBER 2018

12,

“Otw to the second half of sabbatical. I read Romans,

To start, make a plan. If you can get away, find an Airbnb or chill camping spot. A different location

is a book, and books need to be read. You

will shake up your routine and

wouldn’t tackle Moby Dick by reading

give you some fresh focus for your

one sentence per day, or jumping around

weekend. But in a pinch, you can

from chapter to chapter. You wouldn’t say

do this from home. Make sure

you’ve read Freakonomics if all you’ve got

to deliberately remove potential

is a handful of popular quotes memorized.

distractions (like turning off your

People take classes to understand

Wi-Fi and putting your phone in

Shakespeare. Understanding the Bible takes

another room) to get the most of

at least that level of commitment.

the experience.

But there’s no need to go into this blind.

The next step is to figure out

Chance took his sabbatical seriously, and

which book you want to delve into.

I’m currently on day 4 of

while you may not have the income of a

If you’re more into stories and

ZERO CIGARETTES. I feel

world-famous rapper at your disposal to

plot, then pick a book with a lot of

really good right now, thank

do the same, you can still get more serious

historical narrative in it. Any of the

u Father.”

about the Bible. Here’s what a deep dive

Gospels will do, as would Genesis

could look like for you:

or Exodus. If you’re more into

James and Galatians and

preaching, consider Romans or one THE WEEKEND

of the Corinthians. If you like poetry,

Depending on your job and family situation,

Psalms is an obvious answer but

the most realistic opportunity for you

don’t sleep on some of the prophetic

might just be a weekend getaway—just you

books like Isaiah or Jeremiah.

and the Bible. Believe it or not, this sort of

commentary you can reference.

for you to focus your energy. The stricter the

The Bible is an old book, written in

guidelines, the more intensive you can be

a few different languages and no

with your focus.

matter what translation you use,

“Don’t be afraid to pick and choose,”

DECEMBER 2018

7,

“I’m on a plane headed out the country on my first sabbatical. I’m going away to learn the Word of God which I am admittedly very unfamiliar with.”

MAR-APR

Second, find some sort of

limited time could actually be a great way

there is bound to be some historical

Sanchez says. “There’s no reason you can’t

context that you can only really

start at 30,000 feet and then go deeper and

get by consulting an expert (or by

deeper the next few years of your life, if

learning Greek or Hebrew, but let’s

that’s your goal.”

table that for now).

If all you’ve got is your standard weekend—Friday to Sunday—then your best

THE LONG WEEKEND

bet isn’t to tackle the whole Bible, but just to

So let’s say you’ve got a little

take on one book and really devote yourself

extra time coming up—a four-day

to engaging it. It’s enlightening, actually,

weekend maybe, with plenty of time

086

2019


to get away. If you’re willing to devote all that to a sabbatical, you’ll be rewarded

“I feel really good right now,

for your efforts. Again, as a reminder, if you can get away, do so. It’s hard to

thank u Father,” Chance the Rapper

overstate the value of changing your environment for something like this.

wrote on Instagram, about five days

One fun challenge for the long-weekend Bible sabbatical is to pick a single

into his Bible-reading sabbatical.

topic and devote your entire sabbatical to how the Bible addresses it. This is a

Judging by social media posts,

bigger challenge for some topics than others (you’ll have a significantly tougher

Chance spent a week committed to

time with “God” than, say, “marriage”), but there are few topics you can get a

reading the Bible. In that time, he

decent survey of if you’re willing to devote yourself for a few days.

kicked cigarettes (Hey, as long as

Now that you’ve got a topic, you’ll need a reading plan and for that, you’ll

you’re reading the Bible, you might

need outside help. Do a little research online and see what extra-biblical books

as well pick up some other healthy

have been written about these subjects and pick them up from Amazon or your local library. Talk to a pastor and get some recommendations about trusted authorities on the subjects. THE WEEKLONG GETAWAY

So, you’ve got a lot of extra time to yourself and you’re interested in making it a real biblical sabbatical like Chance. You won’t regret it.

“The Bible is designed to change the way we think, the way we feel and the way we act.”

The Bible isn’t the world’s best-selling book by accident. Any amount of time spent with it will bear good fruit, and a whole week dedicated to it could very well

habits.) and apparently developed a

change your life.

newfound sense of wholeness.

Choose a portion of the Bible to really dig into. Maybe you want to go with the

The Bible isn’t a magic book.

minor prophets. Or maybe you want to really engage the life of Christ through

Reading it won’t heal your marriage

the Gospels. Or maybe just the epistles: the letters of the early Church. With a

or get you out of debt. But it is a

whole week, you can afford to swing for the fences. You’re not looking to write a

spiritual benchmark—a way of

Ph.D. here; just to really take on a substantive swash of Scripture for seven days.

connecting with God on a uniquely

“You’ve got to set your expectations right,” Sanchez says. “This is not Harry

explicit and literal level.

