God And Suicide

“The man who kills a man kills a man
The man who kills himself kills all men.
As far as he is concerned, he wipes out the world.” – G. K. Chesterton

I am not Catholic, but I formed a very firm belief growing up: If a Christian (or anyone else, for that matter) commits suicide, they will go to Hell. That was just the rule; God didn’t like suicide, so if you took your own life, you were going to spend your eternity in endless torment. Period. End of story.

Today, I’m not so sure anymore.

———-

I’m not sure if this is due to my depression or personality or selfishness or just outright sinful nature, but my relationship with God always seems to be in a state of perpetual flux. I grew up largely afraid of Him, knowing that if I didn’t “get saved,” I would be doomed to eternal damnation. Despite singing “Jesus Loves Me” a billion times or attending every vacation Bible school in the county every year or seeing those painted pictures of the meek and mild Jesus, I was convinced God was not someone I wanted to cross. I suppose I was right, in a way. The fear of the Lord, after all, is the beginning of wisdom.

From there I moved on to firmly believing God was real and that Jesus was His one and only son. Once I realized what Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross of Calvary meant for me, I developed a sincere appreciation for what he had done. That appreciation gradually morphed into a genuine affection, which was then assaulted by years of well-meaning Christians manipulating, bullying, and using me. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true. I came to believe God didn’t really like me very much and merely tolerated my existence because He had to. It was a miserable place to be.

In recent years, I’ve come to understand grace better. I don’t constantly worry about my every sin sending me to hell anymore. I don’t think God hates me anymore. I’m even developing something of a compassion for those struggling with sin, which my early version of faith simply had no tolerance for. At the same time, though, Christianity sometimes feels more like a set of rules I am destined to never keep fully, even though that is the point of grace in the first place: We will never be good enough on our own. That is why Christ’s sacrifice was required. Still, the notion of constantly failing sometimes weighs on me. I mean, can’t I get it right just once…?

———-

Still, despite some of my struggles and misgivings about my faith, the notion of a graceful Father and Son has taken hold of me as of late. I’m beginning to believe His grace extends far beyond where I initially thought it did. Sometimes I think I might be becoming a little too comfortable with the concept of grace. I mean, this is still a God who does not let everyone into Heaven, no matter how good they’ve been. He demands allegiance, but He asks for it in love. It is a strange combination, and it is not one I claim to understand fully.

Circling back to the topic of suicide, one of the more common arguments I hear for those who commit it going to Hell is that it breaks the sixth of the Ten Commandments – Thou shalt not murder. The logic here is that if someone kills themself, they have in effect committed murder against their own person. Therefore, instead of saying “He killed himself,” you could say “He murdered himself.”

This argument doesn’t really hold water, though. If breaking the sixth commandment will cast you into Hell, what about the ones about lying or stealing? People covet stuff all the time. Is that an automatic ticket to Hades? Apparently not, as many people who covet things are still recognized as being Christians. In fact, murderers were put to great uses in the Bible, most notably in the case of Saul/Paul.

I suppose, then, that perhaps it is the person killing themselves’ relationship with Christ that is the key part of this equation. Unfortunately, this is nearly impossible to know. Attempting to figure out if someone is “truly” a believer is like trying to figure out what a dog is thinking at any particular moment of the day. You may have an idea, but you really don’t know. Only that person and God know. Someone might say the evidence here is in the fruit, where a person chose to check out rather than have faith in things getting better. Suicide is the ultimate lack of faith, they might say.

I think they’re wrong.

———

Here is where my problem with the “Everyone who commits suicide goes to Hell” theory lies: I’m not so sure a loving God, who is compassionate and kind and just, would look upon a person who has been abused or molested or is chemically imbalanced or has never been able to grasp happiness of any kind in this world and condemn them to the pits of Hell forever if they reached a moment where they just couldn’t take it anymore and decided to end their own life.

Don’t get me wrong. I certainly don’t think God smiles upon the practice of suicide. In fact, in every instance in the Bible I can think of where one of his representatives in this world wanted their life to end, He very directly provides them a reason to keep on living. I believe He does have a purpose beyond the pain, and I believe He desperately wants everyone to embrace life and not throw in the towel. To ever call God an advocate of taking one’s own life would be madness.

