Article: Bailey: Gold
"When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandise the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful." Barbara Bloom
To immerse yourself in the gospels is to see that Jesus was the ultimate storyteller. He packaged up eternal truths in contextually powerful stories that proved to be contagious. He created and carried a radical Kingdom culture through the extraordinary way he communicated. In my eyes, Jesus was the most significant cultural architect that humanity will ever come across. He spoke grace, relationship and spirituality into the brokenness of culture. He offered something different, something real, something radical.
I love how Abraham chose to pitch his tent between Bethel - which represented a place where God’s presence dwelled - and Hai, a city which represented the things of the world (Genesis 12:8). His heart was to stand in the gap between the two. I wonder whether this was a prophetic image of the calling placed upon the people of God: the call - as Swiss theologian Karl Barth once famously said - to hold a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other. To know scripture and the presence of God but also the culture we live in.
My heart is that this album would carry that same Kingdom vision; a vision motivated by a longing to see faith back on the front line of culture! That this collection of songs would not just carry a Kingdom breadth but would stand in ‘the gap’. That whoever’s hands they fall into, whether Christian or non-Christian, these songs and themes would spark something different. A thought process. A spirituality. A homecoming.
Nicknamed ’The Boss’, American musician Bruce Springsteen said something pretty powerful on the subject of communication in an interview, when asked about songwriting: “The best rock and roll musicians and lovers are desperate men. For them, one and one make three. If one and one make two, you fail. If you’re painting and all you have is paint and a canvas, what are you actually saying? You have to reach down and find that third thing that you don’t truly understand but know is coming from inside of you. If you don’t reach down and touch that extra strand than you’re just not going to have anything to say and it’s never going to have life and breath in it”.
I want to suggest that Christ in us, the compelling and empowering presence of God, is that extra strand and the greatest evangelistic tool we carry. It is that same extra strand that we must reach down for everyday, to tell the story we were born to tell, the way Jesus did!
One of my deepest desires is that whatever sphere of influence we operate in, we would know that we genuinely carry influence - creative and Kingdom influence. All of us are made in God’s image, born to build, created to create! For the scientist, that might look like discovering a new formula to cure the disease; for the poet, putting pen to paper to find the right words to move a reader; for the teacher, discovering creative techniques to engage with a generation losing the desire to learn; for the politician, navigating complexity in search of good and balanced policies; for the mother, mustering up enough love and courage to take on the challenges of another day of parenting; and for the songwriter, finding the right words for those who sometimes can’t.
I love what Alan Scott of Causeway Coast Vineyard says on culture: “We have nothing to prove but everything to share”. For me, this songwriting project with two great friends, Nick Herbert and Willie Weeks, is all about that.