Podcast Episode 10: Sweet Rivers of Redeeming Love

Dan and Torry have a short but good conversation about Track 10 from the album, "Sweet Rivers of Redeeming Love," and play some sweet little clips from the song.  Also, they discuss the "Wild Man of Goose Creek" who originally composed the hymn.  For your ears only.

Here is the episode, if you'd rather not listen on iTunes:

OUR LYRICS:

In shadows of the night, faith mounts the upper sky
Behold my heart’s delight, I would rejoice to die,
Rise above my pain, cross death’s cold stormy main
With joy out strip the wind,
And leave this world of sin behind…

Sweet rivers of redeeming love

Through ages still untold, we’ll tune our harps of gold
And let their praises ring to our eternal king
Sweet rivers of redeeming love
Through anguish, pain and smart,
To where love surrounds my heart

ORIGINAL LYRICS:

Sweet Rivers of Redeeming Love
Lie just before my eye;
Had I the pinions of a dove
I'd to those regions fly!
1'd rise superior to my pain
With joy outstrip the wind;
I'd cross death's cold and stormy main,
And leave the world behind.

2. While I'm in prison here below,
In anguish, pain, and smart,
Ofttimes those troubles I forego,
When love surrounds my heart;
In darkest shadows of the night
Faith mounts the upper sky;
I there behold my heart's delight
And would rejoice to die.

3. O come, my Savior, come away,
And bear me through the sky,
Nor let the chariot wheels delay
Make haste, and brings it nigh;
I hope to see thy glorious face,
And in thy image shine,
To triumph in victorious grace,
And be forever thine.

4. Then will I tune my harp of gold
To my eternal King;
In ages that can ne'er be told,
Will make his praises ring.
All hail, triumphant Son of God,
Who died on Calvary,
And saved me, with His precious blood,
From endless misery!

5. Ten thousand, thousand join in one
To praise th'eternal Three,
Prostrate before thy dazzling throne,
In deep humility;
They rise and tune their harps of gold;
And sweet th'immortal lyre,
In ages that can ne'er be told,
Shall raise thy praises higher.

Podcast Episode 9: Shed a Beam of Heavenly Day

We were stoked to have Chad Gardner from King's Kaleidoscope in the studio with us this week, talking about his favorite track on the album, "Shed a Beam of Heavenly Day."  Our keyboardist/vocalist Torry Anderson also joined Dan and Chad this week, and a good time was had by all.  We asked Chad to stick around a little longer after we finished the main episode, and the guys talked with him for another 30 min or so about King's K, Christian art, etc.

Here is more info on Joseph Hart, who wrote the original hymn.

And here are the episodes (if you'd rather not listen on iTunes):

For those of you unfamiliar with King's K, here's a recent awesome live music video of theirs:

OUR LYRICS

Shed a beam of glorious to melt this heart away
And thaw with rays of love divine this frozen heart of mine

The rocks can rend, the earth can shake,
The seas and mountains quake
Oh flame of love, that terrible fire, arouse this dead desire

ORIGINAL LYRICS:

O for a glance of heavenly day,
To take this stubborn heart away,
And thaw, with beams of love divine,
This heart, this frozen heart of mine.

The rocks can rend; the earth can quake;
The seas can roar; the mountains shake:
Of feeling, all things show some sign,
But this unfeeling heart of mine.

To hear the sorrows Thou hast felt,
O Lord, an adamant would melt:
But I can read each moving line,
And nothing moves this heart of mine.

Thy judgments, too, which devils fear—
Amazing thought! unmoved I hear;
Goodness and wrath in vain combine
To stir this stupid heart of mine.

But something yet can do the deed;
And that dear something much I need:
Thy Spirit can from dross refine,
And move and melt this heart of mine.

Podcast Episode #8: Once I Had a Glorious View

Dan has been waiting for an excuse to record a conversation with his dear friend Matt MacDonald, singer of The Classic Crime and Vocal Few. They've been friends for 9 years, and it shows. Matt joins Dan for TWO episodes, count 'em, two: first, they chat about Track 8 from our album, "Once I Had a Glorious View," and then, they just chat, and keep chatting. Unlike our episode with Zach Bolen, there is no repeated content between the two episodes.  If you enjoy the first, then keep listening as Dan and Matt tell tour stories, give each other compliments, and "fake laugh until they real laugh."

