I’ve heard a few grumblings and some speculation about a song called “Failed Christian” on the new Over the Rhine collection Live from Nowhere, Vol. 2.

Seems to me that whenever an artist sings about struggle or doubt, many Christian listeners get nervous that this means the singer has “lost his/her salvation” or something like that.

Frankly, I admire songwriters who are willing to share their moments of stumble, of trouble, of question, of failure as well as their moments of transcendence and gratitude and glory and faith. Many of the songs that mean the most to me are songs about those struggles. Sam Phillips’s “Answers Don’t Come Easy” and “Reflecting Light,” U2’s “Wake Up Dead Man” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” R.E.M.’s “New Test Leper.”

But let me point out that Over the Rhine have posted a few comments on their website about the song’s inclusion:

Jack Henderson first played this song for us. It appears on the Nick Lowe record called, Dig My Mood. That’s a great record by the way, well worth owning. Failed Christian was written by someone we know nothing about: Henry McCullough. Our prayer has always been that our music will encourage real conversation, and if this song doesn’t get some conversation going, I’m not sure what will.

We’ve met a lot of people that would identify to some degree with the character in this song, and it seems they very seldom have a platform to express the way they feel. We hope our music gives people a voice who may otherwise feel like no one’s listening.

We were leaning toward not including the song on the record, and then on Ash Wednesday, Juicy stopped by the farm and we played it, and we all immediately realized that we had to include it. Juicy said, Think of all the times in the Psalms when David felt like a failure. It’s confession. It’s real.

Karin likes to refer to the drums at the end as, The Cleansing Loop.

Do you have a favorite “doubter’s song”?

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