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Your Sons and Your Daughters Shall Prophesy

And may not the Spirit of Christ speak in the female as well as the male? Who is it that dare limit the Holy One of Israel? For the Light is the same in the male and in the female, and it cometh from Christ. . . . And who is it that dare stop Christ’s mouth? George Fox, early Quaker evangelist

Something that set early Quakers apart from many other Christians was their witness to the spiritual equality of women. Mindful of the scriptural admonition against quenching the Spirit, all Friends – young and old, women and men – were encouraged to preach the gospel as they were led. While the established Church singled out a smatteringof passagesthat seemed to justify the subordination of women, Friends prayerfully examined the entire testimony of the Old and New Testaments and found that the Spirit was leading them to affirm the spiritual equality of women and men.

As one might imagine, the early Friends’ insistence on the equal ministry of women stirred up trouble. Indeed, many Quakers were beaten, tortured and imprisioned; many more lost social standing or had their property seized. If the ministry of women had been a secondary concern, Friends might have understandably given way. Better to compromise on a non-essential than to see your friends and family attacked, even killed! So why were Quakers willing to suffer terribly to uphold the ministry of women? The answer is simple: The spiritual equality of women is not an “extra” that Christians can take or leave – it is one of the essential marks of a people who are being led by the Holy Spirit.

The foundational discovery of the Quaker movement is that Jesus Christ is literally present with us, and that he will change us from the inside out. At a time when most Christians believed that human sin and depravity were inescapable facts of life, Friends testified to their own experience of being inwardly transformed. As the Holy Spirit moved in their lives, these women and men found that their entire nature was being changed. As they grew in faithfulness, they experienced redepmtion from the fallen state of Adam, being re-formed in the image of Christ.

The Quaker experience is a profound reversal of the natural order. Where death once reigned, we are now abundantly alive; where we had previously been enslaved by hatred and selfishness, we find freedom. Quakers recognize that this amazing transformation is the fulfillment of God’s intention for the creation. When we are in Christ, everything old passes away and there is a new creation. None of the old rules of sin and death apply.

One of the hallmarks of the old, fallen order is the subordination of women to men. Though in many places patriarchy is still the unquestioned status quo, Quakers believe that this social arrangement is a result of humanity’s fall from grace. When human beings are living in the image of Adam and Eve, man rules over woman. Yet, in Christ we experience the first fruits of the New Creation. Our lived experience of transformation by the Holy Spirit is exactly what Paul described in Romans: Though “death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses,” Christ has brought a new reign of life! Adam dragged humanity into the reign of death where male domination was the norm. But now Jesus is empowering his friends to resist the death-dealing culture of patriarchy.

It is because we have tasted this new life that we know a new day is dawning in Christ. As we are being transformed by the Holy Spirit, darkness loses its grip on us. We are re-born into a life of spiritual freedom that includes all of us. We find that we are living in the days when the Lord says:

In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy…
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.

When the Lord is present, human distinctions fade into the background. It is not about us anymore. Instead, all our focus is on Jesus. When we are gathered in his power, we discover for ourselves that“there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of [us] are one in Christ Jesus.”

Have you had this experience of Christ’s transformative power? What are ways you have seen the Holy Spirit break through human distinctions? How can we participate in the abundant life and radical liberation that the Spirit brings?

I Will Remember

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus as the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2

Tomorrow is the day that the Christian community celebrates Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. It was on Pentecost that the followers of Jesus in Jerusalem received the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s coming united the early Christians at the deepest level, in a living experience of God’s presence and power. They were transformed from a loose collection of individuals into a new creation, a vibrant community that was of one heart and one mind. Jesus sent the Spirit of Truth, just as he promised, and this Spirit-filled human community became his continuing presence in the world, the Body of Christ.

This year, the celebration of Pentecost falls on Memorial Day weekend. This unusual alignment of these two days of remembrance has spurred me to do some thinking about the relationship between Memorial Day and Pentecost. The former is traditionally a celebration in remembrance of those who have given their lives in military service, while the latter commemorates the in-pouring of God’s Spirit into the world. Many Christians will celebrate these two days side by side, without any sense of contradiction.