Potter. This is not C.S. Lewis. This is a lot more complex than all of those books.”

Will it fix your life? No, but it

For something like this, your supplemental reading doesn’t have to be quite

might just do one better. It’ll help

as specific as the other options. Consider a more general book about the Bible—

connect you to that thing you’ve

something to guide you while you read. You need to approach the Bible with a

been missing and give a direction to

humble spirit, willing to be filled, challenged and transformed.

your praises.

It’s harder than it sounds. Many people will talk about the value of a spiritual

And if you’ve listened to any

journey, but aren’t actually very interested in taking a single step from where

Chance the Rapper, you know what

they are. Changing your opinion about something you’ve believed for a long

happens when the praises go up.

time, being confronted with a wrong attitude you’ve harbored, realizing that something you’ve always considered to be right might actually be wrong—these aren’t just possible outcomes of truly taking God’s Word seriously; they’re a sign that you’re doing something right.

087

R ACHEL GIVENS Is a writer and editor living in Portland.

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


R E L E VA N T SELECTS

FILM/TV MUSIC BOOKS

NEW RELEASES YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT

The Japanese House Who knew otherworldliness could sound this much like home?

W

HEN MUSIC WRITERS use words like

wrapped in a lovely warmth that makes

“dreamy,” they’re usually talking

it feel comforting even as it gives voice

about floating synths and burbling

to depression.

production that conjures images of

  Bain creates indie-pop that coos and

popping pink bubbles. Amber Bain, the British

swirls, as her voice is masked behind

native who goes by The Japanese House, creates

ethereal filters that make her sound

GOOD AT

music that’s undeniably dreamy, but these dreams

both otherworldly and like she’s sitting

FALLING

are solid, tangible—rooted in images that feel

right outside your bedroom window.

[DIRTY HIT]

familiar, no matter how melancholy. When she says,

Her sweetly plaintive murmurs only

“And I think I’m dying, ’cause this can’t be living,”

occasionally take real shape before they

Bain confirms

on her new album’s standout “Maybe You’re the

drift back into the foreign, familiar space

generation’s

Reason,” it’s an undeniable cry of grief, but it’s

of dreams.

brightest talents.

MAR-APR

088

she’s one of her

2019


Girlpool SLAVES OF FEAR HEALTH [LOMA VISTA]

You think you’ve heard

Who could not love this infectious duo?

bands bend genres? You haven’t heard anything until you’ve heard HEALTH tackle every conceivable audio

ONE CAN IMAGINE a

lot in this crazy new era of ours, but it’s

emission under the sun,

still pretty tough to

including a few you’ve

imagine someone too

never dared dream.

cold-hearted to resist being won over by the irresistible charm of Girlpool. Their melodies are too effortless and their instrumentation too inviting to not be anybody’s cup of tea.   And that’s a good thing too because, as the title of their latest

THE HEARTBEAT OF WOUNDED KNEE DAVID TREUER [PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE]

Oft-discussed but little

album might make you guess, this is a band interested in discussing uncomfortable issues.   Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad are

understood, Treuer’s

honest about their

heart-rending work

journeys and their

grapples with one of

opinions, and practice

the darkest moments in American history.

WHAT CHAOS IS IMAGINARY [ANTI-]

On their latest album, Girlpool adds new layers

radical openness in their

of production to their signature indie-pop

lyrics, too. The result is a

sound, but it still sounds utterly of the digital era

lot of complicated things

that spawned it, and it’s still some of the most

that go down smooth

appealing music on the market.

as honey.

FERAL ROOTS RIVAL SONS

THE SISTERS BROTHERS

BEYOND THESE WALLS

JACQUES AUDIARD

TONY PLATT

[ANNAPURNA PICTURES]

[MACMILLAN]

the classic rock acts of

Audiences slept on this exquisite little

How did the criminal justice system

yore, but Rival Sons don’t

western when it came out, and that’s

become what it is, and can it be fixed?

sound like they’re trying

their loss because it contains one of

Tony Platt answers the first question to

at all. On this album, it’s

the greatest acting showcases of 2018.

give us the scope of the second.

[ATLANTIC RECORDS]

Lots of bands are trying to ape the sounds of

just their natural state of being.

