Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chrysalis: My Reversion to Catholicism

Time to face up, clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out...
--Sanctus Real, "Whatever You're Doing"

Now that I have spent the last 18 months as a Catholic, I think that it's time to tell the story of how I got here--or, rather, back here. Unfortunately, it's not a common occurrence to find someone who is both almost nineteen years old, and trying to "believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God." When people find out that I do consider myself a serious Catholic, the reaction is a mix of incredulity and curiosity, with a question that is always the same: "Why?"

By writing this out, I hope to answer, in at least some ways, that "why". This whole blog is really an outlet for me to share my Faith--some of you have been with me since before I was even a Christian. I think all of you deserve to know where I happily stand today.

I'm going to pick up where Juxtaposition leaves off: in the winter of 2006, when I was freshly Christian. Please read that first if you've not already! :)


Waking up later on New Year's Day of 2006 was, in a word, surreal. For a moment, everything was normal, until the events from earlier that morning came back to me. The peace was gone, though, now replaced with confusion, and to a lesser degree, panic. The decision to hand over the reins as it were was mine, but what came next? My ExWitch elders stressed the importance of my finding a local, Bible-believing church to plant my roots, but I was overcome most of all with fear. My family knew next to nothing about my struggles in faith, forced to be victims of my emotional rollercoaster without explanation. What would they think if knew that their secular, broody, almost anti-Catholic daughter had suddenly, out of the blue, started to care? The potential answers were enough to keep me very far in "the broom closet" for a long while.

I had left ExWitch for some time prior to getting saved. To this day I have nothing but love and respect for them, but at that time I was feeling pressured to make the decision for Christ before I was ready. Cutting ties for a season ensured that the decision was truly mine, and that I could be at peace with it. It was after I got saved that I realized that I really did need other people to help me get by, particularly because I wasn't
involved in a church community. Catholicism, as far as I was concerned, was a non-option. They "didn't preach the Gospel," and were much too conservative for my liberal views, both politically and theologically. I didn't have any Christian friends, though, so for the time being, I was on my own.

It was in April, just before Easter of that same year when I was browsing ExWitch after returning. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, I stumbled upon an inappropriate link posted by a troll just as my father was coming in to say goodnight. It was an accident, but it was too late to explain: all my parents knew was that I had found the link on some crazy religious website. I was forbidden to go back from that point on, despite the admin trying their best to explain the mishap. With the exception of two Christians and a Wiccan priest friend, I now had no one to help me answer the burning questions of my newfound faith. To further complicate things, I was still struggling seriously with temptations toward the occult. Sabbats were particularly difficult as memories of the rush of power and connection to Nature slammed on me.

A few days after the incident, both of my parents were still very angry about what had happened earlier that weekend. The tension was getting the best of me, in a show of brash courage I marched out into the living room, sat down, and told my mom about my past and present "adventures" in religion. It didn't go over as well as I had hoped (to prevent slander, I won't say more than that). Generally, she was extremely uncomfortable with me being involved in online theological forums, and asked if I would wait until I turned 18 to continue my seeking. Naturally, I agreed, even if that date was a year and a half away.

Spring and summer of that year were about as miserable for me as it could have gotten. My theology was heretical in almost every way: I denied the existence of hell and Satan, as well as the human and divine natures of Christ. Nevertheless, I prayed hard every night to know God and His Son, and for a way to be made for me. Most of all, I prayed for people to come into my life that understood.

That prayer was answered for me in late July, when I somehow stumbled upon a handle I recognized from ExWitch on a blogging website. We were more or less complete strangers at that point, our only common bond being the forum we both called home and eventually left. We ended up talking almost every day, until one night without warning, he confided in me that he had let his lust for the occult get the better of him after leaving EW, and it had now come back to bite him; he had caught the eye of a deity most would call a demoness, and she wouldn't leave him alone.

We were casual friends, nothing more, but his situation stirred up intense empathy from me, having been there myself only months before. I offered to help in any way I could, and in a moment of complete stupidity and protectiveness, I knew I had to do magick, to fight fire with fire and her power with a kind I knew could be controlled.

In that instant, I would have willingly thrown my Christian faith away in favor of my own power. Part of me still wanted, deep down, to atone for the botched rituals from when I was still practicing. If I could only do one right...and to help a friend was righteous! By the grace of God, my troubled friend put his foot down, refusing to allow me to go through with it despite his fear. If I was to be a Christian, he told me, I was going to have to act like one. Magick was no longer my answer. For the next three days, we would turn to prayer. My faith in God's providence when faced with something that belligerent was incredibly weak, yet in those three days I prayed harder than I had ever prayed before. He had terrible nightmares, and in some ways I was afraid that by fighting beside him, I, too, would open myself up to attack.

But by the end of those three days in Scripture and prayer together, tired as we were, the Spirit of God was stronger than either of us had ever seen. Verses kept popping up everywhere--on the radio, on the web, and in our Bibles--about spiritual defense and the God's ability to conquer; we both got rid of anything leftover with occult attachments and, by the end of that week, the worst had passed. He had been delivered, and God made Himself known to me in a way I could no longer deny.

After that, I saw a huge lift in my spiritual life, and immediately started pulling away from paganism completely while becoming more orthodox, though far from perfect, in my views. Something had changed between my friend and I through the experience, as well. We saw each other at our weakest, and going through that week had bonded us in a way that was hard to explain. In November, after only three months of talking, we stopped ignoring what both of us had been afraid to admit, and I've been incredibly blessed to call him my other half for the past two years now.

Belief over misery, I've seen the enemy
And i won't go back, back to how it was

I got my heart set on what happens next

I got my eyes wide, it's not over yet...

--Switchfoot, "This is Home"

That autumn, I started my senior year of high school determined to get myself off of my island and connect with other Christians in the "real world". The only outlet for this I knew of was at Alpha Omega, a Protestant Christian fellowship held after school. At club night early in the year, I spoke to their director, a bright-eyed, gentle man that scared me to death. Truthfully, he was the first Christian I had spoken to face-to-face, and I had an incredible fear that my paganism marked me with a scarlet letter. I feared rejection, misunderstanding, and sharing the intimacy of my faith with others. Swallowing all of that, when my schedule finally allowed me, a supportive friend and I went to AO. Being hugged by strange people, all who loved Jesus sooooo much, was enough to make my normally extroverted self withdraw into a standoffish shell. The worship was dry, and empty of the Spirit I had felt so strongly in my own prayer. It would be my first and last time there.

On top of that, after attending Protestant christenings for my baby cousins, I was feeling unsatisfied. Was this all that Christianity could offer me, the Bible and some pretty songs? Bread and grape juice? There had to be more to worship than songs, and more to our faith than parables and commands. Though I carried on, I was extremely frustrated; something was missing.

Over the winter near Christmastime, I was listening to Christmas music on the radio when I heard a song that would stir up a spark in my head. It was "Breath of Heaven" by Sara Groves, a song written from Mary's viewpoint, encompassing all the emotions she must have felt in carrying the child Jesus. It stuck with me for the rest of that day: if the Holy Spirit could move as He did for me, and for my boyfriend, then surely He could help a virgin girl to have a child. And if that Child was really fathered by the very Spirit of God...He wouldn't be a normal Child, but something else: God Himself.

Suddenly, it all made perfect sense. Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, the Son of God! It was this first display of fides et ratio--faith and reason--that would lead me home someday. For that moment, I was thrilled; I would be a lot more like "regular" Christians now. That Christmas season was special to me after that day. Suddenly, I understood the Trinity as simple as my own address. Not only that, but I had come to this knowledge by first putting my trust in the Blessed Virgin Mary. That should have sent up the Vatican flag right away, but it wouldn't, not for a while yet.

In the mean time, I would slowly begin to make uneasy connections with some Christians around me. Still, it never felt right, and I wasn't sure if it ever would; every sinner has a past, but mine was--is, even--just too much for some people. At first, that would devastate me. In time, though, I would learn that those who accepted me would always stick by me, especially my friends who were there from the beginning.

I heard from God again twice that winter, and one of those experiences I will share here. Two days into Lent of 2007, I had made a firm resolution to rid myself of my attachments to some nasty sins that kept me from moving forward. In prayer, I asked for God's help to endure what I knew would be a long season, and clear as day, I internally heard "Come to the cross with Me."

Okay, I don't know about you, but I don't go around saying things like that. This experience was similar to the one I had had about six weeks earlier: brief, but said so much, and so unlike what I would think or say, yet perfect. It was just the consolation I needed--I told myself I would follow Him wherever He led me.

