Normally, I try to leave the subject of religion and politics out of this website, simply because I want this to be an outlet for people to check out their favorite artists and also to check out some reviews, and interviews of up and coming bands/artists as well as major recording artists/bands. In this, I came across a video of Underoath talking about their faith or struggles in faith for seemingly the thousandth time, where the media constantly asks them about where they stand in terms of their Christianity and things involving Christianity, and I’m here to tell my readers to LEAVE UNDEROATH ALONE when it comes to their Christianity. Until you have walked a mile in someone else’s shoes that have struggled, please refrain from speaking out about it. All this wasn’t because of Spencer’s struggles(I’m sure the entire band had their own struggles because they’re human), but because he said the f-word in a song. In other words, these magazines talked crap about Spencer and didn’t offer him help when he needed it, yet when he said a four-letter word, people jumped down his throat. Because priorities. It’s more important to call someone out for cursing than it is to help someone who is going through struggles with addiction. Makes perfect sense. I am also going to do this in video format, but I wanted to jot down some notes because I wanted to do more in video and less in writing.
*Disclaimer*: I still consider myself a Christian simply because what Christ did for you and me and I love Him for it. I am quiet about my faith because I try to show it in my character and my actions. I fall so short that I don’t feel worthy to preach or tell others about it. I have friends who believe and friends who don’t believe, I love them just the same. My family believes and are strong in it and I thank them for that. However, the idea of church and I have went our separate ways awhile ago. I might try a more traditional church, I might try to find a few friends for a Bible study, all I know is, the modern church and myself have gone through this divorce awhile back because modern Christianity is watered down. Enough of my digression, now onto the video.
In this video, Underoath frontman Spencer Chamberlain says the poignant words “If I was still a Christian, I’d probably be dead”. Immediately, those words captured my attention because Christianity is supposed to spring forth new life in a person to those who believe. It is well-documented that Spencer struggled with drugs and alcohol during the 2000’s run of Underoath, but who was there to help him? Aren’t we taught as Christians to help those that are struggling and to not only pray for them but to be the hands and feet for those in need? I mean Jesus Himself said “feed the hungry and clothe the naked”. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do? It seemed like Spencer was hung out to dry when he was going through his struggles. Those words that Spencer spoke in the beginning of the video rang in my head like a never ending echo.
Then as the video goes on, you see a contrast between drummer Aaron Gillespie, who still believes, and Spencer, who has strayed from the faith. Yet it shows that they have a close friendship between the two! Aaron talks about how Jesus was a Jewish man, he was non-white, he was thrown out of his town, and he was murdered, “pretty fringe stuff”, he quoted. Spencer then talks about how the church and modern Christianity sells this “perfect picture”, where it’s a pastor in a nice suit with his perfect wife and perfect kids, but we know behind the scenes that it’s “fucked up”. To dissect their first point, Aaron is absolutely correct about how Jesus should be portrayed. I get so tired of pictures of Jesus looking like this Scandinavian person with perfect hair and glowing white when I believe that Jesus had a Middle Eastern complexion, and Jesus went through a lot of stuff to save us sinners. Jesus looked human with scars and holes in his hands to represent the nails. Spencer also perfectly describes the modern church and now I’m going to illustrate and echo his sentiments.
As a Christian, I am FED UP with the modern church. I would go to church to worship and to learn about God, not to be judged by others cause I went there alone, or to be entertained. Church was supposed to be my fresh start and help me become a better person through God. It was supposed to be an outlet for me to try to help others. Then I found, I got more out of “church” by paying it forward, helping an online friend with her battle through breast cancer, and doing other things in my volunteering where I can actually see the difference in the people and planet I was helping. Nowadays, I feel like people go to hang out, have some coffee and doughnuts, and that people go through the motions like they were forced to be there. The programs are cheesy, the songs are cheesy and have no substance to them, and all pastors do is try to make their congregation laugh nowadays, and all they especially care about is numbers to grow their business instead of actually helping people like God would want us to do. I think Spencer would agree with me in those sentiments based upon his first point.
Their second point was that modern religion was human made, and that “you’re not allowed to question”. That was another thing that I got so tired of. In my profession, I teach others to question everything that they read and everything that they hear from the news media. Based on how I’m trained because I WANT TO LEARN, other Christians would say “well, read your Bible” or “pray about it” or “I’ll pray for you”. I am asking CHURCH ELDERS these questions because I assumed that a CHURCH ELDER or a PASTOR would help me with these questions. I felt that it was so dismissive. I would rather have them say “I don’t have time for you” or “can we discuss this another time”, I would have certainly obliged because at least they were being straightforward with me. I am the type of person that would rather have you say that “you don’t have time for me” instead of just lead me on. Just be real with me, I value honesty more than anything.