089

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


02/03

RECOMMENDS

Dominic Fike Don’t worry about committing his name to memory. You’ll be hearing it again. And again. DOMINIC FIKE is a 22-year-old

huge major label deal, and his

Naples, Florida, native who

debut album more than lives

grew up obsessed with Red Hot

up to the hype. You can hear

Chili Peppers and Blink-182.

alternative, pop and urban

Nothing about his past would

influence in the songs, but it’s

hint at the upward trajectory

paired with contemporary

he’s found himself on following

grooves and a bracing honesty

the strength of some breakout

about his struggle to grow up

songs he released online.

in a household that dealt with

That led to him signing a

DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME, DEMOS [COLUMBIA RECORDS]

The skilled production and effortless melody suggests Fike is here to stay.

SHOPLIFTERS HIROKAZU KORE-EDA [GAGA PICTURES]

This Japanese drama is chock-full of twists and turns, but one guarantee is that it will make you cry. You can take that to the bank, but watch your pockets along

addiction and dysfunction.

the way.

PHOENIX PEDRO THE LION [POLY VINYL RECORD CO.]

One of the godfathers of modern indie-rock picks up right where they left off, and you know what? We never needed them more.

ON THE COME UP ANGIE THOMAS [HARPERCOLLINS]

The second novel

MAR-APR

from the author of the

BLACK IS THE BODY

INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

EMILY BERNARD

ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

[KNOPF]

[UNIVERSAL RECORDS]

Bernard’s gripping collection of essays

One of the best movies of

struggles she faces along

about growing up black in America is

2018? Check. One of the best

the way as an artist and

required reading.

soundtracks of 2018? Check plus.

a young black woman.

090

excellent The Hate U Give follows a young rapper’s rise to glory, and the

2019


Jon Keith The reluctant future of Christian hip-hop is here.

I

’m glad God made me a new man, because I wanna talk, I don’t want to throw hands,” Keith raps on “Watch This.” He may talk like a pacifist, but Honeyblonde is a defiant wake-up

call to his hip-hop colleagues, a challenge and a peek at what the future of hip-hop could sound like. Sonically, Keith has a melodic flow that luxuriates in urgency. Lyrically, these songs are inclined Heavenward, communicating a raw and forceful faith.

HONEYBLONDE [KINGS DREAM ENT.]

Fans of early Future and Travis Scott will find a lot to like in Jon Keith’s rap stylings, which would sound just as comfortable on the dance floor as they would in any Sunday morning service.

IF BEALE STREET

himself as one of our

COULD TALK

finest living directors,

BARRY JENKINS [PLAN B ENT.]

and his adaptation

REMIND ME

new Sharon Van

TOMORROW

Etten album is the

SHARON VAN ETTEN

of James Baldwin’s

[JAGJAGUWAR]

achingly lovely play

knowledge that you’re not going to hear a single mediocre song.

Barry Jenkins has

finds him at the peak of

The simple joy

This woman doesn’t

already established

his astonishing talents.

of turning on a

know how to write one.

Jessica Pratt SILENCE IS A SOUND as Paul Simon

taught us, and Jessica Pratt has clearly been paying attention to his wisdom. Her music isn’t loud and is just as interested in what you don’t hear as what you do. Instrumentation drifts in and out in curious interludes, crafting a lovely and bewitching spell that keeps you guessing to the last note.

QUIET SIGNS [MEXICAN SUMMER]

On Quiet Signs, Pratt uses a wide range of instruments with a pleasing spareness, making for a wholly unique listening experience.

091

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


03/03

RECOMMENDS

Bethel Music ONE OF THE MOST TRUSTED worship

bands around is back with a live album that showcases just why Bethel has

VICTORY

been a leader in the genre for so long.

[BETHEL MUSIC]

They’re sincere, gifted, desperate to

This live worship

know God—and they want to bring

album really

you along with them. What else do you want from a worship album?

captures the authenticity of a full concert.

YOUR FUTURE SELF

contemporary, well-

A STAR IS BORN

Nevertheless, this movie is

WILL THANK YOU

respected psychology,

BRADLEY COOPER

worth a watch, if only for

DREW DYCK [MOODY PUBLISHERS]

Drew Dyck’s latest book

[WARNER BROS.]

is a helpful primer on

Lady Gaga’s wonderful performance, playing an

how to have more self-

By now, you’ve probably

absolute nobody who

A blend of both timeless

control that’s surprisingly

heard all about this movie

learns to accept her rare

biblical wisdom and

funny to boot.

even if you haven’t seen it.

and stunning gift.

