Jars of Clay Create A Masterpiece in “The Shelter”

I rarely do an album review post. But…this album has grabbed me. Lyrics such as: “It’s out of my hands, it was from the start…” “In our weakness let us see, that alone we’ll never be…” The central idea of finding shelter within community grabs me at this pivotal time in my life.  “Sometimes the hardest part of following the path you think you’re being led down is finding that motivation to keep going.” Works of art like The Shelter by Jars of Clay keep me going, and gives hope for this black hole we call the Christian ghetto. Watch this two minute video and then read the “Twitter—worthy” comments each of the band mates write about their songs. You can buy the masterpiece HERE. You’ll thank me. A lot.

SMALL REBELLIONS
CHARLIE LOWELL: May our small, daily protests to the chaos define us as those who choose love over fear and judgment. A prophetic song of hope paired with action.
DAN HASELTINE: Any act that fights against isolation is the greatest form of counterculture. The greatest risks we take are the ones that prove we are implicated in each others stories.
STEVE MASON: This song celebrates the courage it takes as a community to change the lives of those around us with a subversive love.
MATT ODMARK: For those willing to adventure into the confinements of intentional relationship will find a richness missing from even the most charmed of lives.
CALL MY NAME
CHARLIE LOWELL: A prayer that we might know the value of each individual life- and our calling to value dignity and story as we bring God’s hope into brokenness.
DAN HASELTINE: Good community never lets us stay in its safe fold for long, rather it allows our hearts to venture out to harms way in search of God.
STEVE MASON: God calling your name means being known by the creator of everything, who redeems us and everything around us in beauty.
MATT ODMARK: To think that God knows us by name has deep and far-reaching implications. To actually hear him use it changes everything.
WE WILL FOLLOW
CHARLIE LOWELL: I love the imagery that we as a church are carrying on a pilgrimage that started in the Old Testament… wandering, straying, learning, remembering, following…
DAN HASELTINE: We may not know where we are going, we know who leads us, and thus we can sing with confidence even into the valley of death.
STEVE MASON: To make yourself available to God’s love and His people is to push against fear and offer yourself to God’s service as an ambassador of love and an agent of change.
MATT ODMARK: Nothing in our view you haven’t made, No one that you’ve touched that you haven’t saved
EYES WIDE OPEN
CHARLIE LOWELL: Our desire is to be in a conversation- about love, hope, the life of Jesus- not to figure out answers and put people in boxes. God, keep us in the process, with open eyes and hearts.
DAN HASELTINE: The issues of our time, be they moral, political, or spiritual have caused us to choose sides and draw lines that don’t help us love each other more.
STEVE MASON: I cannot make life work alone and know real freedom. God grant us vision to see the encouragement found in our collective journey as God’s people.
MATT ODMARK: An old idea. Only with each other is sobriety possible; desirable.
SHELTER
CHARLIE LOWELL: An invitation to rest, to re-learn our identity, to be refreshed- to find one another, and to be surprised at God’s provision through one another.
DAN HASELTINE: There is no power in love, no gravity in forgiveness, no consuming light in darkness, no incomprehensibility of joy if we forget we belong to each other.
STEVE MASON: We need each other.
MATT ODMARK: Come inside, sit down, Live and Rest. We are glad you are here.
OUT OF MY HANDS
CHARLIE LOWELL: The only thing we can do in response to what God has done for us, is to give our hearts away and love unconditionally, as a response to how we have first been loved.
DAN HASELTINE: We cannot save our own lives, nor can we change our own ways. God has given us to each other, failures and success combined.
STEVE MASON: It’s humbling to know in our lowest moments that God’s purposes are made complete in and through our weakness not our strength.
MATT ODMARK: Never has there been a more suffocating delusion to live under than the one that says our lives are ours to control.
NO GREATER LOVE
CHARLIE LOWELL: The simplest picture of true love- to lay down our lives for one another. Yet the toughest daily call, to move beyond ourselves and lift each other up.
DAN HASELTINE: No greater love is there but that we lay down our lives for each other. We can pour ourselves out for the sake of others.
STEVE MASON: We understand the sacrifices of living in community as we model it for one another. This is where love is revealed.
MATT ODMARK: This song is for me: Show me the beauty of a life laid down, so that I may have the courage to do the same.
RUN IN THE NIGHT
CHARLIE LOWELL: Spun out of Psalm 27, an anthem proclaiming that we are not defined by our failures, but that we are forever identified as perfectly loved children of the living God.
DAN HASELTINE: Believing that we are truly beloved and perfectly forgiven may be one of the most difficult things we try to do in a given day or night.
STEVE MASON: God’s love for us when named this way is overwhelming to believe. But it is true. And that love brings sight.
MATT ODMARK: The Power and the Beauty of the unafraid.
LAY IT DOWN
CHARLIE LOWELL: It’s in the giving up, the laying down, that we find life and purpose- not in the fixing and controlling. A continual, perpetual push against our human nature.
DAN HASELTINE: Our shoulders aren’t strong enough for the burdens we carry. Our lives are to be lived in the constant act of distributing the weight of our burdens and others burdens.
STEVE MASON: There is power in relating to each other in our weaknesses. There we can find the strength promised by God in community.
MATT ODMARK: I couldn’t be happier to have the words of Sara Groves on the Shelter. You have always spoke my heart Sara, Thanks for being Shelter to me.
LOVE WILL FIND US
CHARLIE LOWELL: God’s loving heart pervades and pursues to the ends of the earth. If you look, you can’t help but see evidence all around. God’s heart calls orphans home.
DAN HASELTINE: A prayer for the lonely, and the alone, an encouragement to keep our lanterns lit. Love is seeking us out, and will find us.
STEVE MASON: God’s love is always in pursuit of our hearts.
MATT ODMARK: “These Orphan Hearts, Will Find a Home”
BENEDICTION
CHARLIE LOWELL: Parting words from St. Teresa of Avila, to go out and literally be the hands and feet of Jesus to those we encounter.
DAN HASELTINE: Go into the world showing how much we have been loved
STEVE MASON: Love will win. All of humanity longs for and resonates with this hope.
MATT ODMARK: Whose Hands but these? Whose Feet but These? – St. Theresa of Avila

6 Responses to “Jars of Clay Create A Masterpiece in “The Shelter””

  1. Pedro Valentin October 22, 2010 at 07:41

    Thanks for the review. I have had similar “this is a masterpiece” thoughts since the album started streaming this summer. It’s been amazing how it has compelled me to think about those that are a part of my Shelter. So much so that I’ve already written 2-3 group emails to those closest to me expressing my appreciation and gratitude. This album has been fodder for tremendous and vital conversations and I think that’s what makes it a masterpiece. “If our hearts have turned to stone, there is hope, we know that the rocks will cry out”. The chorus to the title track has been a beautifully haunting anthem that pulls us to community and reminds us we do not dare journey alone!

  2. Sounds like a very hopeful album. Thanks for sharing this with us Randy.

  3. I remember chatting w/ them back when the only CD they had out was the Frail E.P., & we were trying to do some gig swapping (they were in NC at the time, I believe, and we in Ohio)… we almost had something on the books and BOOM – they had a top 40 single and were opening for Sting. The end.

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