I cannot do that. As a Quaker, I believe that when Jesus Christ disarmed his disciples in Gethsemane, he disarmed the Church. I believe that when Jesus died on the cross, he set an example for those who would follow him – taking on suffering rather than inflicting it, blessing those who curse us. As a follower of the Crucified Savior, I must remember the martyrs – those who sacrificed their own lives, possesssions and comfort in order to demonstrate God’s love to a world in pain. This Memorial Day, I will remember the faithful servants who have gone before, joining Jesus in blazing the trail that I now walk.

I will remember those like Stephen, who was put to death for his witness to Christ’s love and justice. I will give thanks to God for the faithful service of Paul of Tarsus, Francis of Assisi, George Fox, James Nayler, Edward Burrough, Margaret Fell, Tom Fox, and all those who have suffered for the Truth. Whether by a martyr’s death or simply through handing their entire lives over to the work of Christ in the world, they paid the ultimate price for their faith.

I will remember the way that so many have laid down their own privilege and comfort to serve the poor and the lost. And I will remember how I was one of those lost ones. I will give thanks for the grace these servants of God showed, loving me in spite of all the ways I pushed them away.

I will remember Dorothy Craven, who lived a life of simple faithfulness and gentle love for all people. I praise God for the way she laid aside her comfort and walked in faith with the Friends of Jesus commmunity in Wichita, Kansas. She served as an elder to us, a mother in the gospel. She introduced me to the writings of Thomas Kelly and taught me Algebra, even though I was probably the most frustrating student she ever had. She loved me when I did not deserve it. She believed in me when there was no good reason to do so. She was Jesus to me.

Dorothy has now joined that great cloud of witnesses that surrounds me. Sitting at Jesus’ right hand, these faithful witnesses call me forward. They spur me to greater courage and vulnerability in love. They are my heroes, and I experience them as being somehow, mysteriously alive in the Spirit that unites us. This Memorial Day, I will remember these holy ones who stand, unarmed, by the throne of God. Together with Jesus, they call me into a life of fearless love and peace. This Pentecost, I will celebrate the Holy Spirit that unites us beyond life and death.

Who are the witnesses that call you forward?

What If Quakerism Were A Movement Again?

Though it is sometimes hard to believe, the Quaker community began as a radical, free-form network that gave great autonomy to individual ministers. It was intensely focused on the mission of spreading the gospel message throughout England, Europe, the Americas, and beyond. Friends emphasized the transforming power of Jesus Christ within us and among us, and the organizing principles of the early movement reflected this priority. Though Friends would eventually congeal into settled communities under the watchful eyes of duly appointed ministers, elders and overseers, the first decades of the Quaker movement were explosive and fluid.

In this very early period, the basic unit of Quaker organization was the traveling ministry team – itinerant gospel preachers who went from village to village, preaching the good news wherever they could find an audience. They were often beaten, jailed and stripped of their possessions – and with good reason! These early evangelists were often quite disruptive, performing shocking prophetic signs, including walking naked through the streets. Quaker preachers often appeared at government-run worship services and contradicted the sermons of the local priest.

The early Friends were more a grassroots movement than an established religious tradition, spreading through the power of the message these itinerant prophets proclaimed. Friends eschewed hierarchical styles of organization, and rejected the fixed ceremonies of the establishment church. Though Quakers sometimes had to clarify that someone was not a Friend, early on there was no fixed membership. People knew who the Friends were simply by the way they acted and spoke. Being a Quaker was enormously risky, because the price of belonging was to take a public stand against the idolatry of the false religious systems of the day.

Within a few decades, much of this initial fire and fluidity had dissipated. In the face of repeated waves of state persecution – fines, confiscations of property, beatings, imprisonments and worse – Friends banded together in tight-knit communities where they could provide for one another, especially for the families of those in prison. In the context of increasingly intense pressure by the restored British monarchy, George Fox spent years helping Friends develop a highly structured organization. These structures helped to shield Quakers from the worst of the persecution, deflecting public criticism and facilitating mutual aid. As Friends developed these structures, there was an inevitable centralization of authority – first in the area gathering of Friends (the Monthly Meeting), and finally in the national gathering based in London (the Yearly Meeting).

These structures probably saved the Quaker community from annihilation. Thanks to an increasingly centralized governance structure based in London, Friends were able to effectively lobby the government for toleration. The deepening authority of the area gatherings (Monthly Meetings) allowed Friends to keep a tight lead on those individuals who might get the whole community into trouble. When necessary, such individuals were publicly denounced as provocateurs. This process, called “disownment,” drew a clear line between those who were abiding by the norms of the Quaker community, and those who were dangerous renegades.

