Dave Matthews, Doubts, and Christianity

I would say I have been a true Christ follower since my freshman year of High School (though Christ may say otherwise). Ironically enough I also became a huge follower of the Dave Matthews Band that same year. These two things would socially define me over the course of the next few years. As I grew closer to God I began to realize the struggles that many people have towards having faith in Christ. None have struck me more than the struggle the frontman Dave Matthews seems to have. At first it fascinated me and then more down the road it began to sadden me. Not so much because he seemed to not have faith, but because it seemed as though he did have faith but pain was getting in the way.

Now I do want to say that (though I would love to say it) I do not know Dave personally. My thoughts on the matter come straight from his lyrics and interviews he has given. Perhaps my greatest sin is how much I idolize DMB. I can probably recite to you more Dave lyrics than I can scripture. When I feel down I am much more prone to run to their music than I am to prayer. I have always tried to figure out his faith because so many of his songs voice thoughts towards God and even some songs directly about Christ. Once I looked closer at the lyrics I began to see the constant calling out of God. There were even interviews to which he was quoted by saying “If there is a God I would like to punch him in the face.”  But there are also songs like Time Bomb to which he screams out “I want to believe in Jesus!”

The song The Dreaming Tree has always been one of my favorites. Lyrically and musically it is one of the prettiest songs I think ever written. When I really started listening to the words it opened up a door to one of the key struggles I think many people have in regards to faith.

Chorus to The Dreaming Tree

“Oh, have you no pity? This thing I do I do not deny it All through this smile As crooked as danger I do not deny I know in my mind I would leave you now If I had the strength to I would leave you up To your own devices Will you not talk? Can you take pity? I don’t ask much But won’t you speak, please? ”

The song is a literal calling out to God asking why do you let these bad things happen. The dreaming tree is a place where everything is right in the world and now the world is killing it and God is seemingly just letting it happen.

Back in 2002 Dave sang a version of the song Bartender that is in many ways a song to God. (The Bartender being God.) In this specific version that he performed live he improvised some lyrics that came deep from his soul. I believe Dave has put enough of himself out there to show that above all traits he is an honest person. I think he always has been honest. He backs the things he believes in and supports them with all he can give. These lyrics really moved me and they really troubled me. But he was able to voice something that so many feel but aren’t willing to talk about. It is a powerful verse that he seemingly made up on the spot.

“I want to believe you’re real, but your never there, never there.”

This is one of the roots that first came to me when trying to figure out his doubts. This past Tuesday I was able to see DMB in Atlanta and got to hear two new songs that will be on his upcoming album in the fall. The songs called Mercy and Gaucho finally clearly explained certain doubts with its simple verses. In both songs Dave sings a similar phrase.

Mercy lyrics

“Don’t give up, I know you can see All the world and the mess that we’re making Can’t give up and hope God will intercede”

“Stand up for what we need to be ‘Cause crime won’t save or feed a hungry child Can’t lay down and hope a miracle will change things”

Gaucho has this line repeat multiple times through the songs ending with the line repeating over and over.

“We gotta do much more than believe if we really wanna change things.”

There is no conversation I would want to have more in my life than to be able to talk to Dave about Christ. To be able to give him the unordinary reasons for the faith that I have. And to try and explain some doubts that he may have. This is really my desire for all people. Dave is fairly openly agnostic and I think through his lyrics you could determine that his main doubt is similar to many people’s doubts. The two new songs seem to express it clearly. The doubt being “God doesn’t act on things.” There is too much wrong in the world for there to be a good God. If there is a loving God why doesn’t he intercede?

In an interview with Qtv Dave said “I can’t believe in a God who cares about me. That God is impossible.”

In the book Step Into the Light there was a statement that Dave’s unbelief began when he saw that the soldiers in South Africa were doing all these horrible things and using the Bible to justify it.

Whether that’s true or not I look at what I have read about his life and see much tragedy in his earlier years.

One of the most comforting quotes from Jesus I have ever heard was when he said “In this world you will have troubles. But do not fear, I have overcome the world.”

We often think that God is responsible for the bad things that happen in our lives. Well he COULD HAVE made that not happen to me. If he really loved me.

Last fall I was really upset with where my life was at. I was really suffering, borderline depressed and was wondering where God was in all of it. I thought God was being a bit harsh with how painful my life was at that time. One morning while I was doing a bible study I decided to pull the old open up to a random page in the Bible and see what God wants to say to me. And this verse is what I came to.

“Your own conduct and actions have brought this upon you. This is your punishment. How bitter it is! How it pierces to the heart!” Jeremiah 4:18

Let’s just say it was the most brutally honest message I may have ever been given. Every ounce of pain I was going through I had caused myself but even worse I may have put that pain on others.

When we look at the condition of the world and how awful it is, it is so easy to point the finger at God saying “this is your fault.”

No, God created a good world. Man brought darkness into it.

The irony that I now realize is you don’t even have to be a Christian to accept this. Yet people use this fact to try and disprove God. Take God out of it. The world before man had to have good in it. Man came into the picture and began to kill, steal, lie, cheat, and cause harm. It is man’s fault.

Whatever pain I have was my own conduct and actions or somebody else’s conduct and actions. Somebody’s sin hurt me. Or my own sin hurt me. Now when talking about other types of suffering you can bring storms and sickness into this but I believe that too is a result of the fall. I don’t think Christ wanted sickness otherwise he wouldn’t have healed so many sick people. I don’t think Christ was fond of harsh storms otherwise he wouldn’t have calmed so many when people were afraid.

It is also easy to say in the midst of suffering why don’t you do something about this?

To which I ask have you read the bible?

He did everything. It’s already been done.

“I have overcome the world.”

“Oh God, under the weight of life, things seem so much better on the other side.”

This is perhaps one of the most plain statements Dave has made about his faith or lack there of:

Thank you. I will now begin the boring lull after Molly Ivins. I was trying to think of what stumbling, stuttering things I could say that might inspire you. That was sort of what we were told we had to do, to come up with something moderately inspirational. And then I will rise, hopefully, to the occasion. You be the judge. I come from a family of fairly well-educated people, and I’m proud to say that I barely squeezed out of high school. But, while I could have been in college, I spent the four years driving around in a van with ten other very smelly men, and drove around the country insisting on playing whatever gig we could get, and we got some good attitude from it, too, and maybe some tidbits of wisdom. And I was wondering what I could say today, and I hope that the question I ask doesn’t sound like too much, although it will sound like a hell of a mouthful, but then I’ll try and moderate it by explaining myself. I’ve thought quite often versions of this question, “What is our obligation to God?” Having said that, I sorta consider myself in a way a non-believer. Certainly I don’t believe that I’m quite convinced in the same God that “Shrub” does, up there in the White House. I can’t imagine a sort of Santa Claus kind of God in his long robe-y pajamas sitting there watching us, making sure everything is happy and hunky and occasionally choosing sides like he’s watching a football game, and scream “kickass.” But I do find myself praying a lot, and I don’t know what I pray to, but it seems like I pray to the undamaged things, to the natural things, to breasts before enhancement, to they way that a child runs across the lawn, to trees or to a forest. I pray to those things; to the mountain. That’s where I think God might be at least: the mountain next to Mt. Rushmore. Although Mt. Rushmore is impressive, it’s not as impressive as it was prior to the damage done to it. So, what is our obligation to this God I don’t really believe in? I was watching TV, this is where I get wisdom, sorry I’m stumbling, this always happens to me, I’m going to be quick, I’ll be fast and I’m going to start talking faster, I haven’t had enough coffee. I was watching TV, which is one of the places I get my wisdom, my vast and deep wisdom. I was watching and I was bouncing through the channels and then there was a show, I think it was on HBO or maybe Link TV or something like that, it was on some channel. It was a show about a religion, and they were interviewing different religious scholars. I think it was about Judaism. There was a guy describing what he thought God wanted from us. I think he was a rabbi, or maybe he wasn’t, but I think he had a beard. He said that God doesn’t want us to be something specific; he doesn’t want us to follow a rule book. He made us, or God made us—I’m saying he out of habit. I’m sure he doesn’t have the tackle to necessarily be a he. That would be sort of pointless. But he said that God made you what you are, so why would he want you to be something other than you are. Why would he want you to pretend you are something you are not, because your heart is what God made it. And so, our responsibility to God, however difficult it is, is to be what we are. To be present, not to put up a façade that makes us feel safer. It’s not always easy. I’m faking it a lot of times. I wish I could fake it a little better right now. Although in a way you are more vulnerable and vile things happen to you when you experience joy, you get a mouthful of it, you know when you experience goods things. Because it comes right to you, you’re right there, because you’re not busy trying to make sure no one notices that behind that perfect, or average, or fitting-in façade is really what God made you. So be yourselves I guess is what I wanted to say. Be present. I have a little poem that I was going to read because I think that this guy was much more able to say what I said in the last five minutes—or ten if it feels like that—in just a couple of lines. I went to Australia and I found this poet that I don’t think has landed on these shores, and I thought he was kind of magical. And it’s May, and this is called, “A Prayer in May.” And it says, it starts, “God relieve the dark unease. God of valves untie my throat, and God let sink the weight of mind to the belly of heart’s content.” Thank you very much to everybody for having me today. So save the world now by being yourself.