Just hold my hand a while and walk with Me, My dearest child.
I know all the things that you need,
'Cause I have been there too, and I am here for you.
And I want you, and I need you so desperately...
--Cheer Up Charlie, "More"

Lent was difficult, to be sure, but it was also an intense process of growing. It was in April, right before Holy Week that I was ready to buckle down and welcome Easter in. I had been feeling the pull again from Christians on both sides, and even Pagans, to think and believe a certain way. I prayed, "Lord, help me to filter out all this noise. What do You want from me? Let me hear Your voice."

The very next day, I lost my internet connection, and then my desktop stopped working altogether. The tech was very surprised when he took my computer apart. It would have literally exploded if we had left it any longer, he said. Interestingly, I now was cut off from every single one of those who had been influencing me either way. That last week was mine.

I spent it in Scripture and prayer, sitting outside and reading. One night on a whim, having nothing to do but watch TV, I was channel surfing and landed on EWTN. I hadn't watched it since I was seven. Mother Angelica was on, and that night, she was talking about Holy Week. I don't remember a lot of the 15-minute portion I watched, but she had said, "If you haven't been to Mass in a while, why not start? There's no better time than right now. He loved you enough to die for you. He misses you. If you've not been to Confession in a long time...I know it's hard, and often scary. But please. Go. Give it another try. Come home."

Even though it was a clear emotional appeal, the woman broke me. Though I refused to admit it, I had been thinking about Catholicism for a long time. In November of the previous year, I had written in my journal, "I need to re-evaluate my life and where I'm at, because I'm not happy. The faith I'm seeing is empty. I need something deeper than that--liturgy, tradition, history. I'm just trying to ignore that place for me may very well be Catholicism."

Here I was, nearly six months later, crying at knowing that yes, I did miss the Church of my childhood; yes, it had been a long time, and I just wanted to go home.

See, I am doing something new!
Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
In the desert I make a way, in the wasteland, rivers.
--Isaiah 43:19 (NAB)

It took about three weeks for me to persuade my parents that going back to Mass was what I really wanted--understand, I had gone from anti-Catholic to wanting nothing more than to be one again in a relatively short period of time. They relented, though, and on April 21st of 2007, I was absolved of paganism and apostasy and received back into the Church.

The priest who would hear my first Confession upon my return had the honor of hearing the first true Confession I had ever made--for ten years, I would lie in the confessional and brag about it later. More than once I was nearly thrown out of my CCD class for disruptive behavior. And yet, I sat face-to-face with one of the toughest, yet most encouraging priests I ever dared to speak to. Both he and my pastor, who knew me when I was younger, have been wonderful to me. Since my return, I've had the chance to learn my Faith as I hadn't before, particularly its solid foundations in Scripture, and the incredible graces found in the Sacraments. I've also had the pleasure of watching my other half make his own journey; Lord willing, he'll be confirmed in 2009.

It's funny how things work out. You would have never convinced me four years ago as I did my first ritual that I would be Catholic and loving it now. God, it seems, has a wild sense of humor, and a true love of irony. Above all, He has been incredibly patient and faithful with me, and for that, I am unworthy, but beyond grateful.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Juxtaposition: My Testimony

At almost nineteen now, my faith journey has been particularly winding, only to eventually lead me back to where I began. I think it's time to tell the whole story, so those of you that haven't known me for long will know where I came from. This first part, Juxtaposition, is the "Protestant" portion of the journey, from my birth to acceptance of Christ at sixteen. I wrote it two years ago, and will eventually follow up with an as yet unwritten second half. I'll be adding extra details to this part, as well. I apologize, too, for the length!

“Hoo boy."

This being the singular thought floating through my mind as I sit down to an empty window and try, once again, to tell my story. This being attempt number four. I've always believed a testimony to be an account of rock-solid faith, of conviction, whathaveyou, so I've often given up. I've told myself that 'I’m not in the right place, this isn't the right time, I'm not sure', along with a number of other things. Be aware, my friends, that I am far from being a person of rock-solid, stable faith. Nevertheless, I have a story. By telling it here, I hope that all of us can learn something worthwhile...I am writer by trade, and longwinded by nature. This is your only warning.

Juxtaposition- v., the act of placing two items side by side for comparison


I was born and raised in the Catholic Church, as all the generations before mine had been. My mother went to Catholic school for 1st-8th grade, and my dad was one of the troublesome boys in his neighborhood that hid from the nuns who went door-to-door collecting the kids for Sunday School/catechism classes (CCD). As was customary, we each did our eight year tour of duty and received the first three Sacraments, and then we were left alone. Most of the family lived secularly from that point forward.