Here are the two episodes, if you don't want to listen on iTunes:

So that you can get to know Matt a little better, here are some videos for The Classic Crime and Vocal Few...

If you listen close, you can actually hear the boys of Pacific Gold singing background vocals near the end of this Vocal Few song...

OUR LYRICS (which are the same as the original, with only some re-phrasing to modern English):


Oh, once I had a glorious view of my redeeming Lord
He said, “I’ll be a God to you,” and I believed his word
But now I have a deeper stroke than all my groanings are
My God has me of late forsook
He’s gone, I know now where…

Oh what immortal joys I felt on that celestial day
When my hard heart began to melt,
By love dissolved away
But my complaint is bitter now, for all my joys are gone
I’ve strayed, I’m left, I know not how,
The light’s from me withdrawn

Once I could joy the saints to meet,
To me they were most dear
I then could stoop to wash their feet
And shed a joyful tear
But now I meet them as the rest,
And with with joyless stay

I once could mourn o’er dying men, and long their souls to win
I worked for their poor children, and warned them of their sin
But now my heart’s so careless grown,
Although they’re drowned in vice
Over them I’ve ceased to yearn
My tears have left my eyes

I forward go in duty’s way, but can’t perceive Him there
Then backwards on the road I stray,
But cannot find Him there
On the left among the lost, among the wicked crew
And on the right, I find Him not,
Among the favored few

What shall I do, shall I lie down
And sink in deep despair?
Will He forever wear a frown, nor hear my feeble prayer?
No, He will put his strength in me,
He knows the way I’ve strolled.
And when I’m tried sufficiently, I shall come forth as gold.

Podcast Episodes 6 and 7

Apologies for combining two episodes into one here... But it happens sometimes.  First off, last week's episode for "Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul."  Two guests!  Matt Carter of BadChristian and Emery fame joined us, as well as singer-songwriter Jonathan Jones of Waking Ashland and We Shot the Moon.  It was nice, robust episode.  Here is the episode itself:

How about some music videos to showcase the enormous talent of our guests?

And now onto Episode 7 (we'll have the text for both hymns together down below.)

First, let's just acknowledge how amazing this artwork is... It's from another of Hieronymus Bosch's paintings, and I don't even know what you say about it.  Far out.  I think it's supposed to be Hell.  Anyway, our very own Torry Anderson joined us this week, and we had a really fun chat.  Here's the episode:

Most of you may not know that Torry also plays in a great band here in Seattle with our friend Kris Orlowski.  Here is a video for a great song of theirs:

And here are our lyrics, and the original lyrics (including all 19 verses of "The Sands of Time"!)

OUR LYRICS:

Dear refuge of my weary soul,
On You when sorrows rise,
On You when waves of trouble roll
My fainting hope relies
To You I tell each rising grief
For You alone can gel
Your word can bring a sweet relief
For every pain I feel

And oh, my Lord
To You when waves of troubles roll I’ll come

But oh, when gloomy doubts prevail
I fear to call you mine
The streams of comfort seem to fail,
And all my hopes decline
When in the dark, Lord help me see
When deaf, give me Your ears
Oh brighten up this world to me
And let me find You here

ORIGINAL LYRICS:

Dear refuge of my weary soul,
On Thee, when sorrows rise
On Thee, when waves of trouble roll,
My fainting hope relies
To Thee I tell each rising grief,
For Thou alone canst heal
Thy Word can bring a sweet relief,
For every pain I feel

2. But oh! When gloomy doubts prevail,
I fear to call Thee mine
The springs of comfort seem to fail,
And all my hopes decline
Yet gracious God, where shall I flee?
Thou art my only trust
And still my soul would cleave to Thee
Though prostrate in the dust

3. Hast Thou not bid me seek Thy face,
And shall I seek in vain?
And can the ear of sovereign grace,
Be deaf when I complain?
No still the ear of sovereign grace,
Attends the mourner's prayer
Oh may I ever find access,
To breathe my sorrows there

4. Thy mercy seat is open still,
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will,
And wait beneath Thy feet,
Thy mercy seat is open still,
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will,
And wait beneath Thy feet

 

OUR LYRICS:

The sands of time are sinking,
The dawn of Heaven breaks,
The summer morn I’ve sighed for —
The fair sweet morn awakes
Oh, dark had been the midnight,
But dayspring is at hand

The king there in His beauty
Without a veil is seen
It was a well-spent journey,
Though death lay in between

It’s He that built a heaven of never-ending Love
A shining new Jerusalem just like the one above
Oh, let me see it come down
That’s my only demand

Oh I am my beloved’s, and my beloved’s mine
He brings a vile poor sinner into his house of wine

ORIGINAL LYRICS (ALL 19 VERSES):

The sands of time are sinking, the dawn of Heaven breaks;
The summer morn I’ve sighed for—the fair, sweet morn awakes:
Dark, dark hath been the midnight, but dayspring is at hand,
And glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

O Christ, He is the fountain, the deep, sweet well of love!
The streams of earth I’ve tasted more deep I’ll drink above:
There to an ocean fullness His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

Oh! Well it is forever, Oh! well forevermore,
My nest hung in no forest of all this death doomed shore:
Yea, let the vain world vanish, as from the ship the strand,
While glory—glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

There the Red Rose of Sharon unfolds its heartsome bloom
And fills the air of heaven with ravishing perfume:
Oh! To behold it blossom, while by its fragrance fanned
Where glory—glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

The King there in His beauty, without a veil is seen:
It were a well spent journey, though seven deaths lay between:
The Lamb with His fair army, doth on Mount Zion stand,
And glory—glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

Oft in yon sea beat prison My Lord and I held tryst,
For Anwoth was not heaven, and preaching was not Christ:
And aye, my murkiest storm cloud was by a rainbow spanned,
Caught from the glory dwelling in Immanuel’s land.

But that He built a Heaven of His surpassing love,
A little new Jerusalem, like to the one above,
“Lord take me over the water” hath been my loud demand,
Take me to my love’s own country, unto Immanuel’s land.

But flowers need nights cool darkness, the moonlight and the dew;
So Christ, from one who loved it, His shining oft withdrew:
And then, for cause of absence my troubled soul I scanned
But glory shadeless shineth in Immanuel’s land.

The little birds of Anwoth, I used to count them blessed,
Now, beside happier altars I go to build my nest:
Over these there broods no silence, no graves around them stand,
For glory, deathless, dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

Fair Anwoth by the Solway, to me thou still art dear,
Even from the verge of heaven, I drop for thee a tear.
Oh! If one soul from Anwoth meet me at God’s right hand,
My heaven will be two heavens, In Immanuel’s land.

I’ve wrestled on towards Heaven, against storm and wind and tide,
Now, like a weary traveler that leaneth on his guide,
Amid the shades of evening, while sinks life’s lingering sand,
I hail the glory dawning from Immanuel’s land.

Deep waters crossed life’s pathway, the hedge of thorns was sharp;
Now, these lie all behind me Oh! for a well tuned harp!
Oh! To join hallelujah with yon triumphant band,
Who sing where glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

With mercy and with judgment my web of time He wove,
And aye, the dews of sorrow were lustered with His love;
I’ll bless the hand that guided, I’ll bless the heart that planned
When throned where glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

Soon shall the cup of glory wash down earth’s bitterest woes,
Soon shall the desert briar break into Eden’s rose;
The curse shall change to blessing the name on earth that’s banned
Be graven on the white stone in Immanuel’s land.

O I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved’s mine!
He brings a poor vile sinner into His “house of wine.”
I stand upon His merit—I know no other stand,
Not even where glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

I shall sleep sound in Jesus, filled with His likeness rise,
To love and to adore Him, to see Him with these eyes:
’Tween me and resurrection but Paradise doth stand;
Then—then for glory dwelling in Immanuel’s land.

The Bride eyes not her garment, but her dear Bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory but on my King of grace.
Not at the crown He giveth but on His pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory of Immanuel’s land.

I have borne scorn and hatred, I have borne wrong and shame,
Earth’s proud ones have reproached me for Christ’s thrice blessed Name:
Where God His seal set fairest they’ve stamped the foulest brand,
But judgment shines like noonday in Immanuel’s land.

They’ve summoned me before them, but there I may not come,
My Lord says “Come up hither,” My Lord says “Welcome home!”
My King, at His white throne, my presence doth command
Where glory—glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

Podcast Episode #5: Spirit of God

This week we had 3 guests on the podcast: our own Brian Hibbard and David Stuart, as well as Louis Johnson of The Saint Johns, who originally wrote the song with Dan.  Also, you could almost say that Barry Uhl was as good as a guest on this episode with how much we talked about him!  Barry, we miss you.

Click the image above or here to listen to the podcast in iTunes, or listen below:

There is ACTUALLY a snorkel-hookah combo, and we found it online.  Here is a picture:

And here is a picture of Brian and David laying on the futon bed while we recorded their section of the podcast...

OUR LYRICS:

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart
Wean it from earth, through all its pulses move
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as you are
Teach me to love you as I ought to love

I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasy
No sudden tearing of this veil of clay
No angel visits, no opening skies
Just take the dimness of my soul away

Teach me to feel that you’re ever nearby
(Have you not bid me love…)
Teach me the struggles of my soul to bear
(Heart, soul, and strength and mind…)
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer

 

ORIGINAL LYRICS:

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move;
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art;
And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
No sudden rending of the veil of clay,
No angel visitant, no opening skies;
But take the dimness of my soul away.

Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh;
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear.
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

Hast Thou not bid me love Thee, God and King?
All, all Thine own, soul, heart and strength and mind.
I see Thy cross; there teach my heart to cling:
O let me seek Thee, and O let me find!

Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,
One holy passion filling all my frame;
The kindling of the heaven descended Dove,
My heart an altar, and Thy love the flame.

Podcast Episode #4: Song in the Air

Our first non-band member guest!  This week Zach Bolen of Citizens & Saints joins us to talk about "Song in the Air."  In fact, our conversation went a lot longer than we expected, and Dan even joined in to interview Zach for awhile as well.  We excerpted a short part of that conversation and included it in the main episode, but we also kept the full uncut conversation and are releasing that as well, as a bonus episode.  Scroll down below to hear the full 1-hour conversation between Dan and Zach.

Don't forget, the pre-order for our album is now available.  And here (or here on iTunes) is the main episode:

And here is the full uncut conversation between Dan and Zach:

To hear/see more from Citizens & Saints, here is their site.

And here is another video of theirs (we posted one last week on the blog post for Episode 3):

OUR LYRICS:

There’s a song in the air, there’s a star in the sky
There’s a mother’s deep prayer and a baby’s low cry
And the star rains its fire while the beautiful sing

There’s a shouting of joy at the wonderful birth
For the virgin’s sweet boy is the Lord of the earth
And the star rains its fire while the beautiful sing

In the light of that star lie the ages
Impearled in their glory
And that song from afar
Has swept over the world with its story

ORIGINAL LYRICS:

There's a song in the air!
There's a star in the sky!
There's a mother's deep prayer
and a baby's low cry!
And the star rains its fire
while the beautiful sing,
for the manger of Bethlehem
cradles a King!

There's a tumult of joy
o'er the wonderful birth,
for the virgin's sweet boy
is the Lord of the earth.
Ay! the star rains its fire
while the beautiful sing,
for the manger of Bethlehem
cradles a King!

In the light of that star
lie the ages impearled;
and that song from afar
has swept over the world.
Every hearth is aflame,
and the beautiful sing
in the homes of the nations
that Jesus is King!

We rejoice in the light,
and we echo the song
that comes down through the night
from the heavenly throng.
Ay! we shout to the lovely
evangel they bring,
and we greet in his cradle
our Savior and King!

Podcast Episode #3: I Will Know Him

Another week, another episode.  Listen to Dan talk through stories, lyrics, and musical concepts at play in the third track from our upcoming album, "I Will Know Him."  Speaking of the album, the pre-order is now officially live.  Every pre-order gets the album 2 weeks early, as well as an immediate download of the first single, "Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul."

Check out the episode here (or subscribe here on iTunes):

And here are the things that we mentioned in the podcast episode:

Shane Tutmarc's Site

A music video from Citizens & Saints (Zach will be on next week's episode):

OUR LYRICS:

When my life’s work is ended, and I cross the swelling tide
When the bright and glorious morn I see
I will know my redeemer when I reach the other side
For He will be the first to welcome me

I will know Him

On the dear ones in glory, how they beckon me to come
Our parting at the river I recall
To the sweet vales of Eden they will sing my welcome home
But I love to meet my savior first of all

I will know Him
I will stand by His side
I will know Him
When I cross that old tide
I will know Him
In a robe of pure white
By the spear in His side

Through the gates of the city, in a robe of spotless white
He will lead me where no tears will ever fall


ORIGINAL LYRICS:

When my life work is ended, and I cross the swelling tide,
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see;
I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,
And His smile will be the first to welcome me.