As we all know, though, God’s intentions and our actions do not always coincide with each other. Even though He wants His children to succeed, they fail. In fact, they fail spectacularly sometimes. This must grieve Him, as it would any father. If one of my children were ever to commit suicide, though, would I stop loving them? Would I hope for their punishment because of what they did?

What kind of father would I be?

———-

In the end, even after all of my rambling, there is no definitive answer to the question I have posed here. None of us can be completely sure of where the soul of someone who commits suicide finds its final resting place. Whereas the Quran very specifically forbids suicide, the Bible is strangely vague about the subject. In fact, the Bible is vague on a great many things, as if God wanted us to figure things out on our own rather than be mindless robots in His service.

Perhaps vagueness is the point on an issue such as this, though. Perhaps the hint of doubt, uncertainty, and fear of what might happen if we went through with the act was purposefully left there by God to keep us from going all the way. I mean, what is scarier than Hell? We have to know that whatever torment we are facing here would be magnified a hundredfold in Hell. The lake of fire becomes a safety valve in this instance. What’s going on now may be bad, but it couldn’t be as bad as that.

For the moment, I am choosing to believe that the person who succumbs to the temptation of suicide does not automatically go to Hell. The more I come to know people who have wrestled with the concept of it and have been touched by it themselves, the more I realize life is harder for some than for others. Some constitutions are sterner, some shoulders broader, some wills more unbreakable. God bless the strong people. The weak people need you. need you.

———-

The great Christian apologist C. S. Lewis has inspired me more times than I can count over the course of my life. This man observed intense grief and wrote about it eloquently in his book “A Grief Observed.” I’d like to conclude with a quote from that work:

“You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth of falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?”

 

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Tuneful Tuesday: What I’m Looking For

There are a number of songs I can remember from my lifetime that I just did not “get” when they were popular. Sometimes I was too young to understand what they were talking about. Sometimes I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to appreciate them. And, probably, sometimes I just didn’t care what they meant. Whatever the case, I didn’t appreciate these songs fully until they had passed their apex of popularity.

A prime example of this is U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” from the band’s mega-selling album The Joshua Tree. Those old enough to remember when this album was current will no doubt recall that radio, television, and virtually every other type of media was saturated with all things pertaining to the Irish rock band. As is my common practice when I feel someone or something is being overexposed, I eventually just stopped paying much attention to all the hoopla, which is sort of a shame, because The Joshua Tree is a really brilliant album, recorded before U2 lost some of the fire that made them such a treat to listen to in their early days.

Beyond the fatigue aspect, though, I had a difficult time reconciling Bono’s lyrics to the Christian beliefs he seemed to express. I mean, if you are a Christian and you’ve met Jesus, what more could you be looking for? Even outside of the religious slant, if you climbed the “highest mountain,” what else do you have to accomplish? If you’ve kissed “honey lips,” what lust is there left to satisfy? If Bono had found all that, what in the world could he still be looking for?

All the years later, I understand what he was singing about. Whether it is a symptom of depression or middle age or simple selfishness, there is still a large amount of dissatisfaction residing within me. Whatever that missing piece is that will make me feel whole, I haven’t found it yet. Religion, family, work… There is still something not quite right, and I have not been able to identify what that is. There is a peace and joy which still eludes me. Sometimes I believe I have found what I lack, only to see it slip away once more. Sometimes I wonder if such a thing exists at all.

I used to sit back and declare judgement on Bono for not being satisfied with what he had. I wish now that I could take those words of condemnation back. I get it now. And I’m still looking, too.

Read More, Pray Harder

“As to mental maladies, is any man altogether sane? Are we not all a little off the balance? Some minds appear to have a gloomy tinge essential to their very individuality; of them it may be said, ‘Melancholy marked them for her own;’ fine minds withal, and ruled by noblest principles, but yet most prone to forget the silver lining, and to remember only the cloud.”

To many people of faith, the preceding paragraph may border on heresy to their sensibilities. That “gloomy tinge” should not exist in a mind set on the joy and peace of Jesus Christ. Remembering “only the cloud” runs counter to admonitions to command your downcast soul to praise the Lord at all times. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Right?

What heretic uttered these blasphemous words? None other than Charles Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers.” spurgeon_chairSpurgeon did not just have his down days; he suffered from bouts of full-blown depression. “My spirits were sunken so low that I could weep by the hour like a child, and yet I knew not what I wept for,” he once said. He described his depression as his “worst feature” and spoke of how he was “heartily ashamed” of it. He also firmly believed, though, that “there is no remedy for it like a holy faith in God.”

To be a Christian with depression is often an uphill climb, not only because of the sometimes debilitating effects of the illness itself, but also because it seems almost offensive to other believers. There is frequently a sort of unspoken vibe that maybe that depressed person is not really doing enough to deal with their mood. Maybe they’re not reading their Bible enough. Maybe their prayer life is lacking. Maybe they don’t really know God that well. Maybe they’re not saved at all.

Of course, as in Spurgeon’s case, those doubts could not be further from the truth. In many instances, depressed people are turning to the Bible more and praying more than most of their fellow congregants. For the severely depressed who have reached the end of their ropes, their cries to God are probably more fervent than any jubilant saint. Too often, though, the advice given to Christians in this predicament is almost offensively simple: “You need to read your Bible more and pray harder.”

It has been a struggle in my own life to not harbor resentment toward fellow Christians who did not understand not being able to fully grasp piece of mind. After many years, however, I realized anger was a wasted emotion in this instance. Some people, I finally concluded, just don’t understand depression because they’ve never experienced it. They may have had “the blues” from time to time, but never wrestled with days of utter hopelessness. While their advice may have been misguided, it was not malicious. They just wanted to point me to what worked for them, and that’s fine.

Spurgeon was correct in his assessment that a holy faith in God can lift a soul from the depths of depression. Just as he never stopped battling his own hopelessness, however, sadness in a fellow Christian is not an indicator that they have given up the fight. They may be chasing God with all their heart and soul. The good news is, if they are, He will be found.

Throwback Thursday: Circles

The origins of this blog can actually be traced back to another blog I used to write. It was my first attempt at blogging, and in retrospect it wasn’t very focused, even though it contained some pretty decent content. I think more than anything I just hated to give up the title: Half-Empty: Confessions of a Pessimist (Who’s Trying To Do Better). Not to brag, but I thought that was pretty catchy.

That blog was where I first publicly mentioned anything about being diagnosed with depression, and most of the later posts there touched on that topic in some form or another. At one point, I wrote a post concerning Christian deejay and podcaster Brant Hansen. Some of the facts in the post have changed a little, but now that I am also a deejay on a morning show on a Contemporary Christian radio station, I thought I would repost it here today. I hope it still has some relevance.

https://edwardsheridan.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/circles/

Tuneful Tuesday: Hit And Miss

I have made a concerted effort lately to listen to the radio more often. I went through a phase where I just wasn’t that interested in any of the music I was hearing, so I retreated into my iPod and the vast amount of music from the 1980s and 1990s it contained. Occasionally something new might catch my ear, but for the most part I stuck with what I knew.

As a result, I’ve been discovering lots of music that is new to me but isn’t exactly “new” music. One of those songs recently has been “Some Nights,” by fun. The song was released in 2012, and the only knowledge I really had of it was the fact the group put a period at the end of its name and a column in a Christian magazine I was reading labeling it as an indicator of how confused the current generation is regarding its place in this world.

Lyrically, the song actually does sort of jump around all over the place. I mean, the guy is obviously distressed about something, but I’m not exactly sure what it is. On the other hand, sometimes that’s what depression feels like; you’re upset about something, but you can’t exactly put your finger on what it is. And then there’s the loneliness, which is captured pretty well with lines like “I try twice as hard, and I’m half as liked” and “I could use some friends for a change.”

The real kicker of the song, though, bursts forth in a couple of lines near the end. “Man, you wouldn’t believe the most amazing things that can come from some terrible nights.” It takes a long time to grasp that perspective. In this case, it takes a look into a young boy’s eyes to make the realization. It’s different for everyone, though. The rest of the song may wander a bit, but this bit of wisdom is spot-on.

It seems as if a lot of artists these days are tapping into some very profound truths about depression and being able to manage it. Maybe the radio is worth listening to after all.

Tuneful Tuesday: Mine

If you’ve ever noticed me occasionally dropping references to Van Halen in this blog, there’s a reason for that. At one point in my life, I actually owned every VH album that had been made up to that point. In fact, the only ones I never owned were III (because it was dreadful), Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (because I already had everything that was on it), and Best of Both Worlds (see previous reason).

One VH song, in particular, played a very prominent role in my life. “Right Now,” the very popular single with an even more popular video from the album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, was actually instrumental in my deciding to become a Christian. I had been considering giving my heart to the Lord and being baptized, so when my impressionable high school brain heard the words of this song, well, I decided I couldn’t wait any longer.

That’s not the song I’m writing about here, though, although this post will discuss another song from the “Van Hagar” era. The album OU812 is not one of my favorites in the VH catalog, but it does have some bright moments, in particular the single “When It’s Love.” While most of the songs on the album are about sex, it’s opening track stands out in fairly stark contrast to the rest of the material.

“Mine All Mine” is the type of song that almost slips past a listener, if they’re not paying attention. It seems deathly serious compared to the other tracks on OU812, starting with the lyric, “Forgive me, Father/For I have sinned/I’ve been through hell and back again.” Sammy Hagar’s sort of fascination with religion would pop from time to time in the VH catalog, most notably in the song “Seventh Seal” from the album Balance. In this particular song, he’s not touting any one religion over another or even really endorsing any religion at all. He just wants people to believe in something.

I have to admit, this song has basically nothing to do with how I’ve thought about depression at any point in my life. I have been thinking about it lately, though, because the concept of grabbing onto something I can call uniquely mine is becoming more and more important to me. Something that doesn’t belong to anyone else, something I will hold onto tooth and nail. Following the crowd and the rules has led to many unhappy points. Whatever “it” is for me, I want it to be mine.

I Gotta

Have you ever had one of those mornings where all your issues seem to just lay themselves out right before your eyes? It’s like all of a sudden you see exactly what’s going on, and you begin to get a real sense of what is going to be required for you to turn things around. And then you make a fatal mistake by uttering those two terrible words…

“I gotta…”

Think you should be writing more? “I gotta get to work on that book idea…” Should you start bookexercising again? “I gotta get to the gym more often…” Missing old friends? “I gotta start being more sociable…” Thinking about getting the band back together? “I gotta start writing songs again…” Feeling a little far from God? “I gotta start reading my Bible and praying more…”

It’s amazing how two little words can turn something you’re passionate about or something you enjoy doing or something that could truly benefit you into grueling, grinding, miserable work of the most frustrating order. Suddenly, writing becomes a pressure cooker. Staying in touch with friends seems more like a weekly requirement. A relationship with God becomes a guilt-ridden minefield of good intentions gone awry.

It’s always astounded me, the way I’m able to put pressure on myself in a way no one else can or even does. Is there an editor somewhere expecting a manuscript from me by the end of the month? No. Do I need to set a new personal best time for riding my bicycle around my neighborhood because I need to qualify for some competition? No. Most of all, do I even possess the strength within myself to be the kind of Christian I should be?

No.

The problem with being a Christian and “I gotta” is that it flips the teachings of Jesus on their heads. When God puts a motivation on our hearts, what He wants us to do is turn to Him for the strength to do what needs to be done, not to place even more demands on ourselves. Instead of praying about my issues, I begin to obsess over all the things I should be doing more of. So I start putting forth greater effort, only to find I’m almost immediately overwhelmed and utterly depressed by my lack of success.

“I can’t do it,” I say to myself. “I’ve failed … again.”

You know what the only thing I gotta do? Trust God. Rely on His strength, not mine. Stop pressing so hard. Find some joy again in the things I love and stop making everything some sort of competition or deadline. Accept that if I make the attempt He’ll meet me halfway, instead of believing I have to complete the work and then present it to Him.

None of this is optional. I gotta do it.

 

The Sacred And The Profane

I tried to be good. I really, really did. I white-knuckled the bar until I thought I would bend it in half. I looked around, formed an interpretation of the standard, and did my best to live by it.

And now I’m kind of tired.

rules-for-allBefore anyone gets alarmed, this is not one of those “Here’s Why I Left Christianity” posts. I am still very much a Christian. I still believe Jesus Christ is the son of God and that he died on a cross and was raised from the dead three days later. I believe his blood washed away my sins and that he has made me a new creation. I believe the Bible is the holy word of God and that it contains the words of wisdom needed to live a joyful and fulfilling life. As the late Rich Mullins once sang, “I believe what I believe.”

The older I get, though, I’m beginning to realize the very real danger of turning Christianity into such a rigid, unyielding, methodical set of rules that it somehow ceases to be transforming, redemptive, or powerful. Such an emphasis can be put on “doing the right thing” that we begin to run the risk of never know exactly what we should be doing. Following the script becomes the most important thing, and the specter of self-condemnation is ever at the door. It’s not so much a falling from grace as it is simply giving it up in favor of an impossible standard.