The first four years or so of CCD were alright. I was faithful, prayed often, and Mom took me to Church on Saturdays, glad for the experience herself. However, by the time I was in 7th grade, I’d developed a social life and apparently had better things to do with my time than go to CCD. Imagine that! ;) I continued to go to classes (with much protest), but stopped listening or caring about what they had to say.

Why, you might ask, did I go through with it all if I didn't care? It was out of a sense of duty, I think; a tradition that was so very important to my Italian family. In Confirmation, I would not only be seen as an adult in the Church, but in my family, as well. With my godmother at my back and my family surrounding me, I was Confirmed in October of 2003, the beginning of my freshman year of high school. For an instant that day, in the midst of balsalm and an unflattering white robe, I felt God there. It would be the last time I would let Him touch me for a long time.

The transition into high school was a huge turning point in my life. I was always known for having an explosive imagination—as a child, I held a “séance”, made up ghost stories, dressed up and pretended to be a witch, you know, normal kid stuff—but really, I knew in my heart it was nothing more than fantasy. Throughout junior high I’d read about most major religions, always fascinated by other beliefs and cultures, almost envious and resentful of my "boring" Catholicism. Throughout ninth grade, I’d been reading Isobel Bird’s Circle of Three series, all “white-lite-and-teen-angst”, but the Wiccan theology practiced by the protagonists was intriguing.

The interest would stick with me, and in May of freshman year I was spending a lot of time with my cousin, who told me that she worked with chi. She introduced me to a few "fluffy" sites, and I was pretty much sucked in from there. Her boyfriend runs a group of energy workers around here, all high school and college kids. Their rules are strict to the point of being absurd, when I asked them why they were so rigid, I was told it was fear of the media finding out, or parents. In retrospect, they’re quite a bit like a cult. Shrugging off their paranoia, I continued studying alone after school got out for the summer.

I met my mentor, Malcolm, on a forum for energy workers in July of 2004. We started talking, and when he realized that I was being taught in a way that wasn’t only improper, but dangerous, he took me under his wing. I learned the science and logic behind what I was doing, and became an adept pretty quickly in qi gong, a traditional form of energy work that traces its roots to China.

By the time school rolled around again, I was pretty serious. I met Courtney online that October. She was Wiccan, and a lot like me. We clicked almost instantly, and that’s when I truly learned about Wicca and that some of the things I’d been reading were factual. It was hard back then to stay out of a fluffy crowd; it was really all I had. I barely kept my feet on the ground, but I managed. Somewhere around my 15th birthday in November, I started calling myself a Christo-Pagan. Sure, I had my issues with Christianity, but it was still a part of me I didn’t want to lose. With help from Malcolm and Courtney, I did a fair bit of hard research, and settled in as comfortably as I could with the theology I’d accepted. I didn’t get by without criticism, though; Christians and Pagans alike were confused at best and downright rude at worst when it came to me.

For a while, I was a happy little emo-closet-bunny. I hung around with the guys from my cousin’s group and the other little emo-closet-bunnies. My friend J and I were incredibly close. We’d been friends since we started high school together, and he was an occultist as well. The two of us trained together, sometimes along with my best friend, CJ.

Yule that year was special for me. Using a gift from an old boyfriend to prepare for the sabbat, I decided to "ground" all of my negativity into it, leaving myself free of energy that would cloud my thinking and work. Foolishly, I brought the amulet to class to show off, piquing CJ's curiosity, and after handling it for some time he paled, started shaking, and got goosebumps. Honestly, it freaked us all out. J helped him ground, and it made him feel better, but we still weren’t sure what to do with the amulet. We met up a few days later at a friend’s house. By this time, I was feeling extremely guilty about what had happened. I blamed my faulty magick for hurting CJ, and took it upon myself to make up for what I had done.

Together, J and I worked to “fix” the amulet, reversing and releasing all the negativity I had channeled within it. After a while, though, even J started feeling strange and shaking. By now, I was disgusted and angry with myself. Again, my work had caused my friends’ pain, and they were only trying to help. Reckless and upset, I threw myself into a ritual having no idea what I was doing.