I’ve written on the statement of “just be yourself” before

https://devonbailey.com/2012/01/13/dont-just-be-yourself/

To sum that up there’s a quote I once read that stated “somewhere in you is the you you were created to be.” A more elaborate look on it is listed above.

I do believe God made us all unique and in his image. But I also think we enjoy using that as an excuse to sin and behave in wrong ways. “Well God just made me this way.” While I believe the statement Dave made more falls in line with the true form of yourself most of the time when we say “Dude, just be yourself.” We mean “do whatever you want. Or whatever makes you happy.” God did not create us to be sinners. Otherwise Christ wouldn’t have had any reason to die.

God has done something about the wrong in this world. He came and He died as a sacrifice for all, especially those who believe. It is a shame that when we look at the Earth in its current form more people haven’t acted on that fact. And responded to that fact. The best and maybe the most overlooked line in the one prayer Christ gave us is “Thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.” Bono is quoted as saying that he finds that to be the most troubling line of Christianity. Because we do not live that out.

Most people don’t want anything to do with God because of Christians. Christ said if you love me keep my commands. There are plenty of professing Christians who by that standard don’t love Christ and they confuse the world about Christianity.

To which I beg any non-believer. Do not let people ruin how great God is. Especially Christians.

Two quotes then a wrap up.

“Let’s be honest. A lot of people confuse religion with God and walk away from them both.

The point isn’t Christianity. The point is being a Christian. It means being a follower of Jesus.

It’s being connected with everything that is true and good and right. Everything that goes on around us,

that reminds us that there is so much more going on around us than we realize.

Could anything be more beautiful?”

“Jesus is bigger than any one religion. He didn’t come to start a new religion, and he continually disrupted whatever conventions or systems or establishments that existed in his day. He will always transcend whatever cages and labels are created to contain and name him, especially the one called “Christianity.”

There is a problem with Christianity; it’s the way that non-believers see Christianity.

The problem is that it isn’t (in most cases) Christianity. That is nobody’s fault but Christians.

There is a reason Christ will say to many people “I never knew you, away from me you evil doer.”

That statement is the scariest statement in the entire Bible. Matthew 7:22-23 says pretty plainly just because you say you are a Christian, doesn’t mean you are one. Even more terrifying is that it is seems to say, Just because you think you are saved, doesn’t mean you are.

The message has always been about your heart. About love. If people look at Christians and see anything but deep devotion to love then we are failing miserably and causing so many people to doubt in the authenticity of our faith.

Dave preaches “We have to do much more than believe if we really want to change things.”

While it seems like Dave is saying stop depending on your faith to change things. That statement itself is pretty dead on. As Christ said it “So you belive in God? Good! Even the demons believe and shudder.” While faith is the essential matter in salvation we tend to think works don’t matter. But I challenge you to remember true faith has deed.

Ephesians 2:10

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

If we are saved we are referred to as the new creation. God prepared your good works in advance for you to do. In other words, you were saved to do good works. It says in James “Faith without deed is dead.” In other words, if you have faith, if you are saved, you will have good works.

If every Christian truly loved Christ in the way that he asked us to, The world would change. It would be like heaven. We would tap into that statement “Thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.” and people wouldn’t be afraid to be a Christian because of how negatively Christians are viewed.

“Christians” need to stop getting in the way of Christ.

As lame and fanboy as it is for me to say; I care about this band. As a Christian I deeply care about their salvation. Few people are willing to so openly express their doubts towards God in such a huge way. I thank Dave and others for their honesty towards expressing the reasons for their doubts. I believe it is important for Christians to know the things that hold others back. Too many Christians aren’t concerned with the person as much as they are the conversion. To which I say where is the love in that? To rephrase Christians need to listen more. Stop talking at them and start talking to them. There are real questions and real doubts that won’t be answered by saying just repent. Though the Bible tells us not to just beat the message down their throats. Some people won’t accept it and we have to move on. I cannot save anybody. You cannot save anybody. Christ saves. We are the carriers of his message and we should share it with every person we come in contact with.

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit.  On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity,   as those sent from God.” -2 Corinthians 2:15-17

Some will be saved by God’s word through us and some will perish by God’s word through us. We simply give off the aroma that that person will either accept or deny. We do not do it for profit or selfish gain. We do it because we care for that person and we want them to live for truth, to be tapped in to the beautiful life that Christ freely offers.

My prayer is that perhaps you could connect to some of the struggles that are expressed through the words of Dave Matthews Band but more so that you can connect to the answers found in the words of Christ.

For my testimony and the strange reasons of my own faith you can listen here:

Some songs that directly deal with Christ and a struggle of faith:

‎”Lift up your eyes. Lift up your heart.”

Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail. Isaiah 51:6

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53 thoughts on “Dave Matthews, Doubts, and Christianity

  1. Great stuff. (saw your post over on Ants). I’ve always wanted to sit down with Dave as well to pick his brain about his beliefs and see where he’s at. Would be very interesting, for sure.

    God Bless.

  2. Great read Devon… I also consider myself a Christian, but one with many many questions and honestly, quite a few doubts as well. Questions that unfortunately for me, I feel cannot be answered by anyone or anything on this earth. So for me, my faith is what gets me through. If anyone comes at me that claims to “have it all figured out”… I run for the hills. No one person knows. Learning as much and questioning as much as I possibly can, is one of the joys in this life. Its a journey, I feel, that is unique to every one of us and its my hope that once I pass on, ill learn all I need to know. Show me you are a good person by your actions. I am nowhere near perfect, but I try each day to be a good person. Thats really the only ‘religion’ I can truly believe in. As for Dave, his road to where he is has had quite a few remarkable ups and some tragic downs. I too, applaud him for his honesty when it comes to his songwriting. Heart and soul on his sleeve. A campfire talk with him would definitely be high up on any wish list of mine as well.

    God bless,
    brad

  3. It’s funny the only Religion that Christ ever approved of was helping widows orphans and loving your neighbor. By means of answers. We will never have all the answers. i’ve always said that’s what makes God, God. God does not think the same way man thinks. I want a God I don’t know everything about. If I could figure everything out about him then he would stop being God. I do believe that when Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me” that it was the truth. Those four points alone will get you through life.

  4. I figured I would give my view and my connection with the band.

    I started following the band in 1996-1997, at the time I was drawn to the sound, the first experience I had with Dave Matthews Band was on “Inside Stuff”, it was a NBA Basketball Highlight show, and they aired a highlight reel with What Would You Say as the song, clip had great editing and I watched it over and over (just to date this, I was recording NBA stuff on VHS for a high school project). That week I went out and bought all the music they had out, including Crash, which had just come out. For years after this I bought Cd’s went to shows and sang along song after song and never really digested the lyrics, sure there were lyrics that really got me, listening to Grey Street in my early 20’s, stuck in my same hometown, obviously made the “I dreamed myself a thousand times around the world, but I can’t get out of this place” lyric touched me so much that I am surprised that by the time the song got to the kicking the windows part of the song, that my car still had windows. That being said lyrics like, “she prays to God most every night” while I thought the line was genius I never really put much thought into his intention with the line. Now let me pause my DMB story and take a minute to catch up the other half of this blog and my connection.

