Spend a little time with Todd Agnew and you spend a little time with everyone in his life. Perhaps it was in those long hours he’s clocked alone in his van, over the course 13 years as an indie artist driving from gig to far-flung gig, that Agnew developed the habit of conversing with people who aren’t there. In our hour-long interview yesterday, the Christian singer-songwriter turned aside repeatedly to address his wife, his children, bandmates and the producers on his new, much anticipated album, “Need.”
Clearly, too, a lot of driving time was spent thinking about God, since nearly every pantomimed conversation ends up with some lesson Agnew has learned about his relationship with Jesus.
Take his marriage, for instance. A bachelor until he was 37, Agnew says by the time he married last year, “the road was more home than home,” he says. “By the time you’re 37, you’re disfunctional.” But through his wife’s loving eyes, Agnew has discovered parts of his personality someone traveling solo doesn’t see for himself. “I’ll say something about myself, and later my wife will tell me, “You know, that’s not true. You’re not like that.”
For Agnew, her observations solved a puzzle he’d been pondering in his reading of St. Paul. “In Ephesians 5, Paul says the church has been “washed with water in the word,” says Agnew. “Now I realize that the word–the truth–can wash away those false things you believe about yourself.”
The first single to be released from “Need,” called “Joy Unspeakable,” has a similar insight, drawn from his marriage but applied to God. “I always thought that joy and sorrow were opposites,” says Agnew. But God gives you joy in marriage that runs through sorrow. You are experiencing joy in being together even when something is not going right. That taught me about my relationship with God also. It’s just like John says: ‘continually abide in Him.’”