Let’s try this whole blogging thing again.
The news: I’m engaged!
Tahahaha, I am absolutely not. For those who have been following along, a fake engagement announcement is how I started all two of my 2022 posts, and I couldn’t help but try it again
because I’m so hilarious and clever. This is the last time or is it.
Unrelated to fake engagements but related to this blog, I would like to say props to myself for successfully navigating the new WordPress look (I don’t know how new it is, but on my end, guys, everything looks different, and I’m already getting too old to adapt to these sorts of things; I barely know how to use my iPhone [yes, I switched from an Android to an iPhone; it is the source an ongoing identity crisis).
What’s changed, and what’s new?
Not much and everything. We’ll get into that at a later date if I actually keep posting. I’m still following Jesus, still part of the church I’m helping plant in Texas, still getting my socks rocked off by Jesus’ kindness. But I’ve been changed.
I say “omg” and “lol” out loud a lot now, and I’ve got a middle part. And did I mention I’m an iPhone user now? Ahem. All topics for another time.
Okay, enough chit chat. I’m writing a blog post because I want to hype up a band I’ve been listening too recently (besides The Gray Havens).
Gable Price and Friends
Okay, one night back in 2020, I was swimming in the depths of Spotify and got down some sort of Alternative Christian music rabbit hole and came across a song called “Dead Man” by Gable Price and Friends. And then I found “Touch Your Robe” from the same EP. They went onto my 2020 playlist, and I worshipped to them so much through that
fatal fateful year.
Now, literal years later, I’ve started to actually listen to more music from Gable Price and Friends, and now here we are. Gable Price is now on my list of people I want to meet in heaven. The lyrics are unique–blunt and up front and also layered in metaphors–the sound is kind of punk rock-y, good driving music,
good crying music wait what.
So we’re just going to chat (er, actually no chatting, just a written TedTalk from yours truly) about some of lyrics/songs by Gable Price and Friends.
“You can’t kill your demons if you make ’em your home“ – “Demons“ by Gable Price and Friends.
Talk about a one-liner.
Wow. It instantly makes me think of times when I’ve given myself to sin–of when fear has come on me with all sorts of anxious feelings and I’ve laid down and let it take over, of when self-pity whispers poison to my mind and heart and I just let it set up shop and sow division and fear, of when I not only listened to lies from comparison but viewed the world through a lens of comparison. This line always feels like a splash of cold water.
There’s another line–“You talk a lot, but the game isn’t won from the parking lot.” Bruh.
I think the whole song is about actually getting in the fight against the things that we suffer under–whether sin or depression or anxiety or whatever. It’s about actually fighting, about doing, about living out the truth instead of just saying the truth or just talking about all the things that are hard. At least that’s how I understand this song and why I love it.
How did we end up here?
How did we get so far?
‘Cause my key to your door doesn’t seem to be workin’ no more
How did we end up here?
How did we get so far?
I sat at your porch and I cried at your doorstep for hours
It feels colder than the winter
I wonder if I slipped from your mind
Would you let me in for dinner?
I’d kill for just a bit of your time
I find it easy to love you
But not so easy to trust you
You talk of houses on hills
But who’s paying those bills
And who’s frontin’ those fees? – “Easy to Love You” by Gable Price and Friends
I love worship music so much, hymns and contemporary music alike, but there’s something about Christians writing songs that aren’t simply for church worship. There’s something about songs like this. When I first heard it, it was like things I’ve felt toward God in times of suffering or doubt put perfectly into words with metaphors that just made so much sense to me.
That feeling of lostness that comes when the things you used to do to be close God are now routine and he feels far away, feels like he won’t let you in (“Cause my key to your door doesn’t seem to be workin’ no more”). Then the creeping fear that you’ve been forgotten and abandoned and the desperation to get back to a place where you hear his voice clearly and he feels close by or the desperation that comes when it feels like he’s overlooking you (“I wonder if I slipped from your mind… I’d kill for just a bit of your time”). And then the skepticism that comes wondering if the Father has the means to come through for all the goodness he promises (“You talk of houses on hills, but who’s paying those bills…“).
After a time following Jesus, a sturdiness, a steadiness should form in maturing Christians, but there are still seasons that will come where the Father’s voice seems far away, seems like the zeal and golden love from the beginning has faded and someone changed the locks. Even though how it feels doesn’t mean that’s how it is, there’s something comforting to me of someone putting those feelings to words and expressing some of the difficulties of following Jesus (easy to love, harder to trust; how quickly the fear of being abandoned by the Father rises; etc.).
They say the truth will bring you to your knees
That it might make me a better me
But not before it rips your chest out
And not before it puts your back against the wall
There’s a painful coalition
A cardiac collision involved
The truth might set you free
But first it’s gonna set fire to your house
It takes what you’ve been trusting
And breaks it down to nothing at all – “How It Sets You Free” by Gable Price and Friends
This is the one that got me.
I had their latest album on in the background while I did something (maybe my annual cleaning of my room?) and these lyrics just clicked in my head.
I don’t know what it’s been like for other people, but for me, facing the truth–having to repent of sin, having to admit I was wrong, having to admit that the rose-colored glasses I view myself through are not always accurate, being truly humbled before God, all that jazz–is super painful and hard. I can think of so many instances where I felt backed into a corner by the truth, and I could either swallow painful truth and be renewed and change my mind/my thinking or go on in willful disobedience. For me, these are always hinge moments–where something turns, when I must give up a false idea or mindset or view, watershed moments that become landmarks for a before and after.