I lived a lot of years around people who abused the concept of grace. They basically turned it into a license to treat people however they wanted and then turn the other person’s hurt back on them by accusing them on not extending grace to them. It was messed up, but it made me rigid as far as the rules were concerned. I sure didn’t want to be like that, so I adopted the hard line. The only problem was, I still sinned, and since I was so bent on keeping the rules, I beat the crap out of myself every time I broke one. That’s what the serious Christians did, I told myself.

I have literally lost track of how many times I have cleaned out all my “secular” music, only to replenish all of it within a couple of years. I purged all my movies I deemed unacceptable, but, you know, Marvel’s The Avengers was pretty cool, so… I stopped cursing … well, except for when I got really mad or when I wanted to make a point or when I was alone in the car or…

And I felt very, very guilty about all this for a very, very long time. No, actually, I felt ashamed of all this. Guilt would describe how I felt about committing these heinous infractions; shame would describe the loathing of who I was as a person who couldn’t seem to get it right.

I still believe grace can be carried too far, but I’m also beginning to believe the leash may be a little longer than I thought it was. I let a word go ron burgundyhere and there, sometimes accidentally, sometimes not. I have the dialog from a large chunk of the movie Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy memorized. “The Humpty Dance,” by Digital Underground, is on my iPod. Do all these items added up sound like a formula for biblical wisdom? Possibly not. Do I get a certain level of enjoyment out of them, though? Um, yeah. Yeah, I do. More joy than I got out of attempting to live like a pharisee, that’s for sure.

The question becomes, then, where to draw the line? Is this all a sign that I’m loosening up and living a little or am I gradually sliding toward oblivion? I’d like to think it’s the former more than the latter. One of the effects of depression is how it can paralyze your decision-making abilities, and two stone tablets carved full of rules on your shoulders doesn’t help this any. As someone recently said to me, whatever decision you make is yours. Whether it’s good or bad, you have to live with the consequences. But, in the end, it’s yours.

I am not a thrill-seeker. I’m not looking for danger. I’m generally a nice guy. I want to be a good Christian and a good parent and a good husband. I would like to do all that while I’m alive, though, and not some hollow shell that’s forgotten how to experience the joy of life. It’s a process I’m still walking out, trying to determine the line between the sacred and the profane. It’s probably a line more people are walking than would care to admit.

The Righteousness Of Christ

0916141037In case you’re not familiar with it, this is the Personality Assessment Inventory, a 300-plus item survey designed to evaluate a person’s mental condition. Actually, it’s a little more clinical and technical than that, but the official definition of the P.A.I. contains enough psycho-babble to actually drive a sane person crazy, so I’ll stick to layman’s terms here. I’ve filled it out a couple of times, and I’ve been struck both times by the simultaneous depth and ridiculousness of some of the statements it contains.

The way the P.A.I. works is, a person is given a list of statements and then asked to rate them as “false,” “somewhat true,” “mainly true,” and “very true.” I’ve always thought the P.A.I. contained an excessive amount of questions concerning alcohol and drug use, but since I’ve never had a problem with either of these I may not notice their importance. There is one statement in particular, however, that always grabs my attention: I deserve severe punishment for my sins.

As a Christian, I feel as if I’m supposed to mark “false” based on the following reasoning: Christ died for my sins, and the punishment for them has been removed. I’m pretty sure, however, that both times I’ve filled out the P.A.I. I’ve filled in the circle for “very true.” To be honest, I’ve always felt like I was going to be one of those people who only got into heaven because I asked Jesus into my heart and God would therefore be required to begrudgingly take me in. When I saw the word “righteous” in the Bible, I knew it wasn’t talking about me; I was sinful, and I knew it.

Thinking this way can obviously suck a lot of the joy out of the Christian life. I constantly compared myself to others, judging my life based on what their lives appeared to be like. I didn’t know if they struggled with anything or not. They looked good on the outside, said all the right things, and knew all the right scriptures. I’ve always felt like an impostor, someone who would be kicked out and disowned if anyone ever caught wind of what was actually in my heart. Obtaining righteousness became a goal to me, and I could never quite reach it.