Stupid doesn’t even begin to cover the wide spectrum of things I was that night. I’d felt magick before, but this? Laying on the floor afterward, nausea and dizziness eating at me, I realized that the path wasn’t as simple as it seemed. As cowardly and simple the whole ordeal seemed, at barely fifteen, I was terrified of the power that I had gone out of my control. Not knowing what else to do, I tucked my tail between my legs and hit the ground running.

Everything fell apart on New Year’s Day of 2005. J had started to cut himself regularly, I was giving up magick, others in my crowd were doing drugs…it was the most helpless I’ve ever felt. I’d never realized how attached I’d become to the people and things Wicca had brought into my life. Depression onset itself quickly, and I couldn’t cope. I either slept far too much or far too little, and withdrew from my former optimistic lifestyle. This spawned an ugly war between my mother and I as lashing out at her was a favorite hobby of mine. I put up a tough, rebellious façade, and cried while I knew no one was looking. Every esbat brought back memories I would have rather forgotten, and sabbats left me hungry for another taste of magick. If I could just do the right ritual, or train hard enough, I could fix the situations my friends and I had fallen into, couldn't I?

It was one night in February that I finally hit bottom. All I remember of it was sobbing and begging to be set free by Whatever chose to find me first. Dangerous, maybe, and it would be a while, but I would get there. At the end of June, I would be undergoing major surgery on both legs, leaving me with casts up to my knees, intense therapy and six weeks stuck at home. Midsummer (Litha) came and, three days before I went into the hospital, I dedicated myself to actively seeking a faith, any faith.

August brought me to ExWitch.org, a Protestant outreach for those currently and formerly involved in the occult; and November, the Pagan & Christian Moot, a forum for interfaith dialogue. Finally, I had found people that had felt the things I did, and shared the same experiences. At first, I was confrontational and standoffish as the staff members tried, often aggressively, to evangelize me. Eventually I would take a long sabbatical from both places, rejecting their help in knowing that this was a decision I needed to make of my own volition, without their influence.

In the end, I traveled full-circle: I spent New Year’s Eve of 2005 with the same people, in the same place. But rather than being depressed, I was so proud of how far I’d come, and had a renewed sense of hope for the future. At 2 AM on the first day of 2006, I gave my life to Christ.

With my salvation came a myriad of emotions: disbelief, peace, confusion, comfort among them. Since then, I’ve had to grapple with a lot of things. Many vices have been kicked aside, and a few friends whom I hold dear have regretfully pulled away from me. My parents are very slowly coming to terms with my decision, but their love hasn’t wavered, and for that I am grateful. I have wonderful friends, Christian and Pagan, local and not. All of them have made an effort to reach out to me with support, love, and prayer (of all sorts!). Through these two years of intense trial, I’ve found my place, and have realized how blessed I truly am. Thank God.

To be continued...

The Mother

To compliment the previous post, a poem from the late Gwendolyn Brooks that I read for my Modern American Literature class last week.

The Mother - Gwendolyn Brooks

Abortions will not let you forget.
You remember the children you got that you did not get,
The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair,
The singers and workers that never handled the air.
You will never neglect or beat
Them, or silence or buy with a sweet.
You will never wind up the sucking-thumb
Or scuttle off ghosts that come.
You will never leave them, controlling your luscious sigh,
Return for a snack of them, with gobbling mother-eye.

I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed
I have contracted. I have eased
My dim dears at the breasts they could never suck.
I have said, Sweets, if I sinned, if I seized
Your luck
And your lives from your unfinished reach,
If I stole your births and your names,
Your straight baby tears and your games,
Your stilted or lovely loves, your tumults, your marriages, aches,
and your deaths,
If I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths,
Believe that even in my deliberateness I was not deliberate.
Though why should I whine,
Whine that the crime was other than mine?--
Since anyhow you are dead.
Or rather, or instead,
You were never made.
But that too, I am afraid,
Is faulty: oh, what shall I say, how is the truth to be said?
You were born, you had body, you died.
It is just that you never giggled or planned or cried.

Believe me, I loved you all.
Believe me, I knew you, though faintly, and I loved, I loved you


Just a small thought--seemingly all my schedule leaves me capable of now, hehe--before I turn in.

Some of you may know that while I consider myself pro-life, I'm not incredibly vocal or zealous about it. As horrible as that may sound, it's only the truth; maybe someday, God will strengthen that conviction in me.

