I have come to the conclusion that the story of what happened in Nashville may be better left untold. The task of circumlocuting the truth in order to make the guilty appear innocent is not one I’m willing to tackle. Especially on the web.

The Cliff’s Notes version is that I showed up in Nashville, TN in 1993 and learned that the Christian music industry was not at all what it appeared to be from my cassette player back home in Granite City. At the age of 34 I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise. At the age of 20 however, I was thrown into a complete tailspin.

So at this wise old age of 20 I was left to decide on what version of truth I would chose to believe, because at that time I started to think that there was actually more than one. The questions I would ask myself started off something like “Is it really a sin to have a beer”? I was a bit of a late bloomer to this brand of questioning I know. Most guys my age had breezed past that one and were racing toward “Should I really be embarrassed that I just barfed a keg of beer in the back of dad’s BMW after eating seven hits of blotter?” With that said, my questions jumped from the “Is it a sin” type straight to the “Is there a God” type. It’s not really that big of a leap. When you start to believe that less and less things are sinful you start to have less and less of a need for God…or a god as it were. If there’s no such thing as wrong then why do I need an ultimate and eternal right?

I followed that line of questioning for the next thirteen years. It led me straight to the doorstep of a marriage that was collapsing under the weight of my addictions, fears, and insecurities.

Over those thirteen years I asked all the same questions that the skeptics and atheists always ask. They’re the theistic version of the “If a tree falls in the forest…” question. We all know them. If there is a God then how do you explain the Holocaust? If God is really a God of love then why is there a hell? If  there is a God then why did my Uncle die of cancer? I knew them well. I asked them often.

I wanted scientific proof of God. Then I’d believe.

But there is a problem with that demand. I don’t believe God wants us to be able to prove his existence scientifically. It would be like me telling Angel that I’ll believe she loves me when she can prove it with Calculus. I’ll believe she enjoys my company when she can chart it out for me. If we could definitively prove that God exists then why do we need faith? The Bible says in Hebrews 11:6

 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

God wants us to chose to believe, not to prove that he’s there. I cannot prove to you that God exists but if you look at my life now and compare it to who and where I was this time last year, I think people would have a hard time denying that whatever Johnson’s on actually is real.