Recently, this looked like repenting of bitterness towards some of my friends. I’d felt for a while that something was off in my heart toward them. I tended to have a short fuse with them, wanted to believe the worse, wanted to be hypercritical. It isn’t how I normally am with my friends, and I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was exactly, couldn’t quite name it. Finally I prayed about it, something like this:
“Father, this is a little awkward since I’ve been in denial about the way I feel for quite sometime…”
“Anyweys, I think maybe something is off in my heart towards so-and so.”
“I don’t know what, can’t name names, but something–maybe, I dunno, the fact I get angry at them when I shouldn’t–makes me think it isn’t good and maybe you could tell me what and, uh, we could do something, ahem, about it. Together. You know, or something.”
After praying about it for a few weeks, it became pretty clear that all these feelings I had towards these friends were the fruit of bitterness, and then I was still in denial. It looked something like this:
*my regular day-to-day life*
Holy Spirit: “Why does it make you angry when people speak well of so-and-so?”
Me: “I doN’t KNoW.”
Holy Spirit: “Isn’t this how bitterness has looked for you in the past?”
Me: “UGH, mAYbE, I DOn’T KnOW.”
Holy Spirit: “Why don’t you want to see them?”
Me: “NO rEaSOn. C’MoN, gimme a BReAk.”
Holy Spirit: “It’s bitterness.”
Me: “That seems a little extreme, don’t you think. I am A Mature ChristianTM, and I don’t get bitter or struggle with sin in my heart.”
Holy Spirit: “You’re going to go for that lie again?”
Me: …. …. …
*repeat the whole thing six or seven times*
Eventually, I came to terms with me sinning against my friends in my bitterness toward them… sort of. I mean, I knew I was bitter, but I wasn’t that bitter, and it wasn’t that big of deal, like, why would the Holy Spirit keep bringing it up. Gosh, like, just leave my alone and chillax, it’s not that bad. Like I’m just a little bitter, but like no one knows and maybe we can just go another year and a half with minimal interaction with these friends, like I can just avoid them on Sunday mornings and it’ll be fine.
Kids, I kid you not, that is where I was at.
But living in the truth means facing the truth, and by some miracle (what could it be? God’s grace again????) I was able to stop minimizing my sin, take responsibility, and repent. But it was a struggle. The truth had to devastate my ridiculous I Do Not Sin Anymore self-image and put my back against the wall so I couldn’t wriggle away from reality any more.
That’s why I love “How It Sets You Free“. The truth, the reality of my own sin, is pretty hard to look at and speak completely truthfully about. It’s easy to want to cut myself some slack when what I need is to have my house of false ideas burned to the ground.
Obviously, there are other ways the truth sets us free, but that’s a topic for another time.
The perfect polished pastor cannot save you
Your Meyers or your Briggs won’t buy your sins
You can break the alabaster on a podcast
Deconstruct the light till none can be let in
Self discovery can only get you so far, baby
You’re heaven sent and only home will set you free
There’s a middle eastern Man, with holes inside his hands and he’s out to get you – “Ten Percent” by Gable Price and Friends
I’m sorry, but what? I gasped out loud when I heard this bridge for the first time.
“Ten Percent” is about us only giving Jesus 10% of our hearts, and the cost of living only a little bit for Jesus. This bridge is fire. That part where it goes “deconstruct the light till none can be let in” was straight up shots fired. At a time when so many people who grew up in the church are hopping on podcasts and deconstructing their faith and then (a lot of times) rejecting it and/or rejecting ultimate truth, this seems wildly pertinent.
I look back on the day Jesus saved me and the others who were (supposedly) saved too but now have walked away from Jesus and his Church, and it sobers me. It also encourages me because this band is around my age, and some of the lyrics of the songs make me think (but I don’t know for sure) that Gable Price grew up in church and has some similar experience as me. I don’t know. For some reason, this song seems oddly relatable?
Also I love how that casual reference to Jesus at the end of the bridge alludes to him as the one who saves, the one who buys your sins, the one who brings light, the one who sets free, and how he’s bent on having his people.
Wowza, we’re already over 2000 words for this post, sorry, kids. I’ll call it quits before it gets too crazy long. Suffice it to say, I’d recommend giving Gable Price and Friends a listen.
To any faithful Penprints followers or new readers who tuned in for this entire ramshackle post, thanks. Had you heard of Gable Price and Friends? What lyrics are jumping out you from your current music favorites?
Further up and further in,
p.s. – just know it went against every bone in my body to not write a Valentine’s Day post about singleness. Yes, I recently listened to a podcast called “Is singleness superior to marriage?” and yes I also was sad and cried on February 13 because I don’t have no boo thing and then spent all of February 14 living my literal best life and being confused why I was sad about being single the day before. Nothing new there.
p.p.s. – for the uninitiated, “Boo Thing” is a term that refers to one’s significant other; I will use it to refer to significant others. And also, as it turns out, almost every single person other I encounter. It just comes out of my mouth before I can stop it, and I say it to a lot of people. And one of these days I will tell the mailman or some man buying a present for his wife at my work, “Thanks, boo, have a nice day.” And then I will go die.
p.p.p.s. – also, if you’re going to listen to Gable Price and Friends, but sure to give “Underdressed” a listen.
p.p.p.p.s. – I have an Instagram again. I may delete it. We’ll see, lol.