    I was raised in a home with 2 loving parents, both of my parents had both of their parents and I would consider my childhood to be the classic All-American childhood, playing sports in the yard with the neighbors kids, all my family coming to my little league games and unified (non-divorced) family gatherings every holiday. My parents didn’t attend church, but I would get up on Sunday Mornings and I would catch the church van and attend the local church. It was at that time more of a way to spend time with friends from school and gave me something to do. I attended church until late elementary or early middle school. At some point there seemed to be clicks that were formed and as someone who always got along with everyone, being caught in the middle of everyone made for an awkward few years, and I became more isolated and the less time I spent with my peers from school, the better. I really did not attend church or give much thought to the ultimate question, of Why I Am, for the next few years but I guess it was always in the back of my mind. I attended a few church services from the time I graduated, until about 23 and the messages ranged from those that did not affect me at all (same old same old sermons) and then there were those that really to be frank pissed me off. For example, I attended a service Thanksgiving weekend once at the request of a friend, and the Pastor (who was clearly not hurting for money) spent the service calling into question how thankful the congregation really was, because based on some of their habits when it came to the offering bowl, they clearly were not as thankful as they claimed to have been on Thursday. There was another incident at a church recreation volleyball night, I was invited and before the night was over a couple of the more athletic members of the participants made it known that some of the “lessor competitive” members should reevaluate their participation because there were too many people and good players having to rotate off the floor for bad players was unacceptable for them. These isolated events, while they did not directly cause me great grief, they did plant a seed. Now to the point where everything came together….

    As I stated before, I had all of my parents and grandparents up until 2 months short of my 23 birthday, by the time I was 24, I had lost my Grandfather on my fathers side (natural causes) and my Father (instantly in a motorcycle accident). Instantly the night my father was killed lyrics started racing through my head, among them “Twenty three I’m So Tired Of Life Such A Shame You throw It All Away”. It seems as though when something like this happens, everyone is affected differently, my mother went one direction, she has devoted her spare time to reading the Bible and has hopes that she will one day see my father again. I on the other hand have been taken down a much different path, and from interviews and interpreting Dave’s lyrics, I would venture to guess me and him are on the same page. Dave has said in an interview, that people told him that his father was probably in Heaven and that there was probably this secret relationship that he had with God, I have gotten the same sermons, but I knew my father, just as Dave knew his, and I can honestly say that if the “rules” set forth in most religious organizations are the rules, then my father is not in Heaven and I don’t want to go there, I want to go where he is. Just to be clear, my father was not a bad man, quite the opposite, my dad was the guy that if you had a project going on at your house, he would get off from a 10 hour day of manual labor in the 100 degree Florida Sun, and would be at your house until dark and would work his butt off a beer and good company. My father would get up at 6am on the weekends and would make the rounds, driving and visiting friends, having coffee and such, unannounced, just for the sake of stopping in and saying hello, most of the time he did more before I got out of bed on Saturday, than I did all day. A testament to the man he was, was that my father’s memorial service, so many people showed up that there was not enough room for everyone. For me losing my father was a turning point, and instantly like someone pour miracle grow on those seeds planted years before.

    In my opinion, there are questions, we all have. What happens to us when we die? Where do we go? What does it take to get there? Is there a there at all? I do not pretend that I do not have those questions, I just refuse to pretend that I or anyone else on this earth has the answers to those questions. One thing that I think believers do not understand, and I got this from your blog as well, even though you shared the idea of listening, and not just talking to others, the main point of your post was that you would love to try to talk Dave into seeing things your way. Something that you have to understand, is that for myself, or for Dave, agreeing to follow your beliefs would instantly cause us to put our own loved ones in Hell in our mind and hearts, and for what, something that there is no proof of, because “nothing can be proved, that is why it is called faith” (I get this alot from believers when I challenge what they are telling me). Another big factor for myself is in watching Christians interact with the changes in society and their politics. I am a Liberal (as is Dave), when you see Christians going out of their way to discriminate against a group of people (gays and lesbians), again based on their own unproven beliefs, it is absurd. These are the same institutions that 30 years ago preached against inter-racial dating and marriage, and yet today they still want discriminate. They (not all but many) also spent the 2008 campaign calling a man that attended church every week for years a Muslim and a man who rarely attended church a Christian. I for one think the song Little Red Bird was written as a response to Barack Obama’s people cling to their guns and bibles line, and the idea of the little red bird picking up crumbs are the middle class being led to the slaughter by Republicans and left with the crumbs of the economy all in the name of gun rights and religion. These same right-wing conservatives (Christians) are also somehow lining up to support a Mormon to defeat a Christian this go around (just look at Mitt Romney giving a speech at Liberty University’s Graduation) but that is a whole other conversation.

    From my own experience with Christians, having a belief in God does not make you a good person, and not believing does not make you a bad person (I am glad that Dave has opened your eyes to that). I think many times when I tell a Christian that I am not a believer, they are either offended, or instantly try to go on a saving mission. There is no reason for either, I have spent many hours thinking about the bigger picture and while I am always willing to have the talk, just so that the other person is willing to hear me out too, I really do not think there is anything that anyone could say to me that would cause me to mentally convince myself that I have answers that are impossible to gather in this life and as for being offended, I have never been sure as to why believers are entitled to their opinions and non-believers are supposed to just be quiet and not shake the boat. I have heard Dave describe his relationship with Roi as a loving relationship, but a difficult one, I offend have wondered how the other members of the band fall in line with Dave’s lyrics and the political shows they have played. I wonder if it is a natural (we all have similar views) agreement, or a business agreement that perhaps causes some problems and were those differences some of those that made the Dave/Roi relationship difficult (purely speculation). When it comes to believing I think for most it is a path they are set on early on, and once they are conditioned to think they have the answers they turn off to the doubts, others, like myself are left to think and over think everything, especially when life takes a turn. For me a few observations have always been big ones, one is that a person born in the middle of Africa may live their whole life and never be introduced to a Bible or Christianity, does that person just go to hell based on logistics or do they get a pass and not have to carry the burden of faith through this life and still in the end get their reward in the after-life? Another is that a person who is born into a Christian family will likely become a Christian, but if that same person was born on the other side of the world to an Islamic family, they would likely grow up following that same path that their parents set forth. Christians often refer to their being a believer as a path, but really if they were raised in a Christian home by Christian parents, they are really walking a path that was already cut for them, and in my opinion less critical thinking was placed in their choice to be a follower.

    I have at some point lost the innocence that I used to have with Dave’s lyrics and now see every poke he takes at the confidence of believers and have often wondered how in the world a follower of Christ could ever be a fan, again forgetting that I at one point looked past the lyrics that are so clearly there in nearly every song. As for my problem with religion, it seems that today religion causes people to discriminate against others, and causes a level of complacency. I think the point of Dave’s recent lyrical rants, “Save your sermon” “above all things if kindness is your king” “can’t give up and hope God will intercede”, all go back to the idea that Christians think they have all the answers and that they can “give their problems up to God” and they are relieved of the burden of the problems. I have heard people walking away from their homes, and dumping their mortgage, and their justification is that they gave the problem up to God and they were led to walk away from their obligation to the bank and their mortgage. I mean really, are we to believe that God had nothing more pressing to do than to step in and tell you that it was ok to stiff the bank? I get walking away from the obligation of a home that is under water, but it is a business decision, not something God called on you to do. We are at a point as humans where some serious changes have to be made to make sure we can continue to exist on this planet, not in our lifetime, but in the not too distant future, and the “he has the whole world in his hands” approach is something that we have to overcome if we are ever going to get past the worlds issues. As for the after-life and if there is or is not one, in my opinion helping and loving everyone doesn’t have rules, and helping others is just what you do as a human. You do it because it is right, you do it because when you need help you want to person to come over after a hard days work and put in the helping hand. You do it because of those things, not because you are expecting some great reward to be waiting at the end of your days. If you ask me if my father, who was a good man is “in a better place”, I would say if there is a better place he is there and I hope to be there one day too, but if you want to tell me that my father is not in that place, because he never went to church or accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior, but a murderer who went to jail and found God and asked for forgiveness might be there, then I, like Dave would rather go to the other place and in the meantime – I will live my life as I see fit and there will be those who will not like it (#27)….

    1. Thank you for that response. And you raised up so many things that I too am really upset with. First off I wanna say you are a good writer and are great at expressing what you feel. There’s a few points you made in there that I have struggled with quite greatly. I am not going to try and convert you or anything just try and explain how I was able to get past some of those points. First off that church you attended. Complete bogus. I would be livid if I saw a church treat people that way. The way church is done today is awful. And many, so, so many Pastors are waking up to it. I am sorry for the way you were treated there.

      Upon the politics. If you have followed me on facebook you have probably seen me at least try and discuss why I have the stance I do. I think a general point to sum it up was that we are defending equal rights through the statement that All men are created equal. But you can’t take just part of that sentence. “Created equal.” There is a creator.

      I’m not sure what you have seen from me but I do want to say the faith that I have in God is not because of the bible or church but from a personal experience. I don’t want to come off as trying to sell you something but my parents also had physical experiences and they wrote a book about it. http://donandjudybailey.com/. If it’s too pricey I could find a way to get you a copy.

      I disagree that it is impossible to have proof of God. I think the proof is everywhere. And while maybe you could convince me things in the Bible are wrong, you could not convince me that God and Christ are. It’d be like telling me my mom doesn’t exist.

      On people being raised in Christian homes and on those not. There is an age old question upon what will happen to those who have never heard of Christ. According to the bible God has made himself known through the creation so that people are without excuse. The way that John 3:17-18 puts it is that man in his natural state is condemned already. Every man. Those in Africa those in America. Man is condemned because of sin which we are all guilty of. Which I think is the first message one has to realize. Whether we do good our whole life or we do bad our whole life in our natural state we are condemned. Christ came to be a sacrifice of atonement for that situation. Something he didn’t have to do. So the answer that I just fight and fight and fight is that each and every one of us deserves Hell. I especially deserve Hell. God would be fair in sending all of us to Hell. But he provided an out by coming and being a substitute for our sins. That by faith in him we become the righteousness of God. Because there is no one righteous. Paul in Romans talks about how it has been his desire to go and teach the Romans but that he doesn’t wish to build on top of someone else’s prior foundation. (A previous minister.) He says that it is his desire to reach the ends of the Earth and proclaim the gospel in a place where no one has heard it. And then he says a line that really struck me hard. He says “Rather I am reminded

      “Those who were not told about him will see,
      and those who have not heard will understand.”

      There are times in the bible where it even says things like “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”

      I put hope in that.

      I would never ever begin to tell you that your Father will be in Hell. I didn’t know him. And only God knew his heart. And while I personally was raised in a Christian home and never had to choose on if I choose to believe this it believes someone I love is going to Hell. I watched last year as my friend really struggled with this. My views on heaven and hell seem to be always be adapting.

      My friend and I were really struggling with that same issue you have on are there other ways to salvation. His struggle was the second I believe that Christ is the only way to Heaven is the second I believe my mother is in Hell. And that really hit me hard. Because the thought had never been put to me in those terms. We studied and studied for answers we read books on the topic. Theologies around it. And everything brought us back to the words No one comes to the Father but by me. It was not an easy thing for either of us to accept but it is what Christ said. And it lines up with the stance that we are all condemned already. It is by Christ not by works, not by a good life, that we are saved. I had the question raised up about what does God think about people who do good that aren’t Christians. In Hebrews 11 it says “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” That hurt to read. We play God’s peaceful side out so much and forget that he can put the hammer down.

      I know talking scripture to someone isn’t the best way to explain everything.

      I’ll wrap up here but add something I wrote another person afterwards.

      It was a response to same sex marriages (and I don’t really want to get into that conversation for a while it’s exhausting.) But it might explain some things further if you choose to read it. Try and remember that I am namely talking towards sin and not a persons civil rights. I thank you for taking the time to be honest and even read this blog cause I know it takes a while haha.

      Here is my response.
      There are many things I wish God just didn’t have a stance on. But I can’t be embarrassed or ashamed of what God said. Whether it is legalized or not I do believe we will all take account to God’s judgement. And while I don’t find the past conversations and this so much defending God (cause he doesn’t need me to) as I do trying to help people understand a Christian stance I do believe in providing ways of life that best suit people to following Christ. People see Christians as imposing but if your child was running out in front of a bus would you just let her? There is a deep concern from Christians on spiritual lives. As Christians we are called to hold to truth and not provide stumbling blocks for others. I believe same sex marriage to be a HUGE stumbling block for peoples lives. People ask why do we care it’s not as if it harms anyone. But as a Christian and from a Christian perspective we are setting someone up for eternal harm. So we do believe people are harmed by this. Now I can’t force anyone to not allow same sex marriage and if it were legal I can’t force anyone not to get married. But I can speak truth and hold true to what I believe. If it were legalized would it affect me personally? While it would infringe of my beliefs and I have spoken personal reasons above no, by means of me and God it would not. But I care about you. And I care about them. I want people to see the truth and I want people to live a life that honors and brings glory to their creator. Because I care I can never support something that set’s people up for a bond of disobedience with their maker. Which this alone has cost me friendships. But I believe that truth is more valuable than relationships and that true relationships can survive the truth. It is not my job to boss you around which is why I don’t just walk up to someone who is gay and say they shouldn’t be allowed to marry. If I am asked my stance by someone I will give it honestly. I post these things on facebook because I see multitudes of statuses calling Christians idiots and insulting every bit of us. I do not insult back, I simply put my beliefs out there with explanation so that people who don’t understand us can. Not every Christian fights for these reasons. Many, so, so many fight out of hatred and because they think it is the right thing to do. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Christianity is not about doing the right things it is about having the right heart to do the right things. I think our founding fathers believed in Christian morals as the vehicle to drive this country. Now after all of that to your question:I don’t think a church would marry a same sex couple. Some have which is one reason why there was a split in the Episcopal church. So the issue I believe to the core is marriage itself. The questions from Christians that will spawn out of the legalization of same sex marriage are will we have to marry them? Or by my religious reasons can I not marry them? Or will we be labeled as committing a “hate crime” instead of defending our beliefs as has already happened? Non-christians see a slippery slope as do Christians. One non-religious point of view just on the basis of procreation I found helpful was this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMYBl2uzXEw&feature=related.

      This I believe is one of the toughest issues that this country has faced. Not because of equal rights but because of what is at stake on both sides. I think this country is really going to have to decide where we stand. I believe we are a Christian nation and I believe the signs are everywhere. I believe the signs are so common that we overlook them every day. My money says it, my license plate says it, my pledge of allegiance says it. The Pilgrims…were pilgrims. Eucharist means Thanksgiving. I believe the signs are everywhere. My presidents have said it. Our songs have said it. God bless America. The question that remains do our actions say it? There is and always will be One God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. We all must take account. We all will take account.

      Some really difficult questions that need strong defensive answers for this issue fairly executed and to be honest some of them require faith.

      Is Homosexuality wrong and why (you don’t need to be a christian to answer this)?

      Can it be related (as it is in the bible) to incest, bestiality, and adultery as immoral things? ( I do realize that these aren’t all particularly illegal but should they also be in discussion?) Most won’t hesitate to say incest is wrong but why? It is two consenting adults.

      Are man and woman meant for each other? (As genetics seem to imply.)

      Is marriage of God? What is the origin of marriage? Did marriage begin with the first man and the first woman as the Bible states.

      I think I want to end this conversation here. I want to apologize for Christians in general. We do not love as Christ loved us. We do not do the things he asks of us. We are hypocrites and I don’t think there are any exceptions to this. You are right to call us out for not holding true to Christ’s teachings. You are right to call us judgmental. You are right to call us hateful. Because WE. ARE.

      That is why Christ is Christ. He did not come to die for perfect people because they don’t exist. He is our perfection. He came to be sin for us because we could never do it on our own. But God was not after our words, he was and is after our hearts. He is after your heart. He is after a straight heart he is after a gay heart. He is after every heart. I believe in living his way and following his teachings because I SUCK at doing things the way I feel they should be done. It has never worked for me and it will never work for me. Not my will be done but His. It is not about my works because Christ did the work for me. He has provided me with grace for when I fall. I do good works because Christ says if I love him thats how I can show it. If I love him I can help others. If I love him I will keep his commands. And I do love him. I pray that you can realize that what He has done for me he has done for you.

      I have heard the voice of God. I have physically felt His presence and it terrified me. I have seen His love for us and that terrified me. I don’t have to assume he exists I know he exists. And there is nothing in this life or the next that could convince me otherwise. More than anything in this world I want people to experience that. To feel that. To know that. To know that they are loved so that they can return the love to the Creator of love.