I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
And redeemed by His side I shall stand,
I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
By the print of the nails in His hand.

Oh, the soul thrilling rapture when I view His blessèd face,
And the luster of His kindly beaming eye;
How my full heart will praise Him for the mercy, love and grace,
That prepare for me a mansion in the sky.

Oh, the dear ones in glory, how they beckon me to come,
And our parting at the river I recall;
To the sweet vales of Eden they will sing my welcome home;
But I long to meet my Savior first of all.

Through the gates to the city in a robe of spotless white,
He will lead me where no tears will ever fall;
In the glad song of ages I shall mingle with delight;
But I long to meet my Savior first of all.

Podcast Episode #2: Gone to the Grave

Episode 2!  We are starting to like this podcasting thing.  Our drummer David Stuart joined us for part of this episode, and we think it's safe to say that he was a very welcomed addition. 

Sometimes there won't be much to say on the corresponding blog posts, and this is one of those weeks.  So here is the episode:

And here is a sweet photo of the original hymn in an old Sacred Harp hymnbook:

And here are the lyrics...

OUR LYRICS:
You are gone to the grave
But we will not mourn you
Although sorrow and darkness
Gather round your tomb

The savior has passed through
Death’s door before you
May His lamp guide us through

You are gone to the grave
And your cradle is empty
Here with us you couldn’t stay long
But the sound you heard was the morning song of the angels

Where Heaven’s sunshine beams
Bright on your wakening
Through Hs lamp’s eternal gleam

Your brothers near and your sisters far,
They’re going to see who you really are
When they want to

ORIGINAL LYRICS:
Thou art gone to the grave, but we will not deplore thee,
Though sorrows and darkness encompass the tomb;
The Savior has passed through its portal before thee,
And the lamp of His love is thy guide through the gloom.

Thou art gone to the grave; we no longer behold thee,
Nor tread the rough path of the world by thy side;
But the wide arms of mercy are spread to enfold thee,
And sinners may hope, since the Sinless has died.

Thou art gone to the grave, and, its mansion forsaking,
Perhaps thy tried spirit in doubt lingered long;
But the sunshine of Heaven beamed bright on thy waking,
And the song which thou heard’st was the seraphims’ song.

Thou art gone to the grave, but ’twere wrong to deplore thee,
When God was thy ransom, thy guardian, thy guide;
He gave thee, and took thee, and soon will restore thee,
Where death has no sting, since the Savior hath died.


Episode #1 of our new Podcast!

OK, now we're talking.  Here is the inaugural episode of Sing My Welcome Home, the official Pacific Gold podcast.  Each week we will be talking about one track from our upcoming album, also called Sing My Welcome Home.  We'll be dissecting the original hymn lyrics, any story behind the song, our process in writing and recording it, and highlighting interesting musical moments and parts.  Sometimes we'll have a guest with us, sometimes it'll just be me.  At the end of each episode we'll play the song in its entirety.  Over 11 weeks, we will cover all 11 tracks of the album. 

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here, or listen to the podcast below:

Each week, we will also have some additional information about each song, some of which we will mention on the podcast.  Here is the stuff we talked about on Episode 1:

Here is a link to my buddy Nathan Poole's book.  And here is a link to one of his short stories (in case you need to be convinced).

Here is the article by NT Wright that I mentioned.

For some really entertaining line-by-line utter destruction of the theology, writing, and chauvinism (among other things) of the Left Behind books, start here.  This guy goes through the entire book, and I think even subsequent books.  You'll feel a little guilty, but not as guilty as LaHaye and Jenkins should feel for selling so much swill to the world.

