A Promising Future for The Substant with Debut Album Orthodoxy

How do you recharge?

What do you do in your down time? What do you “fill” yourself with?

As Christians, we are called to renew our minds (Rom. 12:2) in order to avoid conformation to the ways of the world. If we are to be effective ambassadors of Christ, we need to ensure that our minds are centered on the mission of of God’s kingdom.

Worship music is a way to fill oneself with truth, but if I’m honest, I’m not always in the mood to listen to worship music. That’s why I appreciate bands like The Substant, who just released their debut album Orthodoxy. This new indie worship band from Utah asked me to review their new album a few weeks back, so I gladly accepted and have been listening to Orthodoxy for these past few weeks. So without further ado, here are my thoughts on this album and band.

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Hope Where There Was None: A Review

I haven’t written a blog post in quite some time, but listening to Loud Harp’s new album Hope Where There Was None has inspired me to return to the computer (just this once for now) to endorse this album.

Hope Where There Was None, which was just released today, is a demonstration of Loud Harp’s growing ability to take biblical truths and weave them into atmospheric music that is approachable, especially for those going through genuine hurt. The entire theme of the album is Immanuel, God with us. The reality of God’s presence in the midst of every crisis we face is the simple but profound truth that every song breathes out. “Weeping Mary” introduces the album with a call to all those who are weeping, sinking, and doubting. The subsequent songs point the listener to God as the one who provides strength, joy, peace, and hope when we come to the end of ourselves and turn to Him. The final song, “Sew My Heart,” ends the album with a prayer to God, asking Him to sew our hearts to His Word with the expectation that our worries will fade away as we focus on His truth.

As a Bible college graduate, I greatly appreciate Loud Harp’s talent in incorporating profound truths from Scripture into beautifully crafted music. Take these lyrics from the song “Steady” as an example:

You’re the joy in the middle of my pain (James 1:2)
You’re the peace I cannot explain (Philippians 4:7)
You’re the love I’ll never escape (Romans 8:38-39)
You are, You are God (Psalm 46:10)

I added biblical references at the end of each line to demonstrate how saturated this album is with God’s truth. As I listened through this album, I was reminded of the many promises and truths in Scripture that I literally clung to during a time of trial. I was led to praise many times during the past two weeks while listening to this album, remembering God’s faithfulness during seasons of trouble.

Hope Where There Was None is a much needed antidote to our culture’s prevailing advice to turn inward and trust in yourself during times of trouble. The message of Loud Harp’s new album rejects this notion, turning instead to God, His Word, and His faithful presence for sustenance during the trials of life. I would say that this album is especially needed for those in hurt. The prayerful and worshipful tone of HWFWN makes the album so approachable. Loud Harp seems to understand that some people are in need of an alternative to the upbeat CCM songs that are constantly played on Christian radio. Several of the songs follow the pattern of many psalms, acknowledging the difficulty of a situation but calling to mind God’s truth and praising him for the strength He provides. Loud Harp’s talents are much needed for those walking through difficult times, as they ultimately point the listener back to God.

Whether or not you are going through tough times, Hope Where There Was None is worth buying and listening to. The album has been greatly encouraging for me, and I hope that you find it an encouragement as well.

Let’s Talk About: “Secular” Music

Have you ever talked with someone who’s not a Christian about music? Would you ever use the word “secular” to talk about what that person listens to? Let me know how that conversation goes, because I’m sure the person won’t feel particularly loved by the way you describe his music. The terminology is only something  a religious person would use to distinguish that type of music from religious music. It’s not in other people’s musical vocabulary. But since it’s a type of music that many Christians warn against, let’s talk about “secular” music.

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Let’s Talk About: Contemporary Christian Music

Every day on my way to work, I play music. When I’m at work, I play music. When I’m doing dishes or cooking, I play music. There’s little that I do that doesn’t include music. And music plays a huge part in American culture. Radios, malls, and restaurants continually pump fresh new music into our ears. It’s pretty hard to escape music in America. But lots of Christians have grown up being told that that’s exactly what we should do as believers; I grew up essentially being told that secular music is bad and Christian music is good (remember those charts saying, “If you like this artist, listen to this Christian artist”?). My natural inclination now is to reject Christian music altogether, and I don’t think I’m the only college-aged Christian who feels this propensity. But should this be our response? Maybe we should reconsider our musical tendencies, so let’s talk about contemporary Christian music.

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Let’s Talk About: Your Smartphone

You’re probably using it right now as you read this. It’s most likely the device you spend the most time with, possibly even more than with your friends and family. It’s not a stretch to say that lots of Americans like their smartphones a little too much, and Christians are not exempt from this proclivity. But as a Christian, have you sat down and thought about how you’re using your smartphone? The quick response could be that the Bible doesn’t say anything about smartphones, so they’re free game. But behind that statement is the lie that the biblical story doesn’t speak into every aspect of life. We should strive to love God more and more by examining all areas of our lives, including our smartphone usage. So without further ado, let’s talk about your smartphone.

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