      People can do what they want. It has been that way from the beginning. But everything is seen and we will have to account for all of it. If you want me to to talk to you about God or try to explain God, I will try. But I don’t understand everything about God and I don’t have all the answers. That’s why he is so great. I don’t want I God I can so easily figure out. I want a God who doesn’t think the way that I think. Who knows truth in every form. If I can figure out God so nicely then he isn’t God. I can confirm that God loves me. Because I heard him say it. And I do believe that everything that Christ has done can confirm that he loves you too.

      Grace and peace to all of you,

      -Devon.

      1. I understand how you feel and your beliefs, I would never try to convince you that you are wrong. As Dave has said in the past, I wish that I could believe, I wish that I could remove a layer of burden off of my shoulders that I carry everyday, but I just cannot make sense of a God that wouldn’t reward someone for simply living a good life, and being a productive, helpful neighbor and friend. As I said before, to me Christ has become a vehicle for certain people to spread their hate and their agendas. I am not saying that is you, because I honestly think there is very little that separates our beliefs,

        A few points that you made that I wanted to give my response to, you pointed out the idea of “All Men Created Equal” and while I cannot speak to the intention behind those words when they were written, I can say that those words have evolved to include groups and classes of people that they originally did not include, and for me creation can be simply the act of love or lust that leads to the onset of a new life, the word creation does not have to imply a Godly figure. As for the “In God We Trust” that is on money, license plates, and the “Under God” in the pledge, the motto “In God We Trust” was adopted in 1956, the founders actually used the phrase E pluribus unum, which means One From Many, I think that phrase is a more true representation of the idea of a United State(s). The phrase “In God We Trust” is immediately divisive, and re-enforces the need for another idea that the founders had, which was the idea that there would be a clear separation of church and state. As for the pledge, the “Under God” part of the pledge was too added in 1954, again, not exactly the “founders”. Now, am I one of these people who refuse to use the word God, or act offended when I hear it, or do not want kids praying in school? The answer is no, I am not one of the extremists who are out protesting, or funding billboards blasting religion. I celebrate Christmas, and do it in my own way, I think there is something special about that time of year, but I can not connect it to any higher power, but rather the idea of time spent with family and sharing good times, and while I do not get offended by the use of God or the idea of Christ, I have become increasingly bothered by the signs Christians put out at Christmas time, I often hear Christians say there is a war on Christmas, and I honestly think the war on Christmas is a fight that Christians are antagonizing. As I said before, I celebrate Christmas, I say Merry Christmas sometimes, I say Happy Holidays sometimes, but I do not need someone telling me I am doing Christmas wrong, signs that say put Christ back in Christmas, or the reason for the season, are in my opinion just as bad as the billboards blasting religion. If you want to put a sign out for Christmas, how about one that simply says Merry Christmas, not one that paraphrased says “Hey you, you are doing it wrong, you need to do it right”. This again goes back to what I see as a lack of respect toward the beliefs of people who do not see things the “Christian” way.

        Now do I want there to be a God? Sure I do, I do not think anyone wants to be comfortable with the idea that we have a certain number of years and that is it. I am sure you have reasons for your strong faith in Christ, but I have not had anything that has given me that assurance, and for all I know the real truth and the real God could be something that noone on Earth has even fathomed, if it exists at all. It might surprise you that I have bible verses on the walls of my livingroom, they include good messages, and lessons that can be used day to day, but those messages are true from the bible, just as they are on a child favorite show on Nick Jr. I have read your beliefs and honestly think there are very few things that seperate our feelings, but the things that seperate our beliefs honestly put us on a pair of platues in the middle of the Grand Canyon with a gap between the places where we stand are just too far for either of us to leap, it would mean certain death for one of us when it comes to the people that we are. So what we are left with is the things we do have in common, a desire to be productive, loving and helpful humans, if you remove all the rules and expectations and just strip religion down to its core principles, the greater good that I and Dave believe in is not much different from what you hold dear, I just do not see a need to put limitations or restrictions on who can be included or rewarded in and for making the future a better place.

  5. I am a HUGE DMB fan and Christian. I agree with you about Dave’s agnostic views, it’s hard but I think even a Christian can relate to that internal struggle of believing, but yet wondering why God allows certain things to happen. That is why DMB’s music is so relatable and speaks to our soul. If I had a chance to speak with Dave I wouldn’t try to encourage a discussion on his faith. That is very personal territory. Maybe at the end you could tell him you pray for him to find faith but if it were me I would just thank him for the music and tell him it speaks to my soul and has pulled me through many hard times along with my faith. Great read!!

  6. I think Dave hates god because a lot terrible things have happened to Dave and his family thatbcan be perceived as not fair…his sister was killed in south Africa in a awful circumstance. His father died when he was young…as you mentioned , being from south Africa, he has seen much violence based on race. I think Dave sees the state of the world in general and it makes him sad…and he challenges what god has created.

    While you might be about Christ, I think daves thoughts about god are not about Christ ….a few lyrics about Jesus does not mean the writer struggles with Christ. That would be you shaping Dave to fit in your world. I think he is leaning towards Judaism, not a religion that believes everyone else goes to hell. Kidding about Judaism ..but I don’t think he has picked a religion. Do you need to pick one to hate god?

    I hope dmb turns you into a better person, not christian. We have enough self-proclaimed Christians. We need more good people.

  7. The last line of your post in many ways one of the points of this article. God is not after your words but your heart. Humanity is so caught up in working their way to heaven. Living a good enough life for the next. But God said you don’t have to do that. Jesus took that burden on the cross. He did all the work for you. Christ came and suffered and died because we can’t work our way into heaven. Perhaps my favorite verse in the Bible is 2 Corinthians 5:21 Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. That is the most beautiful love given in any story ever. When people are truly open to God. When they honestly come to him, God sends you his spirit to help guide you towards what is true and right. It sounds hokey but I have seen it in so many people and not to sound conceited but I have seen it and felt it in myself.

    People seem to wonder why doesn’t God reward non-believers for good works. Because that isn’t his standard. We are all bad people in God’s eyes even the “good ones”. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. Just one more verse “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

    By faith in Christ the situation changes. If you believe in Christ on the day of judgement God will look at your life and not see yours but He will see what Christ has done in your place.

    1. I think this most recent comment sums up the point of alot of Dave recent rants. As you have so clearly pointed out, the idea of being a Christian allows you to simply believe in God and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and all of your sins are washed away, no matter how bad of a person you have been. Dave has clearly asked the question in a radio interview (I sent it to you about 6-8 months ago on another FB post on this subject), why not follow a God that calls us to action, that asks us to step up and change the world and be a good friend and neighbor, what about a “Good God”, not a strike you down God, but a God that calls us to action. I think the idea that we can be lackadaisical and just drop the burdens of our failures at the feet of a supreme being, really puts us in a position to accept failure. That puts us in a position to give up on the hard things in life and in the world far too easily

      Here is the link to the interview for anyone who have not seen it, Daves comments on God begin around the 28:00 mark and run about 10 mins http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZbseUM1T_A

  8. It is not meant to make lazy Christians rather the opposite. Christ was always calling people to action just not action that grants you salvation. He was always in the face of people who did not do things out of love. Christ said If you love me take care of the least of these. Take care of widows, orphans and love your neighbor. No part of his teaching said we should just accept our failures rather that we should repent. Own up to our failures and realize our need for Christ. Most people write of Jesus by saying “Welp, I said my prayer I’m good.” And continue living life in sin but Christ over and over and the apostles as well told us to deny ourselves, to put of our old self and it’s deceitful ways and desires and to live according to the new way that can be found in a life with Christ. He calls one to carry their cross daily. To suffer through trials and temptations. To essentially be perfect. Faith without deed is dead. Simply meaning if you are saved Christ will lead you to good works. It is simply the response that Christ asks for to being saved. You can not work your way to salvation. Rather because you are saved you can show God that you love him by living out the teachings of Christ. Which most anyone will agree were good ways to live. Good works are a loving response to salvation. And we are granted grace for when we fall. I always ask do you really want your salvation dependent on what you do? Or rather what someone who is perfect in every way has done for you in your place.