Here is the photo of the original hymn in an old hymnal (check out that amazing font!):

dayiscominghymnary

OUR LYRICS:

We know that a day is coming
Down a path of pain
The one who arrived a stranger,
Coming back to reign
When the night is dark and the road is long
We will raise our eyes to an endless dawn

All those saints of light, dressed in armor bright
Join us in the sky
We are going home, we are going home

Get up, for a day is coming
When a soul is born aloft on a wind
And climbing to a rosy morn
When the road is dark, and the night is long
We will lift our eyes to eternal dawn

 

ORIGINAL HYMN LYRICS:


Work, for the Day is coming,
  Day in the Word foretold,
When, ’mid the scenes triumphant,
  Longed for by saints of old,
He, who on earth a stranger
  Traversed its paths of pain,
Jesus, the Prince, the Savior,
  Comes evermore to reign.

Work, for the Day is coming,
  Darkness will soon be gone;
Then o’er the night of weeping
  Day without end shall dawn.
What now we sow in sadness
  Then we shall reap in joy;
Hope will be changed to gladness,
  Praise be our blest employ.

Work, for the Day is coming,
  Made for the saints of light;
Off with the garments dreary,
  On with the armor bright:
Soon will the strife be ended,
  Soon all our toils below;
Not to the dark we’re tending,
  But to the Day we go.

Work, for the Lord is coming,
  Children of light are we;
From Jesus’ bright appearing
  Powers of darkness flee.
Out of the mist, at His bidding,
  Souls like the dew are born:
O’er all the East are spreading
  Tints of the rosy morn.

Work, then, the Day is coming,
  No time for sighing now;
Prize for the race awaits thee,
  Wreaths for the victor’s brow.
Now morning Light is breaking,
  Soon will the Day appear;
Night shades appall no longer,
  Jesus, our Lord, is near.

 

 

New Album, New Label, Free EP

Friends!

It has been a long process, but we are proud to say that the light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter.  We are excited to officially announce that we have signed with a great new record label, BC Music (started by Matt & Toby of Emery fame), and that our new full-length debut album “Sing My Welcome Home” will be released in March of this year!  So much time and effort have gone into this album, and we’re so pumped to have these very smart, very hardworking guys (as well as their partners and employees) on our side as we set up the release of this album together.  We have a lot of great plans for this thing, including multiple videos, a podcast, and more, but we’ll get to all that stuff later this month and next. 

For now, as a celebratory gesture of our new partnership with BC Music, we are giving away a free digital download of our most recent release “Pacific Gold” over at our Bandcamp page.  Please grab it, tell a friend, enjoy, etc: http://pacificgold.bandcamp.com

If you haven’t read any of our updates for a while, you might remember us as the band formerly known as Wayfarer – back in late 2013 we changed our name to Pacific Gold for legal reasons, but we are the same band otherwise.  We’ve been active on Facebook and Twitter as we ramp up to release this album, and as we continue to pour beautiful sounds and sights into your ears and eyes, whether you like it or not.  Thank you for your support, enjoy the tunes, and we hope you’re as excited about the new album as we are!

With Love,

Brian, Dan, David, John & Torry

On the Shiny, New & Improved Rob Bell

(Note: I am going to be blogging here on the band’s site somewhat regularly, on issues of faith, music, etc.  These views are mine, and not necessarily those of all my band mates.  Also, read to the end for an update from this morning, after this blog was written, that might shed a bit more light on Bell’s recent decisions.)

Full disclosure: I am, and have long been, a pretty big fan of Rob Bell.  At 22 years old, Velvet Elvis was both liberating and challenging.  It gave me language for much of what I had been struggling with as a philosophy major for 3 years at a state college.  I even liked Love Wins a great deal. Although I’m not 100% comfortable self-labeling as a universalist, I definitely lean that way for a number of reasons (I’m sure we’ll get to a post about that sooner or later), and I thought Bell’s explanation was the best I had read in full-book format (admittedly, I haven’t read many full books from that perspective).  All this to say: I like him, and tend to give him a chance to explain what he’s doing before dismissing him.

You may have heard: former “emergent” church movement megastar Rob Bell has a new talk show debuting Sunday on the Oprah Winfrey Network.  Last night I watched his interview on Access Hollywood, which I assume the producers (predictably) framed as a Dr. Whomever-style self-help segment called “Three Tips for Better New Years Resolutions.”  Three separate things stood out to me about this interview and the clips/promos for his show:

1.     The packaging/marketing of it all is fairly sickening

2.     Everything he said I believe to be true, that is to say, accurate; furthermore, it went a lot deeper toward what I would call “ultimate truth” than 99% of similar segments on these type of shows

3.     Jesus is not explicitly denied, but definitely not mentioned or embraced

Let’s break these down, because it’s good to separate out issues that are indeed separate.