All of this made sense at the time. People were getting killed as the result of the silly actions of a few, and it was only prudent to batton down the hatches and distance the community from the dangerous activities of the more radical fringe. If Fox and his lieutenants had not succeeded in developing a more tightly structured organization for the movement, Friends very well might have been entirely suppressed. Nevertheless, these adaptations did not come without a price.

Just like the early Christian Church, the initial years of the Quaker movement were characterized by an expectation of the imminent culmination of history. Friends experienced the risen presence of Jesus, and they were sure that the end of history was just around the corner. The Kingdom was come! There was nothing left to do but proclaim it and invite others into it before the time of decision finally came to a close. This apocalyptic vision could not survive the transition from free-wheeling movement to established sect. Just like the first-century Church, the Quaker movement hardened and consolidated; it became an institution to be preserved, rather than a message to be proclaimed with abandon.

What would happen if we once again became a movement that placed all its focus on the transforming power of the gospel message? How would our present structures and assumptions change to reflect this passionate embrace of Christ’s mission? What would melt away, and what would remain essential? What would be open to compromise, and what would emerge as the rock-solid foundations of our faith? What would happen if Quakerism once again became a radical, apocalyptic movement? Not a sect – not a structure to be preserved, nor an organization to be sustained – but a real movement rallying around a living experience of the Risen Lord Jesus?

I am convinced that we are living in an historical moment that demands movement rather than monument; message rather than creed; and full-bodied engagement rather than circumscribed ritual. I do not know what the next steps will look like, but I pray for courage to lay all things – structures, communities, rituals, organizations and identity – at Jesus’ feet. Without a doubt, he is here to teach us and lead us himself, if we dare to be his disciples.

Time to Occupy the Church

Ever since becoming a Christian, I have read in the Book of Acts about the radical fearlessness of the early Church, and I have long been inspired by the witness of the early Quaker movement, which cast aside comfort and privilege to shine a light on all the forces that held women and men in misery. Yet, I had never myself seen this kind of communal faithfulness in action. It took an apparently secular movement like Occupy Wall Street to help me really understand, on an experiential level, what an authentic movement for justice and righteousness could actually look like.

The Occupy movement is based in a sense of indignation that a tiny elite of our wealthiest citizens and their corporations have virtually monopolized the political discourse in this country. Elections have devolved into auctions, with the candidate who is able to raise the most money from corporate sponsors almost always emerging victorious. As public opinion is increasingly swayed by massive corporate propaganda campaigns, all semblance of real democracy is slipping away. The Occupy movement names these truths, revealing them in bold acts of street theater. It creatively disrupts the careful choreography of the wealthy elites and their servants.

The Occupy movement is playing a prophetic role in our society. It has ripped away the thin veneer of legitimacy that previously masked the criminal actions of the corporate powers and their bought-and-paid-for politicians. For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, the occupiers have revealed the true condition of our nation.

It is amazing to see how God is using the most unlikely of characters – anarchists and homeless people, young idealists and unemployed construction workers – to call our attention to the truth. Those whom our society has rejected have been chosen to serve as the national conscience.

This has Jesus’ fingerprints all over it. Jesus always got push-back from the respectable people of his day – religious and community leaders – for spending his time with tax collectors and sinners, lepers and prostitutes. Jesus not only mixed with people whom his socity deemed dirty and worthless, he called them his friends. Jesus invited the lowest of the low to become friends of God. He empowered society’s outcasts to reveal God’s love, mercy and justice to the world.
The Occupy movement is not made up of the “important” people of our day. Religious leaders in particular have been cautious about getting too close to this risky group of people who are speaking truth to power. It is one thing to preach a sermon on peace from the safety of the pulpit – it is another thing entirely to put our bodies and reputations on the line to advance the cause of truth and mercy in our communities. So far, most church people have not been ready to take the plunge.
I do believe, however, that God is calling the Christian community to get out of our comfort zone, to invest ourselves in the struggle for economic justice and genuine democracy. We can no longer hide behind a false neutrality that only emboldens the predatory behavior of the wealthiest and their corporations. When a bully is hurting your friends, you cannot be neutral. There are villains in this story, and they must be confronted.