“A winsome, reasonable approach to an issue that usually generates far more heat than light.” —PHILIP YANCEY

“This book could change America and awaken Christianity!” —RICHARD ROHR, OFM

“This is a book worth reading and then doing something about.” —BOB GOFF

Learn More at

MAR-APR

BeatingGuns.com. 092

2019


Sneaks

E

VA MOOLCHAN CALLS WHAT SHE DOES

“post-punk,” and at first blush you might not completely see why. There are no guitars here, and no snotty, ripped jean

longhairs flipping a bird at the system. But as Sneaks, the Washington, D.C., native nevertheless channels the punk spirit through a lack of conformity. She winds her spoken-word observations over a lo-fi bass and drum machine, along with a few instruments that may very well be just her banging around in whatever room she happens to be recording in at the moment.   It’s a raw, gripping sound, channeling the heart if not the exact acoustics of the punk revolution. But none of this would work if Sneaks didn’t have lyrical chops. HIGHWAY HYPNOSIS [MERGE RECORDS]

drum machine trick, and

Her voice is front and center, and she keeps an easy

creating songs that sound

cool over all the music she creates, fluctuating between

much more intricate than

hypnotic chants, hyper-enunciated lyrics and MIA-esque

Sneaks starts to expand

the lack of a studio might

on her signature sound

lead you to believe. It’s

a little here, adding new

a daring gamble, but it

tricks to her bass and

works like gangbusters.

vocal riffs that serve as a sort of organic percussion. If that doesn’t sound punk-rock to you, then you don’t understand punk-rock.

093

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


MAR-APR

094

2019


095

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


LAST WORD A Thought Before We Go

A New Way Forward for Racial Justice

associate with those most like

History is about context, so

ourselves has left all of us in

studying history remains vital. It

mostly homogeneous social

teaches us how to place people,

networks. action may be the hardest

in the world.

part of pursuing racial justice.

Even the most seasoned racial

Commitment to the ARC model

believing Christians should

requires a total shift in disposition

understand better than anyone.

so that anti-racist activity is a

In our passionate pursuit of

way of life, not simply a topic to

biblical interpretation, we know

which you give occasional and

we must always look at the

superficial attention.

context. We want to know the

BY J E M A R T I S BY

Committing to concrete

the broader scope of God’s work Context is something Bible-

about addressing it.

T

coupled with the tendency to

studies textbook.

events and movements within

Systemic racism is real. So let’s get real

he most frequent

one chapter in a high school social

Developing awareness and

historical-grammatical situation

relationships may make you

of the text so we can accurately

feel burdened by the struggles

explain and apply it. It’s no

of others, but does that burden

different with racial justice. We

move you to act? Are you willing

question I get when

justice activists constantly learn,

have to develop an awareness of

to set aside preferences and

presenting about racial

question and reform their own

the context to properly exegete

prestige to take the side of the

justice is, “What do we

attitudes and actions. Though

the times and apply biblical

marginalized and despised?

do?” People who ask this agree

not the final word on anti-

solutions.

that the American Church has

racism, the ARC of racial justice

compromised with racism and

provides a useful framework for

No matter how aware you are,

and institutional aspects of

that racism continues to be a

taking decisive action against

your knowledge will remain

racism rather than solely work

problem. Their next impulse is

discrimination.

abstract and theoretical until

on an interpersonal level?

to want to do something about

But awareness isn’t enough.

To increase your capacity

you care about the people who

the problem. After years of

to fight your own complicity

face the negative consequences

listing random action items, I

in racism, you can start by

of racism.

have now grouped them into

increasing your awareness of the

three broad categories.

issues and the people involved.

The ARC (Awareness,

The problem is that it is hard to make friends with people

Although you can expand

from different racial and

Relationships, Commitment) of

your awareness in many ways,

ethnic backgrounds. A Public

racial justice helps distinguish

one particularly fruitful place

Religion Research Institute study

different types of anti-racist

to start is by reading and

revealed that in a 100-friend

actions. They are not formulaic;

learning more about the racial

scenario, white people had just

they can happen non-

history of the United States. I am

one black friend, one Latinx

sequentially and simultaneously.

concerned that our knowledge

friend and one Asian friend.

Nor should this process ever be

about racial justice in this country

considered complete.

tends to extend no further than

MAR-APR

More to the point, are you willing to address the systemic

The long history of racial segregation in this country

096

JEM A R T ISB Y is the president of The Witness Black Christian Collective and the author of The Color of Compromise, from which this was adapted.

2019


03

RELEVANTMAGAZINE.COM


4.26.19

USA TOUR SPRING 2019 HILLSONGUNITED.COM MAR-APR

04

2019

Profile for RELEVANT Media Group

RELEVANT - Issue 98 - March/April 2019  

New