  9. I am not talking about Christians who ask for Salvation, and then continue to spend their days seeking God’s approval through good deeds and good works. I think no matter if their faith is proven right or wrong, at the end of their days, someone who follows Christ’s teachings of loving everyone and works day in and day out for their salvation will leave the world a better place. I am more talking about the people who use their faith as an umbrella to hide under. I mentioned in my earlier response about people walking away from their homes and mortgages and claiming they gave the problem up to God and he led them to the conclusion that they were best served to walk away from their obligation. To me that just doesn’t make sense and while someone walking away from their mortgage in the grand scheme of things is a minor issue, it illustrates a bigger issue for me, if we are conditioned that just because a problem is big, real, or difficult, we can just lay the burden at the feet of someone else and walk away, we will never address the worlds big, real, and difficult problems. I see more and more people when they are faced with a problem claiming that they gave it up to God and I just cringe when I hear it, because 9 times out of 10 the solution they were led to ends up being the easy way out and by giving the credit to God for the path they took they get a pass because we are conditioned not to question someone’s faith or relationship with God. I understand the idea of God as super all knowing being and Christ dying for sins of sinners, but for me it seems more and more people are dumping far to much on their God.

    Also as Dave said in that interview, the Bible says the world will basically go to hell in a hand basket before the end of days. What I see today are people who see the world’s big problems as just part of the plan, it is what is supposed to happen according to the Bible and they spend their days preaching about the rapture looking to save souls and really do not spend enough time coming up with solutions to the problems we face, basically forfeited to the idea that these are truths that we cannot change.

    I hope that this conversation isn’t hitting you the wrong way, I am not questioning your faith or your beliefs or attacking you, just sharing ideas and concerns,I hope that is how it is coming across, and if I am out of bounds just let me know.

  10. I have really enjoyed your post on Dave. My husband and I got into DMB in ’99 and have made attending their shows an annual event as a couple. Their show in Dallas a couple of weeks ago was a fun celebration of our 9 year wedding anniversary. What a great time together.

    I too have found myself examining the lyrics and pondering what Dave really feels. You can hear/feel his struggle with God in so much of his lyrics. The honesty is what really pulls many of us in to their music. All of the band plays with such passion, and talent, that if you just open yourself to feel the rhythm you cannot help but be moved in some way.

    I consider myself a Christian. My relationship with God has matured more in the last two years, but I still have a lot to learn. I feel that as believers in God, we must examine ourselves often and question our actions. It seems if we just move along through life, going through the same motions agiain and agian, then it makes it easy for the Devil to creap into our lives for distruction through boredom and frustration.

    We attended an excellent church in Flower Mound, TX called The Village. It is pastored by a man named Matt Chandler. He is such a good speaker, it is easy to get drawn into his sermons. His messages were very Gospil centered (lots of biblie verses for reference), he ‘set the scene’ for the historical stuff going on for the verses we were studying, and he didn’t hold back. You would walk out of church really thinking about your life and your relationship with God. He was quick to point out many of the things you mentioned in your original post. That many of us call ourselves Christians and may even be the king/queen of never missing a church service, however that does not mean we are what we say we are. Saying we are Christians doesn’t mean anything. Attending church doesn’t mean anything or make us better than anyone else. What matters is our personal relationship with God. He knows our heart.

    I’ve had a lot of difficult things happen in my family since fall of 1996. At times, I didn’t understand why we kept experiencing so much heartache and struggle. i believed in God, but my relationship with God was in name only. There wasn’t much practice. I kept thinking we shouldn’t go through this. Why was it so bad? Fast forward several years to 2010-2011, Matt gave the most simple explination for why there is so much heartache, violence, evil, pure evil in our world. Our world was perfection. No saddness, pain, sickness or death. When Eve took a bite of the apple, our world was fractured. That one event opened the door for all of this to happen. That made so much sense to me. It explained so much. We did this. God didn’t. We still do this to ourselves. God doesn’t go around working us like puppets. We have free will. He gave us our brains. Yet, it is up to us to make the right choices. That fractured moment brought in evil as a choice.

    I know that explination doesn’t work for everyone, but it really hit home for me. As I sit here typing this, I am thinking of the other stuff that has happened since my family moved from Texas to Oklahoma last year. More struggles and sadness have occured. Yet, through all of it I clung to God through prayer. He helped us get through the pain and saddness. Looking back, I see the plan God had for me and my family to get through these last 6 months. His plan started back in 2009. It was perfectly planned and I love him even more today for taking such good care of all of us. However, I realized that at any time we could have ignored his direction and not followed what our hearts were telling us to do. I don’t know what would have happened if we had ignored his will. All I know is that we made it through and he made it as easy as it could be. What an amazing, loving Father.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Don’t burn the day!

    1. I know of Matt Chandler! He really is a great teacher. And I am sorry for the things you have been through. This is one of my favorite analogies for the situation of the world. It is from the final season of LOST so it is a huge spoiler if you haven’t made it there yet. It’s essentially the big spoiler of the show but man it just says it out so well.

      It’s all meaningless if I step in.

      Well if you don’t he will.

      If I don’t want to step in maybe you will.

  11. I’m so glad I stumbled onto your blog. I am an enormous fan of DMB and a believer. However, it’s only been about 4 months of so that I’ve REALLY gotten back into DMB and I’ve found it has struck a chord inside of me and I’ve been seeking answers as to why. It wasn’t until I’ve truly picked apart Dave’s lyrics that I fell more in love with his art. There is really no artist out there with such intense, deep, twisting, thought provoking, core shaking lyrics here. And a righteous group of musicians that take the show to boot. When I listen, my soul is moved and it’s strange to me. Dave isn’t a Christian. How could I be moved by this? What is it inside of me that is resonated by his music??? It has really been eating at me.
    I want to say that I LOVE the fact that you are a believer and love DMB. It’s tough to find that and I have spent hours reading the blog and comments. Pondering the thoughts of both sides. Your faith and views are really refreshing. Ok, onto my story (or ordeal).
    In the past year I’ve felt a pull away from God and the Church and really I don’t know why. I got ‘saved’ (if you will) 3 years ago and of course was a radical Christian. Last summer, around this time was my most recent missions trip to Kenya, Africa. It was a mix, of evangelism, teaching, preaching, praying for high school students and spreading the good news. It rocked my core. It just baffles me that since that experience of full on Jesus, seeing the slums, the worst parts of the world and the sickest part of humanity….I’ve gone to church less. Read my Bible less. It’s been more of a journey with God and I, and His creation. Maybe it’s just a season…but any-who…instead of Hillsong, I’m listening to Dave. More. And more. And more. It’s funny you said your sin is that you idol him…(cough) well I share that same conviction. But, WHY?! I ask myself. Why have I been so drawn to the world, and curious about Dave’s view of life and even questioning God’s existence?! How can that be…I’m a believer!! What am I looking for or what is God telling me through this season? I’ve really been wrestling here. I think I’m trying to find proof of something. But, what?
    Sidenote: I’ve really been questioning being a “Christian” and being a part of the church. I’ve felt like church is starting to become more of a business (I attend a large church here in Baton Rouge, LA called Healing Place Church with Ps. Dino Rizzo. Recently, we moved into a multi-million dollar building with the latest and greatest gadgets) and services have become a routine and things are just very ‘predictable’ so to speak. And so here I am, still of course faithful to the Lord, but filled with questions. I must say I’ve enjoyed spending more time with God alone and with my family vs. worrying about the next thing I need to volunteer for because ‘I must sacrifice myself and my agenda for Jesus.’ I know, sounds so selfish right? But wait…I’ve spent more time with what I love the most, my family, friends, and nature.
    Dave is agnostic, but it’s obvious he’s struggled with believing. After watching the Bartender tribute video, I just cried. WTF?!!! Why am I crying over this man who I clearly don’t know? I think it’s more of his struggle and the struggle within myself I’m fighting right now. Why does there have to be a struggle? Dave knows there is ‘something’ out there that moves his spirit and who is to say that ‘whatever it is’ is good enough? Why do the pressures of man and the labels (Christianity etc) force us into a prison (of which Dave might be in)? Dave has stated that he ‘hates the circle of winners’ and he’s always been not one of the ‘cool kids’ (which is why I freakin love him so much) and so the label and the human created desire to be a part of something, whether it be a faith or a sports team is what steers our direction. Maybe I’m trying to justify not being a part of anything and just being the woman God created me to be. I love this from Dave from the blog:
    “He said that God doesn’t want us to be something specific; he doesn’t want us to follow a rule book. He made us, or God made us—I’m saying he out of habit. I’m sure he doesn’t have the tackle to necessarily be a he. That would be sort of pointless. But he said that God made you what you are, so why would he want you to be something other than you are. Why would he want you to pretend you are something you are not, because your heart is what God made it. And so, our responsibility to God, however difficult it is, is to be what we are. To be present, not to put up a façade that makes us feel safer. – Although in a way you are more vulnerable and vile things happen to you when you experience joy, you get a mouthful of it, you know when you experience goods things. Because it comes right to you, you’re right there, because you’re not busy trying to make sure no one notices that behind that perfect, or average, or fitting-in façade is really what God made you. So be yourselves I guess is what I wanted to say. Be present.” – Dave
    What if this is what God wants, to fully be the beings he created us to be. Not to be a part of a religion or association or body or whatever, but to be human doing their best to love people and knowing good and well that there is something greater than yourself (God or whoever you believe in). Of course there is no excuse to do wrong to people and the world, you LOVE people. Dave sings and speaks about LOVE constantly. Love people, love the fascinations of the world and God’s creation. The greatest commandment is to love God and love people! The Bible also says that ‘God is love.’ God is LOVE.
    I want so badly to end with this because if God is love, and people love…then we are all going to be ok. That’s what I so want to believe. And then the Bible of course says that ‘the only way to the Father is through the Son’…and thus spiraling back into confusion and questions.
    Not sure if this makes any sense at all. I’m really just trying to find answers to why I’m so stirred by Dave’s brilliant music and his faith along with my own beliefs and questions. It’s like I want to fight with Dave and want to scream, “Hey, I don’t know what to freakin think about this world and even outside this world, but God or whoever hasn’t forgot me. I’m going to be ok! So get off my back and let me rock your socks off.” Dave has been so gifted by God it’s unreal. To write lyrics that you can interpret in 10 different ways that speaks to millions of different people is not of this world. The way he sings from pit of his soul and the other musicians create music that is so out of this world. That’s why we love DMB because the words and sounds STIR OUR SOUL. God uses them. And, I just don’t want to believe in my head ‘he’s a great musician…but he’s agnostic…so sad’…freaking buzz kill right?! Dave is being him, the man that God created him to be. If he succumbed to any label or ‘faith’ or anything…he and his music would be anything but, glorious.
    Just a girl, voicing her heart here. Not even sure if this makes sense. Just a believer walking out this journey of life. And of course a crazy fan of DMB. Love your blog, your journeys, faith, and love for DMB as well. Cheers from The Louisiana Bayou.