Far too often, we ourselves have been the villains. Through selfishness and cowardice, we have participated in the systems of injustice that are choking the dignity of millions. Perhaps this is one reason that we are so reluctant to commit ourselves in this new movement. If we are to stand up for truth and righteousness, we will be forced to acknowledge the ways in which we have fallen short. We will be forced to change.

This is hard. It is a process that will take years and decades. But I am convinced that we must start now. We, the ecumenical Christian Church in the United States, must take up the frightening responsibility of living and proclaiming the uncompromising love and prophetic justice of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is only by participating in his mission to liberate the poor and oppressed(1) that we can ever hope to be his disciples.

This Thursday evening, at 7:00pm, some of us who desire to become more faithful disciples of our homeless Savior(2) will be gathering at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. We call on Christians of all denominations and communions to join with us in issuing a call to repentance and renewal of faith in the God who stands with the poor and the powerless. Together, we will seek to embody the love, strength and courage of Jesus Christ through positive action for justice, reconciliation and peace.

If you are in the DC area, please join us. If you are in another region, please pray for us, and consider holding a similar gathering in your area. As followers of the crucified Messiah, we can no longer be silent. The time has come to Occupy the Church.

1. Luke 4:18-19
2. Luke 9:58

Who is a Quaker?

This week, my friend Maggie Harrison published a bold post entitled “YOU ARE NOT A QUAKER (so please stop calling yourself one),” in which she challenges us to examine the basis of our faith. With breath-taking hyperbole, Maggie declares that we need to get serious about the process of spiritual transformation – or get out.She writes, “Stop diluting our movement and muddying the waters with your wishy-washy comfort-driven engagement with this group that you think is cool or enjoy ‘meditating’ with. … PLEASE LEAVE.”

As one would expect, this blog post by a twenty-something Quaker minister telling us all to get the hell out of her denomination went viral. In the comments section, Maggie has been getting alternating hot/cold showers of praise and indignation from Friends across the world. Some Quakers are excited that she is preaching a more serious faith, one that goes beyond rote tradition and feel-good religion, instead embracing the call to radical transformation by the Refining Fire, the Search Light – Christ in us, the hope of glory.

Many others had a viscerally negative reaction to Maggie’s post. Clearly, hyperbole does not translate well over the internet, and many individuals seemed to feel personally threatened, believing that Maggie was seriously calling for them to be thrown out of their Meetings. They accused Maggie of being “holier-than-thou,” and of totally violating the norms of Liberal Quakerism by judging the spiritual condition of her fellows. To be frank, this blog post really pissed some folks off.

In a way, this is too bad. I know that Maggie was just being silly. Maggie loaded up her rhetorical shotgun and hit us with both barrels. She was looking to get a reaction out of us, and by God (yes!) she did. God made Maggie silly for a purpose, and God is using her to wake us up. Because while her delivery is extreme, profane and off-putting, her message is holiness itself. I give glory to God for the witness that the Spirit has raised up in Maggie. I am thankful for her faithfulness in walking the path of spiritual purification and growth in the Lord.

Maggie’s essay cries out for a sanctification of Quakerism, calling the Religious Society of Friends back to its roots in spiritual transformation by Christ’s light. The Quaker church began as a radical movement of prophetic faithfulness to God’s living Word (the Risen Lord Jesus), and was far more concerned with embodying and proclaiming that message than it was with buildings and endowments; history and Nobel prizes. Maggie wants to see Quakerism live up to its full potential, to be holy.

I feel exactly the same way. We are called to so much more than secure lives in the lap of Empire. We are called to be more than nice, good people. We are called to be holy. The Seed of God is oppressed by the weight of our lives, the way that we have allowed a myriad of other concerns to take precedence over basic faithfulness. We shame the name “Quaker.” We have nothing to do with it.

While some are astonished at Maggie’s boldness, I think that she has not gone far enough. You are not a Quaker. Neither is Maggie. Nor am I. We are nothing like Quakers. We are pale shadows of those charismatic extremists of the early Quaker movement, who shook the earth for ten miles around when they preached. It is a mockery for us to claim to be one of them.

