Behind EP2 – Shades of Postmodern Gray
“Shades” is a bit harder to explain than Halo(s).
Musically, the riff was an idea I’d had on the back-burner for probably two years. We even had the general structure of the song completed months before ever thinking of recording it. It’s a pretty basic song. Nothing crazy going on with it.
Lyrically, this song is a bit harder. Basically, I feel I’m caught between the idea that things have absolute answers, and the idea that things are relative. I don’t feel that I’ve fully resigned to either idea, but am out in this ocean of thoughts and ideas, no where near the shore.
It’s a strange place to be, especially as someone who believes in God, or considers themselves a Christian. I grew up in a culture where things were black and white, right and wrong. Creation had to be the exact account that occurred in Genesis, or it was just wrong. There had to be a great flood, and Noah had to build an Ark. These types of ideas. Let me say, these ideas were not indoctrinated into me by my parents, but more so, the overall culture that I lived in.
When I moved to Austin four years ago, a lot started changing in me. For the first time, I really started facing ideas, and situations, outside of this old culture. While that is a good thing, it’s also quite a scary thing. You see, I moved to Austin because I felt God had told me to come here. It sounds completely crazy, and I don’t expect anyone to understand, nor do I really care if you understand. I knew it more than anything else in my life.
At the time, I was in a band that was doing some cool things in the midwest, so I felt this move to Austin was going to be some kind of great launching point into a music career. Pretty selfish of me. Now that I’m in the middle of it, I don’t think that was the case at all. I think it was something that needed to happen for me to really deal with some philosophical and spiritual issues.
A lot of difficult things happened upon moving here. My previous band, that we had worked so hard to build, quickly dissolved, largely in part to my doing. I dealt with two Grandfathers passing away, and a friends suicide. My life had been pretty picture-perfect until then. I had to deal head on with how God interacted with the bad times.
The song “Ships on the Sea” from Kingdoms, and really all of Kingdoms, deals with these things. It’s the Problem of Pain. Where was God when His chosen people, the Jews, were being killed by Hitler? Why do children starve to death? How could God have allowed my friend to kill himself when he was reaching out for God?
Ultimately, it’s easy to let the why’s overpower the knows. If that makes any sense. I wept for my friend, but through it all I have to rest in the fact that I trust God, through the good times and the bad times. I know that God provides for me. I’ve seen it a million times. I know that God loves me. I know that God forgives, I’ve felt it at the core of my soul. It makes no sense to my brain, but it’s something I know in my heart. I can’t explain it.
I’ve had many friends, and people I look up to, cast their faith aside through analyzing every item they are unsure about. The fact that they can’t find the answers they hope for eats away at them until they become bitter at God and just want out. I can’t blame them. Sometimes I feel like that could happen to me.
The more and more my faith becomes about what I understand, and less about my relationship with God, the further I feel from God. It’s the same way with my wife. I can know everything there is to know about my wife, but that doesn’t make me love her, but I can spend 10 seconds with her and I immediately know why I married her.
I have to remind myself of my limitations. I got a C in college calculus. If I can’t figure out calculus, I don’t trust that I can figure out the “whys” and “why nots” of who God is.
I don’t know that this explains “Shades of Postmodern Gray,” but hopefully you can see some of the ideas that were floating in my head when I wrote it.