This album is honest. Just look at the opening lyrics of the album’s first track, ‘Into Faith I Go’:
‘I've never been good at change
If I'm honest, it's always scared me’
You won't hear more naked words than these in worship. Not since (the absolutely brilliant and personally recommended) music of Sleeping At Last have song lyrics been so open about life being hard. Nor so specific. When the line ‘Nobody said this would be easy’ comes up later in the song, I can’t help but feel caught off guard. These songs show that “In the particular is contained the universal.” (James Joyce). Pat Barrett reveals his fears of growing old, living with fear, wanting to give up. He doesn’t just sing about highs and lows, he shares his very own dark nights of the soul and the light that got him through them. ‘Into Faith I Go’ doesn’t wallow in pain and fear. Rather, it shows exactly the journey well all face, the fears we all feel, and the hope that comes from letting them all go and following God into the ‘open journey’ of faith.
If the name Pat Barrett is new to you, don’t worry. You aren’t alone. Before listening to his self-titled album I had no idea who he was, despite the fact I have heard his songs for a while now. As well as co-writing Good Good Father he is the lead singer of Housefires, the group responsible for writing and bringing songs like Build My Life to the fore. His songs have a stripped back feel to them. Laconic, but lasting.
‘I believe You are
The way, the truth, the life
I believe You are
The way, the truth, the life’
Belief in God doesn’t need grand, complicated statements. It requires an honest heart for God. This is how so much of Pat Barrett’s music is able to connect so readily with people. Through honest simplicity.
As if that all wasn’t different or daring enough, the album’s fourth track offers a message radically different to so many other worship songs. Starting purposefully rough in sound to a jarring effect, ‘Everything is Sacred’ flips some of the perspectives that many hold. Namely, that the line we draw between sacred and secular is not ours to draw. Bold for a 500-page theological textbook, yet alone a 3:47 worship song, ‘Everything is Sacred’ feels like a Rob Bell book in musical form. Poetic, daring, and just a little bit challenging. Yet Pat Barrett manages to tie it all together with simple lyrics and arrangement:
‘Teach me that it all belongs
That everything is sacred
I eat the bread and drink the wine
But help me love my neighbor’
He further goes on to sing that everything is made by God, and so sacred in nature: ‘Ordinary shines and glows / Fueled with Your intentions / You don't see the lines we draw / Between secular and sacred’. So often we are encouraged to see God in mountainous miracles, but not in smaller, seemingly mundane things. But when we see all the world as being sacred, we open the way for something more, as well as completely flipping how we see heaven. And there, in the chorus is the heart of the song:
‘Oh, Heaven is upside down
Oh, it can be here and now
Oh, seeing it all around
That everything is sacred’
It’s by seeing the world differently that we also see God’s kingdom different. Not as something removed, or the exclusive destination of the dead. Rather, as something here,something now, crosshatched with God’s creation.
I can't recommend enough taking the time out to listen to this album. Really listen. Pat Barrett takes several bold steps in his self-titled album, and explores emotions and ideas that can really his home. I could easily spend several pages going track-by-track, but that wouldn’t so it justice.
This is an album with a voice. So much worship today is group-led, which is perfect for Churches and worship communities. But there is a lack of the personal, confession, and nakedly honest experiences of Christianity in music today. This album offers something not often seen, not often heard, but often needed.
To order Pat Barrett's latest album, click here.
July 30th, 2018 - Posted & Written by Aaron Lewendon