When Aaron says, “when you believe in the rules and not the reason, you got an issue”. Bingo! The rules are there because of the reason. He is not necessarily saying “you can do whatever you want”, but he’s saying if you go to church because you need rules to follow and not to worship, then you’re completely missing the boat on what this is all about.
In the third point, Spencer says “the Christian community is what ruins Christianity for me”. Spencer, if you’re reading this, on behalf of other Christians, I apologize from the bottom of my heart. You went through a lot of hurt and struggles when you were a Christian, and people that didn’t believe tried to help you, and yet people that believed in Christ turned you away. It is backwards, but at the end of the day, I’m glad you got the help that you needed.
In my years as a churchgoer, I empathize with Spencer because there were times that I felt judged. I would have my faith questioned because I thought I could share in a struggle that I was going through. I was taught to believe that God is love. I was taught to love thy neighbor as thyself. Yet, people may say those words, but do they actually practice what they mean? I don’t think so. I have seen in the church building, people made fun of, people judged because they have tattoos and piercings, and gay and lesbian couples condemned in the church building all because they came to check out a church. A church that I most recently attended on a regular basis felt like high school. Everyone was in these little cliques just like you would see at a high school gathering, and this church has literally hurt people that I know and love because they would side with one person over another in a dispute when they are supposed to mediate and stay neutral. Just seems very unloving and not very accepting to me.
Modern Christianity, you need to step your game up. Quit this megachurch mentality where you care more about numbers than the people themselves in the church building. There are people that are starving for truth and starving for a place in this world, and yet all you care about is the numbers while the people are still lost. Quit being all hokey and cheesy, and just be real. We want something that is real, not something that looks good on the outside but is hollow on the inside. The way you have conducted yourselves as “The Body of Christ” has literally hurt people like Aaron and Spencer of Underoath, and everyday people like myself and others. Instead of loving, you hate. Instead of having an open heart, you judge. Instead of praying, you condemn. Instead of providing healing, you merely pour salt into the wound that has already been opened by your hurtful words and actions. Why is it so hard for the church to love because God loved us first or to love thy neighbor as thyself?
These are just my thoughts in sharing with Underoath my struggles in the Christian faith. I am not giving up on my faith(and I never will), but I am disheartened and disillusioned by the way the people in the church have treated one another in the faith. I really don’t believe that it’s supposed to be this way. Since it is this way, you can feel the anguish and the discontentment that Spencer and Aaron have towards modern Christianity in the video depicted above. I think many people can share in what Spencer and Aaron are feeling. Again Spencer, on behalf of those that believe, I am truly sorry. If I knew you personally, I would’ve invited you over for coffee and a meal, and I would’ve let you air out whatever you needed to and I would’ve made sure that you got the help that you needed. Same goes with you Aaron, as you had your own struggles as well. We need to start throwing life rafts for those that are drowning instead of throwing anchors.
Now to Underoath news. Underoath will be touring this winter with Dance Gavin Dance and The Plot In You on the “Erase Me” tour. Check out the tour dates below.
Friday, November 2nd- War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee
Saturday, November 3rd- Minglewood Hall in Memphis, Tennessee
Sunday, November 4th- Joy Theater in New Orleans, Louisiana
Tuesday, November 6th- Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin, Texas
Thursday, November 8th- Marquee Theatre in Tempe, Arizona
Friday, November 9th- Shrine Auditorium & Expo Center in Los Angeles, California
Saturday, November 10th- Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas, Nevada
Monday, November 12th- The Union Event Center in Salt Lake City, Utah
Tuesday, November 13th- Revolution Center in Boise, Idaho
Thursday, November 15th- McMenamin’s Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon
Friday, November 16th- Knitting Factory in Spokane, Washington
Saturday, November 17th- Macewan Hall in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Monday, November 19th- The Vogue Theatre in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Tuesday, November 20th- Showbox Sodo in Seattle, Washington
Friday, November 23rd- Ogden Theatre in Denver, Colorado
Saturday, November 24th- Ogden Theatre in Denver, Colorado
Monday, November 26th- Sokol Auditorium in Omaha, Nebraska
Tuesday, November 27th- Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland in Kansas City, Missouri
Wednesday, November 28th- Skyway Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Saturday, December 1st- Agora Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio
Sunday, December 2nd- Royal Oak Music Theatre in Royal Oak, Michigan
Wednesday, December 5th- Playstation Theater in New York, New York
Friday, December 7th- The Paramount in Huntington, New York
Saturday, December 8th- The Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts
Sunday, December 9th- Electric Factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Tuesday, December 11th- The NorVa in Norfolk, Virginia
Wednesday, December 12th- The Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina
Thursday, December 13th- Tabernacle in Atlanta, Georgia
Friday, December 14th- USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida
For tickets, VIP and further information on any of the shows listed above, click here.
Fans can find Underoath at the following locations: