Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Void and Ben Gibbard

For anyone who reads this blog; please subscribe to Paste Magazine right now.

With that said, I feel fortunate to have read an article this week in Paste by Death Cab for Cutie front man, Ben Gibbard. I was initially drawn to the article because he actually took the time to write the article; himself. I'll be honest I get tired of interviews. They always seem contrived, like the person responding hasn't had time to think about the questions. But Gibbard is both eloquent and well thought out in his writing.

Gibbard's article was fascinating on several levels.
1. His discouragement after a lack of inspiration while immersed in his hero, Jack Kerouac's experiece at Big Sur.
2. His thoughts on their new album.
3. His musings about having everything he ever wanted and still remaining dissatisfied.

He writes, "I find it very hard to accept the wonderful things in my life. My life really is great: I do exactly what I want to do for a living, I have a wonderful person to share life with, I have a great family, I have great friends. But somehow there's a void. I'm the last person who should be complaining or wondering why I'm perpetually unhappy. I would like to think that my lack of contentment is part of what makes my work the way it is, and for the better."

My first thought after reading his article was simple, "Ben, you need Jesus." But then I began thinking of all the Christians in the world who would say the same thing but really have similar lives. How often do we find ourselves claiming that we've found the magic bullet when in reality we're just as miserable, frustrated, and disillusioned as anybody else? I mean goodness I was talking to a coach the other day who made the statement that he hated when his private school played the Christian private school because the parents were all so angry and frustrated. Is our void filled? Have we got everything we ever wanted but still wonder why we're perpetually unhappy? It is as if we need to be saved every day. As if there's a void that is filled on some level when we accept Christ, but really we have to fill that void every day with Christ. Its a fascinating tension. I don't understand it fully. I wonder if we've yet to embrace the full ramifications of the Resurrection? I wonder if these questions have eschatological implications worked out only in the New Creation? If we've really embraced our identity as a people of hope? I wonder if the Jesus people so often want to offer to people like Ben is really Jesus at all, or rather some abstract filler that doesn't have anything to say about mine or Ben's life?

With all that said, I know that in my experience, Jesus is still the only thing that has ever filled or fills the void in my life? But it isn't abstract Jesus. Its the teachings, the life, the death, the resurrection, the person of Jesus who saved my life. Its Jesus Christ, the Incarnation of God who fills that void. And in all honesty I don't always allow him to. But, I know him to be loving and I know him to be the truest thing I've found. I guess what I really want to say is that I don't want to say things that are contrived or cliche. I want Jesus for Ben Gibbard, but not cause I'm supposed to, but because Jesus has means the world to me.