    1. I am glad you found this! Thank you for that AWESOME reply. As far as the church goes The American church has been going the wrong way for a while now. I think many pastors are waking up to it. The church I attend is led by a pastor who left a church in texas that was reaching 10,000 people a week in a stadium. This is how church should be:

      There is a book out there which content is so gut checking that it makes it a very hard book to read. And that is because it doesn’t hold back. David Platt wrote a book called Radical that might help you with the way you see church. You are not wrong in feeling the way you do towards the church.

      I always love this quote and I used it in the blog:
      “Jesus is bigger than any one religion. He didn’t come to start a new religion, and he continually disrupted whatever conventions or systems or establishments that existed in his day. He will always transcend whatever cages and labels are created to contain and name him, especially the one called “Christianity.”

      I believe the Holy Spirit is at work moving the church back to how God intended it to be. We have become so focused on putting on a good show every sunday that we forget the community all together. The early Church in Acts literally had people living life and serving together. Not just saying “hey” on Sunday. My prayer for you is that you don’t give up on the real church. The Church is Jesus’ bride as strange a term it is 🙂 I hope you are able to find a church gathering that is focused on serving rather than putting on a good show.

      This video could also help 🙂

  12. Wow, this was a lot deeper than my original search, but it was great and covered great scripture and I like the post. Keep up the good work. I have been a DMB fan for a while, not as big as you, and would love to know what makes the man tick.
    -Derrick

  13. I did not know of DMB beliefs or song lyrics before I bought tickets. I started listing to him in the 90’s and I am so saddened by this. I have even considered not going since it is too late to sell them. The concert is tonight. I have no idea what to do? Is there anyway to get my voice out there? I don’t think many know this about him. 😦 So sad.

      1. Please do not spread the word at a Dave show! It’s bad enough that I have to hear it at work or on the streets….. Imposing your bigotry upon others is not appreciated, especially when I am having the time of my life at DMB concert. Stop ruining the good time others are having by imposing your silly and outrageous views upon people!! Go read a science textbook and open yourself up to the REAL world.

      2. If all you have seen of Jesus is bigotry. Then you haven’t actually seen Jesus. I believe in science and I believe in Jesus. The REAL world is a beautiful and incredible thing. I believe it’s so beautiful it actually point to a creator. I have had explainable experiences with this creator and to that he is very much a part of this REAL world.I believe he calls me to love all people. Including those whom so many of my fellow Christians mistakenly throw their bigotry at. I don’t blame Jesus for bigotry in the same way I don’t blame Muslims for terrorism. All people have darkness with them and unfortunately some abuse religion to spread this darkness.

  14. Hey Bro, I stumbled upon your article after going to the Dave Matthews concert in Virginia this weekend. I grew up in a Christian home and have gone through the motions my whole life without ever experiencing the grace God has for all of us. Recently my life has radically changed in a way I’ve never thought possible. I have been drawn to Dave Matthews ever since I was a kid and I am now 26. For the first time, I can see why I have been so drawn to DMB. Their passion behind the music is authentic and pure. It comes from the heart and they’re using the wonderful gifts God has given them. It’s interesting to see how many of them have come from Christian families. I have been praying and I am believing that God will show who He is and they’ll see how much He loves them. Great and inspiring blog you’ve got going on here! Keep up the good work!

  15. Wow! I seriously have been going through almost the exact things you have mentioned in this post. I just started re-kindling my passion for DMB and their amazing music and I also find myself idolizing him and the band over God at time and have beginning to even go as far to not even caring about things like making sure I read my bible every night and instead developing a daily routine of listening and dissecting DMB lyrics. I feel as though I am almost being rebellious and it scares me a little because I don’t care if I am being rebellious. Anyway…

    This is a GREAT post. I started reading it but I need to go back through and re-read it. It might be cool to email about this back and fourth since I find our DMB stories really similar. And it would be easier than taking up your response space with my confusing rant. haha.

    Thanks for posting this!!
    God Bless!
    Carlie

    Check out my blog if you want to know more about my faith background… 🙂
    http://www.salvationbyfaith.blogspot.com

  16. Incredible post with so much thought provoking truth! My husband and I love his music and are Christians. We’d noticed how so many of his songs talk about God and curiosity finally took me to my Google search for, “Is Dave Matthews a Christian?” and I landed on your post. I’m happy I did! Thank you. It’s inspired me to be a “better” Christian. It’s given me a new insight on others views of Christianity and Christians in general. And it’s a wonderful answer to my original search about Dave. Thank you again.

  17. This is good stuff…have often tried to figure out the balance between God and music. Music is how I worship best, especially when I play myself, but it can totally become an idol. Have been debating with myself on going to the Gorge this year even haha… Good to find other Christians who love DMB – we seem few and far between. Wish I could find you guys in real life 😉

    1. Going to concerts has become a great way to have this conversation. You spend so many hours with new people just hanging out and talking. Either that or I have made so many friends at shows where we stay in touch and the conversations just happen. I often wish the Christian community that I see would be even more like the friends and family I have made with Dave fans. We all share a common love and it unites us in such a powerful way that we support and encourage each other. Help each other and share the LoVE 🙂

      1. Ya, I feel the same. I’ve said more than once that Dave fans and concerts with them are sometimes more like what I believe the Church should be like…

  18. I, too, am a Christian who has had an obsession with DMB since going to my first concert back in 2001. I’ve struggled with a lot of the same thoughts you have and it’s so nice to read about someone going through similar things as you. Thank you for posting this and being so open/honest about your thoughts. 🙂

  19. You have to remember that he writes songs. Not every song is to be taken literally, or as if Dave is spelling out his personal philosophy.

    Best quote (in my opinion) from DJM on the subject:
    “Yeah, “get out of my way so I can get into the church.” It’s so small a view of things. Obviously, there’s a source o f all things, however big or small it is. But if you give it consciousness, it just gets smaller. If you give it concern for us, it gets smaller.
    I use the word “God” in my songs all the time, because I don’t know what the hell is going on. So that’s God – everything I don’t know. But the idea of God as a fatherly figure who looks down on us and worries about how we’re doing or takes sides when we have fights – it’s more irritating than Santa Claus. The world and the universe are far more wonderful if there’s not a puppet master.”

