Last year Gungor vocalist Michael came under fire for some comments he made concerning the way he interprets the Bible and views theology. (For more on that story click here). BREATHEcast spoke to Michael and asked him about some of these views and also spoke about the importance of asking questions when it comes to faith.
The Gungors shared that as they got older they began to question certain aspects of Christianity and wanted to find deeper answers beside what they read in the Bible. In their search for discovery they came up with a certain set of principles they hold dear that kind of goes against the "orthodox" Christian view. However, the Gungors are definitely not alone in this quest for deeper meaning, they just so happened to be targeted because of their platform and their willingness to share.
Michael said asking questions about faith is "vital for any group of people."
He continued, "Change is unavoidable. Anybody that tries to settle into a static reality of 'I got the answers' and 'everybody better join my way of thinking', that sort of closed minded approach to the world of 'I'm just gonna be right and not listen' it's just the beginning of that."
As humans, he said we all continue to change and grow and learn. This everyday recycling and addition of knowledge is something that starts when we are babies. "You have to keep learning if you want to keep growing and moving forward."
Michael believes that within Christianity certain questions become too taboo to ask so they are avoided or looked down upon. He thinks that is largely rooted in fear because change is scary.
"We build our lives on things and it's scary to question those things. For me one of the most intriguing and attractive things about Christianity is it's supposed to be this movement toward radical love," said the singer. "Love overcomes what fear dictates."
"No one would be a Christian without doubt in the first place," he shared. "Doubt is the other side of the coin for belief and a necessary for faith. You need both belief and doubt I think to have a healthy faith."
Some people may question as to where to draw the line in discussions of faith. There are people who believe the book of Geneses is allegorical, or those who believe the Earth is millions of years old along with God creating it. However, many would say there is not much debate about what is said in the New Testament about Jesus. Gungor however, does not feel that's the case.
"There is nothing including questions about Jesus that should be off limits and I think we are scared," he said. "We feel like we are the author of our salvation, and we have to make sure that we have all the I's dotted and T's crossed so you better watch out. You better make sure you're saved..."
Michael says "salvation is not mine" and that we don't get to control much of our lives. This is God's world and we are blessed to be a part of it. "I really kind of trust God for people's journey."
The singer said his older daughter is already asking questions about God and said he'll never turn a question down from her. "Ask the questions, have the doubts. When you read the Psalms it's so in God's face, 'where are you'? 'what are you doing?' 'Are you sleeping'?"
He then addressed the adage of "where is God" during a major tragedy, or "what was God doing when 'this person' died?"
"For someone to ask how can a good God create a world like this and let things that happen happen..." he said before then hypothetically asking, "'Jesus is this our fault'? Those questions to me at this point are not bad questions to ask. They are part of the journey and part of having an honest expression of faith."
Just like interpersonal relationships, our one on one with God is always changing and evolving said Gungor.
Topics of questioning faith and breaking down tried and true theological philosophies mostly went untouched publicly for centuries. Now, with the Internet, podcasts, television, etc, there are more people eligible to raise concerns and offer opinions to a vast audience than ever before.
This is something Michael thinks is part of people's thirst to obtain more knowledge and the shift of questioning everything in our culture. He gave the example of himself growing up. He lived in a small town in Wisconsin and didn't know what was out there in the world. Now with the web, people can get connected to everything and not be "bubbled off."
"Things like podcasts help me to realize, 'hey, there's a lot of people asking these questions'."
"'I can't believe you guys are having these conversations out loud. These are thoughts that I had that I didn't think you could say'" he said laughing about the reactions to his Liturgists podcast. "'Thanks for giving me permission to not feel crazy, to not feel alone in thoughts that I have'."
One of the things Michael loves about podcasting is there isn't anything to lose by talking about certain things, it's a free program. In a church a pastor or person speaking out about something that is controversial can result in the loss of congregation, givers, etc; while on the podcast someone can choose simply not to listen.
"I look forward to see what Christianity will morph into. It's always been a revolving thing," Gungor concluded.
This was the final installment of BREATHEcast's three part interview series with Michael and Lisa Gungor. Read part one where they speak about their new album One Wild Life: Soul. Read part two in which they discuss art vs worship and evangelism. Read our review of the album here.