I used to think the idea of changing the world meant going to the passport office, getting a ticket, running to the airport, and flying to Africa or India or somewhere. And I realize to do all of that, you are going to drive past, walk past, and step over a whole bunch of hurting people. So you don’t have to cross the world to make a difference. You can cross the street, you could cross the room to make a difference in somebody’s life. Our stuff is not super deep, we are just saying, "If we bear the name of Christ, if we are Christians, then there is certain sort of responsibility that comes with that. There is a distinct difference about us, and if we are the people that we say we are, then there is just the natural response that comes with that, there is a natural responsibility that comes with that. And I think in our busy noisy lives we can totally miss it sometimes. When people understand that and realize, God is in control of my life and God is in control of my time, my day and everything else, then you start realizing, he is orchestrating certain events and certain things that can truly change my world and change my environment.
What are your personal thoughts and prayers regarding our economic situation?
I always look at events like this and obviously this apparently is the greatest type of recession we have ever experienced since the Great Depression. You see it and definitely hear word's you haven't heard before. But I always thank God in these moments for the vacuum that it creates, for the desperation that it creates, for the turning back to God from every distraction. I have had to repent so many times. And I think as a nation we really have to return back to the giver of all life and all blessings and all the freedom that we have experienced, and we have to say “God we’ve returned and if this takes this season that we are in to help us to return to a greater understanding of who you are and still have the confidence that you are still in control…” I think that's the confession.
It's like, when economic downturn hits and when this hardship kicks in we tend to do one of two things, either try and fix it for ourselves or return to God. I just believe that turning to God is the right move and our prayer is that not just the church but that America as a whole, the westernized world as a whole, would turn to God and realize he is still in control and let him be in control.
Is there a scripture that's connected to "The Power of One"?
It didn't really revolve around a scripture. I think in the moment that I was writing it, I had been very inundated inside Amos 5. It essentially says—I am totally paraphrasing right now in the sort of the King James Brown version—I am tired of church as usual, I am tired of you guys getting together and singing a bunch of great songs and the fact that you haven't emphasized the poor, the widow, the orphan, the voiceless...I am not even hearing your songs.
I mean this is God talking to his church and I remember reading that, meditating on it, and wrestling with it like, “You are not even listening to these songs that we wrote for you?” It's like a conversation that's going on like I am tired of your noisy ego music and your fundraisers and your campaigns and all these things that you are doing. It basically says, “I want justice, I want oceans of it, I want fairness, take care of those that cannot take care of themselves, do that first, that's what being a Christian is about. That's what carrying my name is all about.”
So whereas your previous albums were talking about what's going with the church and the individual’s Christian experience, would you say you are talking about what we should do outside of the church walls on this album?
I think for years I have thought the church is the building and God shows up in there on Sundays and then we all drive away and we sort to feel home sick because we just left God in the big church box. And that couldn't be any further from reality. The reality is, we are the church. We are a house of living stones. So the church is living, breathing, active people in the earth and if we were called to be the hands and feet of Jesus that doesn't mean we were only called to rescue those and help those who make it inside the four walls of the building.
You know it's insane to think that's church and I have been saying a few phrases for a long time. One, I am tired of doing church, I want to be the church now and the other thing is I am truly tired of salting the salt and lighting the light. You know, we got enough salt in here and we got enough light in here, let's get it out where it's needed.
What are the last words you’d like to leave us with concerning “The Power of One.”
I remember in ‘95 really writing out what I thought the 10 years would look like for me and then I realized everything that seemed like a crazy unreachable goal had been met and had been reached in that amount of time. I feel like this record is more than a record but it is the convergence of all of these things that are a part of the core value of who I am and what I am trying to communicate.
Regardless of color, regardless of age, regardless of denomination, there is this sound and at the heart of it all is love. Love for God, loving ourselves, and loving each other. If we could just start loving one another and finding the good in people and maybe that's where the "Power of One" revolution starts. Where we just see good in everybody and everything. There are obvious evils, there are obvious challenges in life, but love conquers all of that and either that's just a cliché or it's real and I choose to believe that it's real.
So beyond the music--although I pray that everybody reading gets a copy of the record and takes it in--we hope that the prayer behind what we were saying connects with everybody.