Since 1994, musician David Bazan (former front man of Pedro the Lion and Headphones) has put sharp questions about faith, justice, and his Pentecostal-evangelical upbringing front and center in his songs. Like many doubters who came before, from Augustine to Mother Teresa, he wrestled with God while still counting himself as a believer. However, on his most recent solo album, Curse Your Branches, released last September, Bazan's forceful, prodding lyrics find him still grappling with the big questions, but no longer counting himself as a Christian. With his trademark candor and thoughtfulness, Bazan spoke with me in the musty green room of The Black Cat, a music venue in Washington, D.C. Here's a brief excerpt from the interview:
Jeannie Choi: How did your faith journey move from a place of belief to disbelief?
David Bazan: When I was in eighth grade, my mom got this book called The Light and the Glory; it was one of the first in the wave of Christian revisionist histories of the United States. It claimed things like the founders were born-again Christians just like we are. It just dawned on me -- I couldn't really trust the leaders of this movement to be intellectually honest. They were just trying to stack the deck so that they could get a leg up in the cultural battle