PACKAGING: As a jaded, 31 year old non-consumer of most cloying American mid-day media, there is approximately a 0% chance that I will enjoy the way that the New Improved Oprah-stamped Spiritual Leader Rob Bell is marketed, sold, and packaged.  No way, and that is a given.  This does not mean that Bell won't still sling some serious truths, it just means that his promo's will continue to contain terms like “Rock Star Speaker” and “Fresh off of Oprah’s The Life You Want Tour,” which provoke in me an automatic gag reflex, and make me want to travel back to a time before advertising existed.  Since there is no hope of change in this area, and since it is ultimately not as important as the content of his message, I’m going to set this to the side for now.  Bell decided to sign with Oprah, and he may have had great reasons for doing so, and I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt on that one.

TRUTH: For the most part, I actually agreed with everything that Bell said.  We do want to answer life’s most basic questions, and we need language for that.  (I would also add that much of the church does a poor job of converting classic “Christianese” language into useable modern language.)  We need to learn to forgive and to teach our children, and these things are directly related to God’s plan for our lives, both individually and for the human race as a whole.  It’s also true that “Everyone has their own version of God” – when he asks church members or friends how they see God, Bell says he gets wildly differing answers.  I especially liked what he said about recent events in Ferguson, essentially encouraging a non-violent response a la Dr. King.  And it’s true that all of this relates to our individual internal lives. 

During his actual “Tips” presentation, he hits on some great points, like the fact that we have desires much deeper than consumer goods, and that “we aren’t our feelings,” but rather, we can stand apart from them and look at them critically.  Any time that Bell is pushed for some practical advice, it ends up sounding pretty therapeutic.  I believe strongly in the power of therapy and counseling, and I found all his statements in that arena to be accurate and indeed helpful.  There is a still a big question, however, especially for those who have followed Bell for years: where is Jesus in all this?

JESUS? Host Billy Bush spends some 30% of the interview gently pressing Bell to acknowledge his specifically Christian faith and perspective, and Bell does a very diplomatic job basically avoiding doing so.  He says that if you “take the Jesus story seriously, it ends up being about everyone,” and that “all faith comes down to ‘loving your neighbor’ and making a better world.”  The latter claim seems a bit dubious to me, but I’m interested to see if, through his show and his new platform, he can make a compelling case that taking Jesus seriously takes us in a more ecumenical and universal direction. 

I can only speculate a reason as to why he is consciously avoiding being grouped in with Christians on national TV, but it doesn’t seem too far-fetched: it’s a pretty rough group to be associated with these days, and he wouldn’t really fit in anyway.  Osteen, Warren, Duck Dynasty, the Religious Right… am I forgetting anyone?  Bell likely only believes 30-40% of what Rick Warren believes, for instance, so to come out as a member of the American Evangelical SuperMovement would probably be unwise.  What are his other options?  My guess is that, even if Bell is still a completely orthodox Christian thinker (and maybe he isn’t), there may still be some compelling reasons to be very careful, especially in these early days of his new public ministry (yes, I’ll call it that), to stay as far away from easy categorization as possible.  Indeed, if we all have divergent and interesting answers to “who is God?” then maybe we also have those for Jesus.

It’s probably worth noting that it is indeed possible to be orthodox, to believe that Jesus is the only way to God, and still believe that specific knowledge of Jesus of Nazareth is not required for salvation.  C.S. Lewis believed this, and so do I.  Of course, Bell is a universalist, so maybe that’s a better framework for understanding his current position: If you truly believe that God will save everyone, then your time on earth may become less about convincing people of the particular truth of Christianity, and more about bringing God’s Kingdom to earth in a practical sense.  This seems true on the surface, but even as a so-called “hopeful universalist” myself, I still believe that knowledge of the life and teachings of Jesus is the single most powerful tool we have.  So it’s hard for me to imagine skirting those Jesus questions so conspicuously, but for now, I’m going to give Bell the benefit of the doubt.  Let’s see what he’s trying to do. 