  20. The tragedy here is that politicians that wear the label “Christian” like a cheap suit to pander votes have more impact on what people understand Christians believe. In the past people who called themselves “Godly” but pursued money were called Greedy. Those who called themselves “Godly” but lusted for power were called Tyrants. Those who used religion to gather both Power and Wealth were exposed as hypocrites by Jesus in his time- they were Pharisees. Jesus stood up for people who loved God and were being abused by those they were supposed to trust. They killed Him for it. For the record, people who abuse religion for personal gain piss me off as much as it does the agnostic or atheist. More so because, having endured some of the worst life has to offer, I know the difference that the love of God and the brotherhood of other Christian men has made in my life. Not everyone who wears the label belong to Him. We judge the tree by the fruit. If it doesn’t bear pears, it ain’t no pear tree. It doesn’t mean life would be better if pear trees didn’t exist.

  21. There are far less holes in Dave’s philosophy than in any religious one. Go with your heart (DMB).

  22. Wow is all I can say! Thought I was one of very few maybe who has the EXACT same view on DMB! Good for you for putting this to paper so to speak. Thanks!

  23. Thoroughly enjoyed this article! I couldn’t have said it any better myself. And I too am in Atlanta to see Dave and am one of those crazy fans! It kills me I can’t talk to him about Christ! Thanks for all your thoughts and such powerful scripture. Maybe he’ll find the article one day!

  24. This very well-written treatise ranks up there with my own experiences of being moved by Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” and Depesche Mode’s “Music for the Masses” that inspired me the year I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. In the case of the latter, I was even so bold as to write a letter to the band in London thanking them for being such a beacon in my newfound faith. 🙂

  25. Also a Christian and a huge Dave fan sence age 13 , (20yrs ago) and honestly also guilty of spending more time sharing his music than Christ’s . I have always felt that the good lord has a purpose for this man and It breaks my heart thinking that this man that’s done soooo much good wouldn’t have everlasting life . Great discussion. Glad there are a few of us out there at the shows

  26. Terrific post! I loved all your thoughts and throughout it felt like you had eaves dropped on the many convos I’ve had with my husband about this very thing every time a dave song pops on. I, too, worshipped Dave as an idol for 15 years, but today im so blessed and cheerful to be deeply rooted and careful not to worship anything but my God. I still enjoy the music occasionally and still love Dave and believe & pray (that’s not just a niceity, I really do pray for the man…imagine the number of souls he could reach if he followed Christ!!) that he will one day be shaken from his doubt. He’s always searching…anyone who talks, sings, and writes that much about God knows He’s there… and one day he will find that He was just there waiting all along.

  27. His cover of The Maker should be a song discussed as well. A song of Christian Spiritual awakening. one of my favorites. Wonder why he covers that one?

  28. Mr. Bailey, this is an interesting article. I have been a DMB fan since around the same time as you, but I do not follow God(s) and I cannot take place in such institutions that arguably cause more harm than good. I believe that the context of your article is interesting because it helps drive home a point that I have lived by for a while (which a devout believe once told me). She said, “The mind can justify what the heart wants. I know religion is full of holes, but it’s what I need to survive so my mind uses faith to fill in those gaps.” I was speechless in a situation where I would have normally responded with an airtight argument about the ridiculousness of religious beliefs. I perceive your post very much in the same way. You view Dave’s lyrics in a way that aligns with your beliefs as do I. That being said, the quote I heard from my friend led me to the realization that people will do what they must in order to carry on. The fact that I don’t need this world to mean anything specific or for there to be a God doesn’t change the fact that many do. This is our world, not just mine or yours. All I hope is, as Dave put it in his opening intro to “Everyday” at Hershey in 2003, “that one day we will find a peaceful world to live on.” Peaceful coexistence, cooperation and tolerance is all I have hope for in this world. I’ll stay out of your yard if you stay out of mine. I appreciate your point of view and the time you took to write about one of the greatest lyricists of all time.

    p.s. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut has a very interesting take on the way of us humans and how we relate to God. I think it would be very similar to the context that can be taken from Dave’s lyrics.

  29. One day, I’ll return and leave a lengthier response, but for now all I will say is that Dave’s deep struggle to believe has saddened me over the years, so much so that tears welled up when I heard the version of Bartender that you posted (Thank you for that). If you read Plato, the man sought truth to the very brink of belief in God, until finally worshipping before the statue of the unknown God in the parthenon towards the last few days of his life. I believe DMB has been a post-modern Plato for our culture. He has whittled truth and our preconceptions to the quick.

    But here is my question: is dave still a miserable, hurting man? yes. Will peaches or sex or temporal happiness ever be enough to fill the God sized vacuum in his soul? no. And HE KNOWS IT! He knows that this world is not enough. He preaches that we ought let hedonism distract us from reality, but he is clairvoyant enough to admit that his hedonism is pointing him to a higher reality. Only through Christ is there justice and satisfaction in this world, only through Christ will there be Joy and will the last of our tears be wiped away.

  30. I think: Dave believes in a God. He is scared of organized religion and fears those who hide bigotry behind the word Christianity. Dave believes that it is a cop out to think anyone, including God, can save you. Only you can save you. Dave believes in kindness, above all, and freedom of thought and religion.

  31. First time stumbling upon this site Devon, excellent writing – and you perfectly articulated thoughts I’ve had for quite some time.

    One of my favorite songs of DMB is “The Last Stop”. The context for my adoration for the song is mainly rooted in this joy I have feeling that one day Dave will actually come to Christ. It won’t be through a human being, but instead in a way similar to the conversion of Paul on the way to Damascus. The Lord Jesus Christ is calling him, and whenever he comes to mind, I pray that Dave continues to at least listen. When Dave angrily mocks a crucified Jesus – I am moved by this, not in agreement, but instead of the knowledge that in that honest mockery, Jesus is just as much waiting for Dave as He was while nailed to the cross. We ALL scoff at Jesus on the cross. We ALL spit on Him, cast insults to Him, and laugh while He hangs there gasping for air. For us to think anything different is to be exactly what the Triune God demands that we not be: lukewarm.

    For those who will never be debased enough to call yourself a Christian, please hear this. If your reasoning is based upon your experience within the church being anything but holy, or if your observations of other Christians have left you sickened, I weep for you and am furious for you. I ask you to consider this. Have you ever heard of John the Baptist? John the Baptist is known to be one of the most devout Christians, and best example of a good man in the Bible. So much so that those being baptized by him would ask him if he were the Messiah. John says this: “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

    …whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. We could spend years telling of the despicable, seemingly unforgivable sins that have been committed by those who abused their authority within the church to perpetrate such heinous and disgusting acts.

    The decision to become a Christian is nonexistent. It isn’t something subscribed to, as though there are other options on the table. It is either the truth or a fallacy. Though they do serve a purpose, denominations are essentially piles of dung when pertaining to eternity. The decision I believe everyone has to make is whether or not to individually follow Jesus Christ. Jesus says: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Either he was a freaking lunatic, a liar, or He is indeed who He says He is – and that He is the way, the truth and the life, and that this King of Kings took upon himself a crown of thorns, and went through with the crucifixion despite feeling everything any human would feel. Scripture says he was fully human, yet fully God. Even Jesus went to His Father in prayer, saying: “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” And upon resurrection, after His disciples saw him — every last one of His disciples was willing to die any type of death in spreading His gospel.

    All I want to do is put my head down in reverence and point to Christ. He is who you should seek out, that is your example to look upon. Look not at those who claim to know Him, even me. Hear not my words, but read His own in Scripture. Listen not to commentators, listen not to Devon. Give Jesus Christ a shot, invest some time in Him before writing off the idea of following Him. Those who seek to love Him will always fail, discourage, and misguide you — but in Jesus Christ, our Redeemer lives.

  32. I just stumbled on this article and it really spoke to me. I’m a Christian and DMB fan for the past 20 something years. I often wonder about Dave’s salvation. His lyrics really speak to me. I can tell he deals with a lot of emotional pain that I think stemmed from the death of his sister. In a way I can relate. I dealt with tragedy by losing my first husband in a car accident at 25. He was also a huge DMB fan. I struggled with the why’s and felt like I was being punished. My faith got me through. I often pray for Dave that he will come to accept Christ. I think that’s all we can do is pray for him. Pray for his heart to be healed.

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