Here at this late ate in the year I discovered a new album that is definitely in contention for my favorite album of the year. Stephanie Lambring’s Autonomy is an amazing Americana/indie country album that tackles a lot of really deep issues including faith, the weight of expectations both familial and societal, and suicide through wonderfully crafted story songs. Basically it’s like my catnip.
The whole album is fantastic and you should really listen to the whole thing, but I’m going to focus on the song “Joy of Jesus”, which is the song that drew me to the album in the first place. Ann K. Powers of NPR Music named it her favorite song of October which is how I found out about it.
It, like other songs on the album, “Save Me Tonight” and “Someone Else’s Dress”, addresses wrestling with faith and looking at the moralistic judgement that masquerades as Evangelical Christianity today and wondering if that is the joy of Jesus and if so who would want that?
Based on the lyrics of some of the songs I don’t think she wound up in the same place I did, but I very much connected with her questioning as I too, especially in the last five years, have wrestled with my own faith and being a Christian when the face of Christianity I see in the world is not what I see in the Bible. Thanks to a church family that I do think is focusing on the important things and trying to be the love and grace of Jesus and whose mission is reconciliation in addition to writers like the sadly taken from us way too soon Rachel Held Evans and of course my own personal experience of God I’ve been able to salvage a faith that has certainly at times been precarious at best.
There is so much new music coming out all the time its rare that I listen to an album more than once, but this will be one of the few albums that I’ll be listening to over and over again.