Agree/disagree?

UPDATE: this morning, Bell released this teaser/trailer/short film for his show on “The Cross:’  In it, he claims the cross as the thing upon which Jesus died, but that the story didn’t end there, and that the cross is the item through which God is reconciling Himself to the world.  Sounds a lot like N.T. Wright to me, and I’m 100% on board with his rephrasing.  It’s curious that he doesn’t explicitly mention the Resurrection, but it’s definitely implicit, and maybe that was an editing decision for a short video, I don’t know.  The second half the video is more therapy-style talk, so maybe this is a peak into what we have to look forward to?  Some smaller percentage of open-minded Christian thinking, followed by 50+% general therapeutic talk.  If that’s what we’re getting, it’s definitely not the worst thing in the world, and may even be some of the best stuff that a good chunk of his TV audience will ever hear.  I’m interested; that much is for sure.

-DK

P.S. When my wife was reading this over for me, checking my grammar and whatnot, she was not at all happy that I originally used the phrase “benefit of the doubt” three times (I replaced one of them on her insistence).  But really, are there any good synonyms?  A Google and thesaurus.com search revealed nothing.  So if anyone has any ideas, please leave a comment. 

Song featured on new BC Music Compilation

We're excited to have a song featured on the new BC Music compilation THE LINEUP: Volume 1.  Our friends at BadChristian (podcast & record label) have included us along with some of their artists, as well as a few other artists that they enjoy.

Our new track "Song in the Air" is featured on this "pay what you want" compilation  -- feel free to simply download and enjoy, or donate a few bucks if you feel like it.  Check it out here: http://badchristian.com/thelineupPacificGold/

More news to come soon!

Studio Update & Preview

Hi friends,

Well, we’re hard at work in the studio and making incredible progress! Drums are completely finished, which is a HUGE portion of the tracking process, bass is about halfway finished, and the rest is getting close. For those who haven’t heard yet, we’ve had to move our expected release date to the end of Summer. While we're anxious to share these new songs with you much sooner, the past few months have been quite crazy for the Pacific Gold family. Collectively, we have new homes, new jobs, graduate school, travels, touring, and other musical projects…well, we’re busy.

One of the excellent things that has come out of having to delay the release is gaining the extra time to make a few additional decisions about what the record will look like—we’ve added a few new tracks that originally wouldn’t have been on the record, and we’ve been able to work around with some arrangements that we think are pretty killer.

You all have been extremely supportive and kind, and we’re absolutely ecstatic for you to hear these songs. Please get in touch with us on our Contact page if you have any questions, or just want to say hi!

Below you’ll find a preview clip of one of the new tracks. 

Love,

Brian, Dan, David, John, and Torry.

New Band Name & Successful Kickstarter

Pacific Gold

The new band name, officially as of today, with the release of our new EP and the launch of our new website, is Pacific Gold. We are the same band, with the same goal (to re-write old hymns), but for legal reasons, we were advised to find a new name; there are about 7 other Wayfarers just in the US, and we weren't the first.  We hope you'll help us make the transition easy and smooth.

All of our previous releases have new updated artwork, and can be found on our new Bandcamp page.  They have also been re-submitted to iTunes, Spotify, Rdio, Amazon, etc, under the new name "Pacific Gold".

 

Kickstarter

Only minutes ago, our Kickstarter campaign ended successfully leaving our hearts full and absolutely thrilled. We are so grateful to everyone who helped us reach our fundraising goal, and we are especially ecstatic by how many people have backed the project. You have raised our spirits and given us the confidence and funding to produce a beautiful album, and we can't wait to get back into the studio to continue tracking.  For those of you who backed the project, we hope you enjoy all our updates throughout the process of recording, mixing, and filming.  We will post demos, song clips, and whatever else we think you might enjoy, as we try and get everyone involved in the making of this record.

 

Pacific Gold EP

Tomorrow, November 19, we officially release our new EP -- Pacific Gold EP. This is the first release under the new name Pacific Gold. The EP will be available on Rdio, Spotify, and iTunes.

 

Track Listing:

Sweet Rivers of Redeeming Love

Face to Face

Father Winter

I'm Set Free (Velvet Underground cover)

 

Thank you for the love and support.

 

- Pacific Gold (Formerly Wayfarer)