We have been coasting on the accomplishment of real Quakers for far too long. We love to brag about Quakers’ involvement in the Underground Railroad and the abolition of slavery. We adore letting people know about the good works of Friends in reforming the prison system, intervening in war-torn countries, and supporting the Civil Rights movement. We are so proud of “our” Nobel peace prize.

But we are frauds. Quakers do not exist anymore. Three hundred and fifty years was a good run, but it is over now; and the longer we pretend to be something we are not, the more we disgrace a once-proud people.

What if we were to confess that none of us are really Quakers anymore? What would happen if we had the courage to stop laying claim to the past glories of George Fox, Margaret Fell, William Penn and Bayard Rustin? What if, instead of basking in the fiction of our status as “Quakers,” we humbled ourselves and started putting our energy into actually nurturing the communities that depend on us?

Because, while Quakerism does not exist anymore, our Meetings do. Our local churches, fellowships and Yearly Meetings are more real than any imagined “Quakerism” could ever be. Are we being faithful in caring for our brothers and sisters, humbling ourselves in service to others? Are we courageous in standing up for truth and mercy, and inviting our local congregations to join us in serving the “least of these” in our society? Do we have the patience to wait on God, allowing Christ’s living presence to transform us and remake us from the inside out – not just as individuals, but as whole communities?

What if we stopped trying to be Quakers? What if, instead, we put our energy into being communities that truly reflect the love, joy and peace of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? What if, instead of trying to preserve an heirloom faith, we cast aside everything except our determination to be God’s holy, chosen and beloved people, here and now?

Holy-Spirit Whiplash

Have you ever had Holy-Spirit whiplash? Have there been times in your life when you have felt God directing your life down a certain path? Steadily. Unrelentingly. It goes on for months or years until, all of a sudden, the call shifts dramatically. The new sense of direction is clear, and it feels right, but it takes some time to wrap your mind around it.

In the last month or two, I have been experiencing a big shift in God’s call on my life. In late 2005, God set me aside for full-time preparation for ministry. God called me out of my job working at a bank in Wichita and directed me to study at Earlham School of Religion. I did some paid work during the course of my studies, but virtually all of my time and energy was plunged into study, prayer and preparation for ministry.

After completing the MDiv program, God continued to call me into full-time ministry. I spent the spring of 2009 traveling in the Great Plains, ministering among Friends in Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas. While I hope that there was some benefit to those I visited, this work probably had more to do with my own preparation for ministry than it did with any gift I had to offer. I was out of seminary; but in many ways I was still in school.

In the fall of 2009, I married and moved to the District of Columbia. I also began work for Earlham School of Religion, doing web strategy and outreach to Young Adult Friends. This new job fit very well with my own sense of call, my leading to travel among Friends in a variety of theological and geographical contexts. It was work that called me to venture across the United States, developing networks that would strengthen both ESR and the Religious Society of Friends as a whole.

My role with ESR has dovetailed very well with my own sense of God’s call on my life; and the work has been part-time, allowing me sufficient space to be faithful to a life of dedicated ministry. I have had the best of both worlds – both gainfully employed, and released for gospel ministry.

Apart from my work at ESR, my main focus in the last two years has been the development of Capitol Hill Friends, a new Quaker church in DC. It started out with just Faith and me inviting folks to come and worship with us, and it has blossomed into a small church with four members and around a dozen attenders. With my other “part-time,” I dedicated myself to strengthening and supporting this new community; and it has been a blessing to see our development as a Meeting, especially in the last year.

Given this little bit of history, you can see how it came as a shock to me when I realized recently that God no longer seemed to be calling me to full-time ministry. It was not that God had revoked my calling or spiritual gifts (though these have certainly evolved over the years). It was not that Capitol Hill Friends or the work of tending the flock became any less important to me. If anything, these things have become only more central in my awareness. Yet, in recent months, I have felt God calling me into a new life stage, with its own set of blessings and responsibilities.

Up until now, I have primarily conceived of my call in terms of the itinerant ministry modeled by the early Friends. This sort of ministry – that of Fox and Burroughs, Nayler and Pennington – was not firmly rooted to a specific place. On the contrary, it was a missionary faith in constant motion, publishing the truth far and wide. These Friends preached to all sorts of people in many different lands. They were nothing if not mobile.

In the past few months, however, this vision has come to ring hollow for me. While God may have called me to this sort of itinerant ministry in previous years, I have become convicted that God brought me to DC for a different kind of service. While I have long avoided commitments that would bind me to one place, I now feel compelled to embrace them. Before, I looked down my nose at the stable shepherd in the local church, tending to the day-to-day needs of God’s people. I longed for more exciting work; the fiery preaching of George Fox and the mass conversions of the Valiant Sixty. I thought I was special.

But now, in the spicy-sweet irony that carries the mark of the Holy Spirit, I sense I am being called into the steady endurance that I once despised. Maybe God has decided that it is time for me to grow up – or, at least, to move a little bit further down the path of maturity in Christ. My mind is still reeling from the whiplash, but my heart can sense the truth.

Clothe Yourself in Righteousness (A Review)

Jon Watts is a Quaker musician and spoken word poet, born and raised in Richmond, Virginia as part of Baltimore Yearly Meeting. In the coming days, he is releasing his fourth album, Clothe Yourself in Righteousness. I was blessed to have Jon ask me to review his album.

But first, a little bit of background…

As a youth, Jon says he was a cultural Quaker. He participated in Quaker camps and activities, but he was not convicted in his heart of the Truth that Friends proclaim. After high school, Jon studied at Guilford College as a part of the Quaker Leadership Scholars Program. It was there that he began to personally wrestle with the Friends tradition.

Jon’s time at Guilford was also the beginning of his musical career. He released two albums: Self in his sophmore year, and A Few Songs Occasioned in his senior year. Self, as the name might imply, was focused primarily on personal exploration. It was Jon’s first foray into recording, and it bore the marks of a young man in the process of finding himself in the world.
Jon’s second album was different. Composed as his senior project at Guilford, A Few Songs Occasioned rooted Jon’s exploration deeply in the world of the first generation of Friends. Jon would later say that the process of composing and producing this album was what began to convict him of the message and witness of the early Quakers. Jon became a convinced Friend.

Following college, Jon spent a year at Pendle Hill – a Quaker study center near Philadelphia – during which time he released a third album, The Art of Fully Being. This album was a more mature version of Self. It was a self-exploration for sure, but one rooted in Jon’s deepening walk with God. In The Art of Fully Being, Jon’s spiritually grounded concern for the human and natural world comes across clearly. We see the way that God has been tendering Jon’s heart, healing him of past wounds, and calling him into greater faithfulness.

Clothe Yourself in Righteousness
Jon’s fourth full album (he came out with an EP in 2009) returns again to an explicit focus on the witness of the early Quaker movement. Two of the ten songs are retellings of early Quaker ministry, and all of the tracks are infused with a raw Quaker spirituality that draws directly on the explosive witness of the earliest generation of Friends.

In Clothe Yourself in Righteousness, Jon finds a dynamic balance between past and present, self and community, spirit and flesh. This is the work of a mature artist who has received the courage to look deep inside himself and bear the Truth. Guided by the witness of Christ in his heart, Jon’s music reveals the intimacy and tenderness of God’s love.

It also reveals the radical challenge of faithfulness. While Clothe Yourself in Righteousness basks in the tender love of God, it is also unflinching in its call to risky relationship with both God and our fellow humans. This album is sometimes comforting, but it does not leave us feeling comfortable. On the contrary, Jon calls on us to sacrifice selfish comfort as we pursue the Truth. Clothe Yourself in Righteousness invites us to “get naked” – making ourselves vulnerable for the sake of love, letting the power and protection of God become our only defense.
Clothe Yourself in Righteousness is a testament of courage. God has done enormous work in Jon’s heart over the past several years, and it shows in this album. CYiR offers us an opportunity to join Jon on this journey, discovering the revealing, healing power of Christ’s light.
This is a content-rich piece of art. There are lots of words in this album, and CYiR bears listening to again and again, just to catch the nuances of his poetry. Yet, this album would not be whole without the instrumental accompaniment of guitar, violin and cello. The violin and cello in particular give CYiR an epic, soaring feel that emotionally moves and lifts the spirit.
This is not pop music; it is not meant to be background. When you buy this album, I encourage you to resist the urge to multitask. Instead, before you hit play, sit down without any distractions, and open yourself to the roughly forty minutes of ministry that this album has in store for you. I trust that the Spirit will be present.