And then, for some reason, like a bolt from the blue, I realized something yesterday: I can’t reach it.

“For our sake, He made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” I could never do anything to attain the righteousness necessary to stand before God. His mercy and grace is a gift, and I could never earn anything from Him. If Jesus’ righteousness is standing in for me, then, and I could never do anything obtain righteousness on my own, wouldn’t it stand to reason once I had it that I couldn’t do anything to lose it either? Is it possible that because of Jesus I am actually made righteous by him, no matter what I do?

I’m not advocating sin here, nor am I trying to give myself a free pass for any transgressions I may committed. What I am trying to grasp is that I … am … righteous. Those righteous people the Bible talks about? I’m one of them. “There is now no condemnation…” Even typing this, I’m fighting it. “I deserve severe punishment for my sins.” Thing is, I actually do deserve it. Someone stepped in, though, and took it for me, and when God looks at me He sees the sacrifice, not the sin.

I’m only sharing this because during the countless sermons and church services I’ve sat through and the hours of programs and CD’s I’ve listened to, I never thought of righteousness this way before. I’m sure many of you are shaking your heads and saying, “Duh, I’ve known all this for a long time.” Well, I haven’t. I’m still not sure I understand it fully. I need to get this in my soul, though. One of the hallmarks of depression is guilt, and not understanding righteousness produces heaps of it. I’ll say it again: I need to get this.

am righteous.

am righteous.

am righteous.

Tuneful Tuesdays … On A Wednesday

Here’s something all you bloggers out there might want to keep in mind: If you’re going to dedicate one day a week to a specific type of post, you might want to remember to actually write that post on the day you specified.

Oops.

Anyway, yesterday was supposed to be “Tuneful Tuesdays,” where I share a song that’s either helped me deal with my depression or does a good job of expressing how a depressed person might feel. Obviously, I got so caught up in what else was on my mind that I forgot to mention any song altogether. So please accept my apologies as I present “Tuneful Tuesdays” … on a Wednesday.

For my money, not many (if any) finer hard rock/heavy metal albums have produced in the last 20 years than Dogman by King’s X.dogman

Unfortunately, most Christians today only know of King’s X for how far its members have distanced themselves proclaiming any kind of faith. Bassist and lead singer Doug (or dUg or however it’s spelled now) Pinnick is now a professed homosexual and agnostic. Guitarist and sometimes lead singer Ty Tabor seems to still be a Christian, but called the Christian music industry “vile” a few years ago. And drummer Jerry Gaskill was quoted in 2012 as saying, “There was a time when Christianity was a part of my journey. There was also a time when drugs were part of it.”

As a result, it’s not exactly cool for Christians to say they like King’s X anymore. While I certainly haven’t been a fan of every album the group has produced, though, they have churned out some excellent music over the years. Their past two albums – Ogre Tones and XV – were excellent. It could be argued that the songs on Dogman are not the group’s best collection as a whole, but I think as an album it makes the most definitive statement of how explosive King’s X can be.

Mood-wise, the album might as well be called An Ode To Depression. From the title-cut opening track on down the line to the Jimi Hendrix cover “Manic Depression,” happy, go-lucky sentiments are scarcely to be found. These brooding emotions come to a head in the heavy, atmospheric “Cigarettes,” in which Pinnick sings, “Sometimes I think the pain blows my mind.” The bass is mixed super-deep, the guitars are a wall of sound, and the drums are crashing. This album actually sounds like depression.

As someone who is recovering from depression, then, why would I still want to listen to it? Well, sometimes you just want to know that someone understands. Has the pain ever blown my mind? You bet it has. And even though I think Pinnick is a fallen and bruised soul right now, he made a statement in the June 2013 issue of Bass Player magazine that I thought was particularly insightful:

“I come from a dark place, and there are people that come from that place that understand that loneliness, feeling like you’re worthless and nobody cares. But you’re not angry and you don’t want to beat everybody up and scream. That’s the kind of stuff I write.”

This is where I could say something cheesy, like “I pray for dUg Pinnick…”, but I can’t honestly say I remember him in my prayers every day. Whenever I hear a King’s X song (and the likelihood is high, considering how many I have on my iPod), though, I do think of that place he’s describing and where it’s taken him in life. And I pray for him, not because I pity him or look down on him, but because he’s on a journey just like the rest of us, a journey where (to quote an older King’s X classic) “we are finding who we are…”