But tonight, something struck me that I wanted to share with you all, something that, for a few minutes, made me feel as passionate as many of my friends.

The thing about abortion is that, when we say no to life in favor of death, we are saying, "I don't want you. You're not wanted here."

Can any of us say we would react positively if someone told us that? Particularly someone who didn't know us from Adam? Imagine being approached on the street and being killed as so many are, simply for being at the wrong place at the wrong time, a victim of circumstance.

The fact is, that little clump of cells will grow to be a human being, with all that comes with it--dreams, desires, hopes, fears, talents, joys, loves.

Why do we say no to them? We have multiple chances to do the right thing. Those little ones don't stand a chance.

There's got to be another way...

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Today, as Hurricane Hanna pounded its way up the East Coast and headed to my home north of the Jersey Shore, I found myself doing a lot of praying.

Praying not only for the safety of my cousin and her young girls in North Carolina, but a little selfishly for myself, too. I have had a horrible two weeks, faithwise, and needed Confession and Mass very badly.

Amusingly, just as my mother pulled away after dropping me off at church, the rain which had previously held off now came in torrents. God, it seemed, had heard me.

After a long talk with my pastor, I ended up in the back of the church, which was still dark, aside from the lights in the choir area. Rain poured down outside, and I knelt to do my penance, glad to just be with Him again. So much has happened in these two weeks. I started my second year of college, saw my best friend off to school eight hours away, realized how much I missed the touch of a man, and saw someone very dear to me take the last few shaky steps toward Rome.

Frankly, I've been in a state of shock since last year when I started college. This transition from youth into adulthood is coming easily in some ways, but in others, it has been incredibly difficult. I've yet to find my 'land legs', and at times, I feel as if I'm just flailing around, waiting for things to make sense.

Being in the Presence of my Lord, really in His Presence, has been more of a consolation to me than anything else I've ever found. There are times where, seemingly without reason, I find myself choking back sobs before Mass, and in an hour's time, walking out restored, and truly whole.

I said to my other half once that it's like He comes and lets me empty myself out, so He can fill me again. It's a cleansing, a healing process.

And that struck me tonight. The storm raged outside, but in here, just for a while, everything else was okay. The physical world mirrored the spiritual. How lucky we are to have this in our Faith...no matter where we go, anywhere in the world, we have the Mass. No matter what's going on in our lives, we take an hour once a week at least to let Him in, and calm the hurricane in all of us.

Life is ever-changing. But God? He is ever-present. And ready to accept us if we come to Him.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Everything rides on hope now...everything rides on faith, somehow...

Jesus, I trust in You.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Introducing Tenth Avenue North

Well My love is over, it's underneath, it's inside, it's in between,
These times you're healing, and when your heart breaks,
The times that you feel like you're falling from Grace,
The times you're hurting, the times that you heal,
The times you go hungry and are tempted to steal...

In times of confusion and chaos and pain,
I'm there in your sorrow, under the weight of your shame.
I'm there through your heartache, I'm there in the storm,
My love, I will keep you by My power alone...

--"Times" by Tenth Avenue North

Last summer, I had the opportunity to introduce you to Casting Crowns, and their now-hit album, The Altar and the Door. Now that summer is over, I thought I would pass along another recommendation, one that has never been far from my most played list this summer.

Tenth Avenue North, an indie Christian band based in West Palm Beach, CA, is definitely going to be a group to watch in the coming years. Their first album, Over and Underneath, debuted in late May, and without exaggeration, took my breath away.
"I think a lot of people are kind of fed up with Christian music, because while a lot of it deals with Truth, it doesn't deal at all with the wrestling--the struggling to believe that." --Mike Donehey, lead vocals
This struggling that Donehey mentions is the centerpiece of their album, and although the musical style fits neatly into the altrock genre, the lyrics can at times reach the darkest places in the Christian life, including feelings of isolation and abandonment by God.

The thing that makes Tenth Avenue North stand out to me is the continuous reference to having not just a relationship with Him, but truly loving and adoring Him. The songs Beloved and Lovesick (bonus track when you buy the CD on iTunes) have almost a mystical quality to their lyrics, imploring deep intimacy with God.

When all is said and done, you're left with a deep sense of how much God is willing to do for us, and how far His love really stretches. Great for worship, and also fantastic for just singing along and having fun.

Do yourself a big favor and go buy their CD--it's fantastic.