Waking Up to “Is He Worthy?”: An Apology

By

The only way to really learn something is to screw up.

A few days ago (with the help of the good people at the Gospel Coalition) I released a music video for a song called, “Is He Worthy?” and just hours later I was sitting in my office with tears in my eyes. Not the good kind of tears. Among the very kind comments on social media were some painfully negative ones, pointing out that there was a conspicuous lack of racial diversity in the video. Someone actually said, “Man, that’s a lot of white people in one video!” Others said they wouldn’t or couldn’t share it with friends of color because it would cause them pain. The irony was that the song is based on one of the most gloriously inclusive passages in scripture, Revelation 5, which says, “From every people and tribe, every nation and tongue, he has made us a kingdom of priests to God to reign with the Son.” The camera swings past all the white faces just before I sing that line. This is the very definition of “painfully ironic.” What was meant to be a video drawing attention to the glory of Jesus, one that opened the door for all people to praise him, had become, for some, a source of grief. I immediately thought of some friends of mine and wondered if I had unintentionally hurt them. I called them and my worst fears were confirmed. They were very encouraging even as they helped me understand what it was like for them to watch the video, and in the end we cried and prayed together on the phone.

The shoot, directed by Max Hsu (who is awesome), was crazy. We relied on an open casting call for volunteers to fill the chapel, but for some reason only half of them showed. It wasn’t until the fourth of fifth chaotic take (with string players, choir members, lighting crew, camera crew and congregation rushing to and fro) that I realized there were only white people in the room (other than the director, of course!). It’s not at all unusual for people of color to come to my shows, so I was surprised that none were there that night. I mentioned it to someone, but things were so hectic that the next thing you know Hsu had called for the next take. Honestly, the lack of diversity didn’t occur to us again until the day of the release when I read the comments.

If I could go back in time I would tell the Andrew of a month ago, “Don’t assume. Make sure that this video is a true reflection of the Kingdom. Make sure it paints a glorious picture of the promise in Revelation that every people, tribe, nation, and tongue will sing (indeed, already sing) of the worthiness of Christ, the Lamb who was slain to free the captives. Think about the subtext, about what this video will say, wordlessly, to your friends of all colors.”

I didn’t, and I regret that. Because I believe God works all things for the good of his people, I have to trust that, though I’m small potatoes in the music world, my misstep with this video will lead the church to good conversations, better understanding, humility and love and forgiveness between everyone affected by it. My prayer on the morning the whole thing started was, “Please, Lord, don’t let my mistake detract from the point of the song, which is to give voice to the truth of the Gospel, to invite many into the joy of singing about the beauty of who Jesus is and what he’s done.” But really, that’s merely my intention for the song. God’s intention may be broader and better—his intention may be to use my lack of wisdom and foresight to open the doors for reconciliation, repentance, healing, and mercy. As my friend said on the phone yesterday, “A hundred deaths, a million resurrections.”

So, as a white American singer/songwriter whose only hope is Jesus, I’m asking forgiveness of the friends and listeners to whom this video brought any measure of grief. I’m also asking the good people who have come to my defense to refrain from using social media to do so. Be silent long enough to really listen. And then, if the Spirit leads, engage with love and patience and humility. As I said, the only way to learn something is to screw up. What was only a small voice in my head a few weeks ago will, I assure you, be a loud, clear voice of wisdom in the future. I’m sure I’m going to make a mountain of mistakes in the days to come, but, Lord willing, this won’t be one of them.

I’m curious to see where this story goes. In the meantime, I’m still praying that this song and the accompanying video will continue to be an instrument of peace in spite of the broken vessel through whom it came. After all, I’m not worthy of praise or glory. Only Jesus is, and it is to his strong hands that I entrust myself and my faltering work. Do I feel the world is broken? I do. Do I feel the shadows deepen? I do. And I truly believe that all the darkness—even my own—won’t stop the light from getting through. I do.

As a singer-songwriter and recording artist, Andrew has released more than ten records over the past fifteen years. His music has earned him a reputation for writing songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. He has also followed his gifts into the realm of publishing. His books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga.


109 Comments

  1. Wendy Smith

    My first response is that I didn’t notice- I just enjoyed the song, (so much), and the Lord, really.  But that immediate response disturbs me and reveals some things about myself that I need to think on.

  2. Carolyn Deevers

    I’ve always enjoyed your music and story telling, and respected you as a brother-in-Christ. I’ve even used After the last tear falls in one of my blog posts.

    My respect for you has magnified.

    Thank you for addressing this with honesty and tenderness.

     

     

  3. Danielle

    Sometimes there are mistakes we can’t fix. But this is one you can! It’s okay to shoot it again. It’s also okay not to. Grateful either way!

  4. Helen

    Hey Andrew, as a Chinese American I am thankful for a community like the one you have to speak truth in love to one another especially in regards to this topic. I personally was overwhelmed by the message of the song to notice the many white faces in the video. Your humility is evident and my prayer is that you wouldn’t keep beating yourself up over this. Our God is bigger than all of our blunders, intentional and unintentional. Blessings to you and yours.

  5. Kristin Kjorlaug

    @kristinkjorlaug

    Thank you for this. I have learned from your response. But the song, it has not left my mind. It keeps playing over and over as I look around and walk through my very diverse city. If only they could all sing this with me.

  6. Linda Rogers

    @misslinda

    Thank you for addressing this, and for addressing it so honestly and gracefully. If nothing else, I am learning that I need to be more aware. I have watched the video several times, and it had not occurred to me that only one color of people was represented. That is blindness and insensitivity on my part, and I hope to become more aware of things like this so that I am not unintentionally making others feel unwelcome or unneeded. I still love the song and the video, but I do wish that it showed a better picture of the Church.

    I know it might ruin the “one take” thing, but I think it would be awesome if people would take pictures of whatever group of believers they worship with, perhaps with candles, and send them in. Then someone could put a montage in toward the end, instead of just that group in that building. But I also hate to mess with the work that is already done, because the shoot itself was done beautifully. I do not know if there is a “right” answer at this point. But I am glad that the discussion is happening and hopefully many of us can be challenged and learn from it.

  7. Ben Kunz

    Thank you for your humility, Andrew.

     

    I need to ask for forgiveness myself. I posted a comment trying to diffuse the situation and I’m sure it trivialized the grief others were feeling. Some situations need not be diffused. It was short-sighted of me and it grieves me that I valued looking noble at the expense of sitting and listening. Social media is dangerous that way. Anyway, it did nothing to bring you to where you are today, and probably would have been more of a stumbling block if you’d seen it, and I’m very sorry.

     

    That said, broken as we may be, the song and video remain gorgeous. I’ve been in a very hard season of life lately and I’ve needed both the last few days. So thank you for your brokenness, but thank you for continuing to point me to His beauty.

  8. Brandon Steenbock

    @bsteenbock

    Andrew, it’s obvious that there was no maliciousness here, and your repentance is evident, so all I can say to that is the Savior you sought to glorify has already forgiven you. But I also want to share an interesting connection. The day you released this was not a good day for me. I was hurting, low on hope, and ready to make some pretty bad decisions. I’m not trying to be melodramatic; it was just a dark day. I’m very grateful that you released the song that day – it really was a lifeline. If you had decided to re-shoot the video and release it on a different day, I guess I trust God would have found another way to restore me. But this is what he used. I mean, I’m just one guy, and what you’re wrestling with is bigger than that, but our God turns everything for good. I saw good come out of all this in my life; I trust there’s more to come.

  9. Cara M

    Please redo it! Thank you this song, but the pain of this will only be repeated many times over unless it’s reshot. It’s the best way to fix something that is broken. Thank you for your humility and repentance. May the Lord use this to catapult and change the lack of diversity in our churches.

  10. Autumn

    Thank you Andrew. I love your music and your voice in this world. And I love this song.  Thank you for your humility in your response and for responding. May we each reflect the full kingdom more and more each day.

  11. Jody Collins

    I wonder, with an open casting call in your fair city, if no people of color responded, can you really force diversity? (I’m a white 60+ year old female, for the record.) I for one was overcome by this video, shared it with the people in my Home Group (here in Seattle) and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Lessons abound at every turn when we share our gifts with the world; thank you for sharing yours.

  12. Brandon Steenbock

    @bsteenbock

    Andrew, I don’t want to trivialize the issue, so please understand that’s not what I’m doing. But I want to share something: The day you released the song was pretty dark for me. Some things were going on in my world that were causing pain, despair, and I was pretty short on hope. This song is what I needed that day. If you’d decided the video needed to be redone, would you have released it that day? I guess God would have found a different way to restore me, but all I know is I’m grateful that your song came when it did.

    I think you know that the Savior you sought to glorify doesn’t hold this against you. But he also turns even our failures for good. I’m just one guy, and what you’re reflecting on is bigger than that. But if God could bring such good for me out of all this, how much more does he plan to work through it?

    Thank you for your humility, and for sharing your gifts with us.

  13. Brendt Wayne Waters

    This article expresses exactly what I imagined going through your head (plus a lot more) when I saw the criticisms start popping up. But thank you for committing it to electrons.

    I really like Linda Rogers’ idea. You don’t have to replace it, but just make a 2.0 version. Or add a reprise on the end of the video. Or for that matter, it would be extra appropriate to call the new version a “Director’s Cut”, since Mr Hsu isn’t a white guy. 🙂

  14. theo

    @theo

    As much as it brings sheer joy to me to see a mixed multitude in the house of the Lord (i.e. the group of musicians i work with), my eyes only see 1 color when i look at the beautiful faces of God’s children in this video & the world over: the color of the precious, priceless blood of the Son of Man, who clothed Himself in some shade of human skin with a mission to save souls wrapped in every color, culture, caste & creed our wayward hearts can categorize. 
     
    There is one race: The human race.  Our heavenly Father is longing for “whoever” (John 3:16) wants to show up at the Lord’s wedding banquet to do so (Ex. 12:48 & Eph. 2:11-22 & Col. 3:11 & Gal. 3:18).  And being there is no partiality with God (Rom. 2:11), He gives each invitee a wedding garment to cover us with His righteousness. 
     
    I understand it may be distracting to some who feel marginalized by their skin color to view this video, but nonetheless may the masterpiece of a song it features speak ever so inclusively to their hearts the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham that in him ALL the families of the earth will be blessed (Gen. 12:3), including people like Rahab the harlot, the Ethiopian eunuch and me.
     

  15. Nathan

    Thank you so much for this song & for the honest reflection to the comments made about the video.

    When I first heard the song, I was moved to tears. When I read this article it only broke me further.

    The Spirit moves in what you do & I’m thankful for how he has used you to challenge me and draw me “further up & further in” my relationship with Jesus. This song and reflection is no exception.

    May the Spirit continue to use you in such beautiful ways, the redeemer continue to tear off the old self, and the Kingdom benefit from the process.

  16. Scott Barry

    I confess that I watched the video and didn’t think twice about it. White privilege. The people in the video look like me, so I didn’t notice. This post was an opportunity for me to think deeply about these things. It could be easy for me to say, “Wow. Andrew messed this up.” But honestly, I see how it happened and it could have just as easily have been me. In a way, it was me.

    So…crazy idea. I hope I’m not overstepping. Maybe the shot that fades to black is supposed to be there. Maybe a Kickstarter campaign to reshoot the congregational part of the video the way it should be? I would certainly contribute with joy. I confess I don’t know all the ins and outs of how paying for a video works with record labels and such. But, I can’t help thinking what a beautiful and contrite statement reshooting it could make.

    No matter what, I’m more aware and ashamed of my white privilege today. I repent, Lord. May I have empathy.

  17. Barbara Trafton

    Mistakes can be honestly made.  Most people have a daily list of things they would do over if they could.  You go on and forgive yourself as God has already forgiven you.  Then you make a sacred promise (as you have just done honestly and whole heartedly) to do better, to love more and to try harder.  The real danger here is to say, it’s not good enough, I should not have done this — the song of praise is wonderful and it ministers to people in it’s beauty and message.  Just as we are people full of sin and strife and need God’s forgiveness, we need to keep trying to be worthy. God has already judged that we are worthy of His almighty son, Jesus.  He has forgiven us.  God has forgiven you.  Now get out there and keep praising.

     

  18. Sharon Norman

    Thank you for your transparency and sensitivity. My experience has been that most move on without thinking how the exclusion can hurt those in the body of Christ who look like me. My brother, you are forgiven.

    Praying your continued vigilance in heralding the message of the Cross!

  19. Wayne Ambrose-Miller

    Also on board for the kickstarter. It was also a reminder for me of the blinders we have on at times with respect to what we expect to see.  Your apology was a powerful reminder for me as well.

     

    Wayne

     

     

  20. Carrie Luke

    @carriehluke

    Hi AP,

    I have told you 3 times already on social media that my birthday is on Good Friday this year, the day Resurrection 1 comes out. I will be 44 years old. You know I have been waiting for the release of Risen Indeed since I first heard it at a sound check in Charlotte 6 or 7 years ago, and the line “daughter listen he speaks your name” captured my heart and my imagination.

    What you don’t know is that two weeks before I was born, my parents found out they were having twins. In a failing marriage, they didn’t want my us, and tried to end the pregnancy. In 1974, late term abortion was illegal, so the doctor refused to do it.  We were allowed to be born but were born into a terrible situation. Having my birthday fall on Good Friday was too much for me to handle this year with the above narrative, until you posted the release date of Resurrection 1. 🙂

    Everything changed in that one tweet. You have had 10 years to finish this album and yet, God in his mercy had you wait until now. For my part, I know it was just for me, because I needed something so special to get me through March 30, 2018 which had the potential to be dark on so many levels for me.

    So rewind and you released that video and Is He Worthy two weeks before my birthday- the same time 44 years ago that I almost did not make it into this world.

    What is my point?

    God is so big Andrew, and He loves you. This album is bigger than a video of a racial oversight. Your acknowledgement is very important of course; the issue is real.  THANK YOU for speaking to it in such humilty. I teach English to adult refugees and see first hand what exclusion and racism does to a person.

    But what you wrote about on this record is big enough to cover even that. We all have stories like mine that need the light that you tap into in your music. We need the gospel the way God has uniquely gifted you to share it. Thank you for always trying to be faithful. In your successes and in your mistakes. You are an instrument, but He is the song. Thanks for waiting for this record:). He is worthy.

  21. Neil E. Das

    @neiledas

    I think that this sort of exclusivity happens so often so as to be unremarkable, that is to say that very few would have remarked upon it in decades past; the people who were unrepresented for fear that remarking would do little good and indeed may have painted a target on their heads and many of the folk who were represented because they perhaps would not have even seen the problem at all. Indeed, I believe that a Youtube viewing of the CCM video catalog would produce example after example, not to mention many of our sitcoms and dramas and movies in our wider culture. And, ironically, sometimes the effort to intentionally represent diversity sticks out even more as mere tokenism of the worst sort. That in itself can be a sort of lie, to project a diversity that may not exist. I think the best sort of art flows organically from the artists that create it. So the best sort of diverse art is the art that is created by a diverse artists/individuals in community with one another.

    I must add that while I am grateful that we are experiencing an era where an ever greater diversity of artists are able to express their voices and have the platform to express them to mainstream audience, I do not believe that every piece art of has to check a diversity box of some sort, even while I think that it is helpful to be aware that majority culture (a collection of related cultures would be more accurate) has had a long run of not needing to be self-reflective. I think that this video is beautifully conceived and executed, and I love the song. It is a song which might accurately be deemed as coming out of a white worship tradition, penned by a singer-song writer, another largely white tradition. Given that, it may be most truthful that a context in which it might be sung most commonly would be one in which most of the performers and congregation would be white. Having said that, because of the key passage that song is centered upon, it did become a little jarring at places.

    Finally, and most importantly, I so appreciate Andrew’s heart in this letter and the way in which he has responded to the hurt that he heard in the voices of his friends. The fact that he has friends who are different from himself and with whom he is doing life and creating art speaks volumes; the fact that he is humble enough to apologize when he has hurt them speaks even more.

  22. Neil E. Das

    @neiledas

    I think that this sort of exclusivity happens so often so as to be unremarkable, that is to say that very few would have remarked upon it in decades past; the people who were unrepresented for fear that remarking would do little good (and may have painted a target on their heads) and many of the folk who were represented because they perhaps would not have even seen the problem at all. Indeed, I believe that a Youtube viewing of the CCM video catalog would produce example after example, not to mention many of our sitcoms and dramas and movies in our wider culture. And, ironically, sometimes the effort to intentionally represent diversity sticks out even more as mere tokenism of the worst sort. That in itself can be a sort of lie, to project a diversity that may not exist. I think the best sort of art flows organically from the artists that create it. And, so, the best sort of art representing diversity is the art that is created by a diverse community of artists. The more stinging indictment then is perhaps that we do not belong to more diverse communities out of which we produce our art.
    I must add that while I am grateful that we are experiencing an era where a greater and greater diversity of artists are able to express their voices and have the platform to express them to mainstream audience, I do not believe that every piece art of has to click a diversity box, even though I think that it is good for those in the majority culture (which is really more a set of cultures) to continue in a growing self-awareness that their’s too is a culture, one culture among many.
    I think that this video is beautifully conceived and executed, and I love the song. It is a song which might accurately be deemed as coming out of a white worship tradition, penned by a singer-song writer, another largely white tradition. Given that, it may be most truthful that a context in which it might be sung “normally” that most of the congregation would be white. Having said that, because the key passage the song is centered upon that glorious verse in Revelation, I can see how it would be jarring.
    Most importantly, I so appreciate Andrew’s heart in the way he has responded to the hurt that he heard in the voices of his friends. The fact that he has friends who are different from himself and with whom he is doing life and creating art speaks volumes; the fact that he is humble enough to apologize when he has hurt them speaks even more.

  23. Lisa

    Love the song, and I am sure there will be choirs around the globe singing it, all the nations, be encouraged.

  24. Rebecca Reynolds

    Andrew, thank you for showing us how an artist should apologize for an honest mistake. I really needed your example here.

    For days, I’ve been sick at my stomach, worried about stupid/obvious mistakes I may have overlooked in my book during the last stages of publication. I’ve been terrified of angry bloggers finding those mistakes, picking me apart and having no way to go back in time and change what is wrong or hurtful. The thought of working so hard and STILL missing something critical is awful.

    But here I am seeing you have the courage to engage like this, owning a mistake and growing from it in public.

     

    It’s easy to talk about grace, the magnitude of the gospel, etc. But you are actually showing us how the body should deal with its own imperfections–not defensively but holding arms wide open and saying, “I missed this. And it was so important. And I’m so sorry.”

    Your music has been life changing for me and for our my family, but (if it’s possible) your character has been even more powerful. So often over the years, you’ve modeled true humility and selflessness for the Rabbits. That posture is evident here in a post that is one of the dearest creations I’ve seen from you. It makes my soul go, “Yes, yes. This is how it should be done. God, grow this sort of heart in me, too.”

  25. Deidra Riggs

    Wow! What a beautiful song! And the video is amazing!

    Some friends sent me the link to your apology because they know this work is important to me. It is important to God, and to humanity. I imagine those who’ve known you for a while want to rush to your defense. I completely understand that. They are good people, and they love you. But may I say…in this apology, the words that meant the most to me, as a woman of color, were these:

    “I’m also asking the good people who have come to my defense to refrain from using social media to do so. Be silent long enough to really listen. And then, if the Spirit leads, engage with love and patience and humility.”

    Your willingness to lead by example, and to gently guide those who love you toward reconciliation that honors the body of Christ is a beautiful gift to us all. Thank you for that. Thank you for saying, in essence, “My bad.” It’s okay to make mistakes. We all do it. And we will again. So let’s learn together. Let us reason, together. Let’s glorify God as we keep moving toward one another. Let’s keep searching for common ground, with Love as our guide, so the world will know that Jesus was sent by God (John 17:21).

    I’m a new fan. That song is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing your gift with the world.

  26. Matt B

    Andrew,

    My Indian-adoptee daughter watched this video.  I prefaced it with “Tell me if you notice anything odd…”  She didn’t.  When I told her she shrugged and said, “Whatever.”  She has three Indian-adoptee siblings and 1-2 of them are more ‘sensitive’ to issues of race, but they’re also more sensitive about themselves, period.  It’s difficult to justify criticizing this song – or its video – when the nobility and grace of the thing is so clearly evident.  Perhaps some of us need to get over ourselves and focus on Christ.

     

  27. Clarissa

    @cc1872

    Hi Andrew,

    As a black woman who has been to your concerts a few times, I am very grateful that you’re aware of the lack of diversity in CCM. However, I would like to say that as one of the only black people at your concerts whenever I go, when I meet you, you have been one of the kindest, warmest singer/songwriters. You made me feel welcome and I was glad to meet you! I’m glad that you’re aware of this issue of diversity, but at the same time, I would like to commend you for being aware of it, and always being kind during and after your concerts. Your music has ministered to me very much and I am grateful for your gift from God.

  28. Stacey Williams

    I am thankful this conversation is happening. Reconciliation, repentance, healing, and mercy do give voice to the truth of the gospel. It is what He has done. It is the beauty of who He is. May He continue to open our eyes, break us, change us, and heal us. For me, the truth that He is worthy – that His Spirit is at work among us – will now flow even more powerfully through this song. It was already beautifully written, but it now embodies a conversation of brokenness, repentance, confession, and hope for racial healing in the church. Every time I hear this song, I anticipate it becoming an even deeper heart-declaration that I am found wanting, that we as a church need His mercy to launch us out of our sinful and harmful patterns, and that in all of it, He is found worthy. 

  29. Sheri Cornett

    As I watched the video the first time, I did notice the lack of diversity.  But I assumed the best with an open casting-call.  Perhaps this is more a critique on the state of our churches than on the state of your video.

  30. Fir Deleafe

    If I feel a need to complain about an artists work, it is often because I am not making art of my own.

    Honestly, I didn’t notice (or look for) an equal representation of all nations on earth in the video, and I don’t think it’s really fair or good of any of us to expect that of any artist.  After all, who actually can dedicate all the time and resources necessary to bring all the world’s races into one room for the sake of a music video? (especially with an open casting call).  Even if all of the cast had been entirely one people group (Eastern, African, Islander, Asian, South American, Anglo, Euro, etc), It doesn’t impede the message, it is just closer to the real fact (that such-and-such people came to be in the video and such-and-such others did not).

    We are clay of all sizes, shapes, and colors.  But we are all clay.  Is the clay the focus of the song?

    If it is, then the list is missing much more than different colors.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  31. Clarissa

    @cc1872

    I watched the video after reading this post, so perhaps my views are a bit blinded, but I noticed the lack of diversity. However, if this wasn’t pointed out, I would probably not have noticed.  As a black woman who is frequently one of the only people of color at your concerts, I guess I’m used to the lack of diversity. I’m glad that you realized this and pointed it out. However, I also want to say that I love your music and it has ministered to me throughout the toughest times in my life. And you’ve always been so kind after your shows. So while the diversity was lacking, as a black woman, I have still felt welcome at your concerts. And this isn’t just you–I feel that throughout the church we have a severe segregation that often gets ignored.

  32. Leslie Fahmy

    I think you can rest in your apology.  I am white myself.  But I can hear that you sincerely apologized.  And your song is amazing.  Lesson learned.  I like the idea of re-making the video.  You might feel happier to do this.  Something to think about.

  33. Grace

    Wow.  So sorry!!!  I feel your pain.  I had a humbling situation take place this past summer.  Long story (see my 1/15/18 post on my website if you want to read the story).  And thankfully it was much more private than what you are having to go through right now.  But through my experience and now having a very good black friend (I’m white and from a very white, white world), I’m learning a lot about life from her view.  Very eye-opening.  My husband shared your video and I did notice it was very white.  Beautiful music.  Incredible.  But, very white.  Then he shared this post with me.  Your response is much appreciated.  I actually think this “screw up” might be a very good thing for our nation.  It is hard for white people to understand life from a black person’s view. I think your video might hopefully open white people’s eyes to how we so unconsciously do things that unintentionally hurt black people.  I would love to see you do the song/video again and have such diversity that we understand what Heaven will really be like.  I totally trust you weren’t trying to hurt anyone.  And, I totally trust you are going to be able to make another verse to the song or another video of the song that is going to help heal our nation from so much hurt.  Don’t give up!  Hoping there will be an updated video soon!

  34. Cameron

    Andrew, I’m honestly amazed by this.

    Please consider the fact that there are over 1,200 “likes” and only 4 “dislikes”; and out of the hundred or so comments there are less than 5 people who are truly upset about this. Please consider the idea that the people who are upset are unreasonably so. If the comment feed was FILLED with negative feedback, and if the like:dislike ratio was a bit more evenly distributed, maybe then it would be worth considering that the white:non-white ratio was inappropriately skewed.

  35. Connie

    Hey Andrew, We met in London a couple of months ago at the UK church partnership where you lead the music for the marriage conference and I’ve been listening to your music ever since.   My husband and I were with the team from the US.  Dear Brother, thank you for your honesty, humility and desire to glorify God is all things.  This song meant so much to me and caused me to fix my eyes on Jesus, the Author of our Faith and the Perfecter of it.  I’m so grateful that when we all gather around His Throne of Grace and Mercy- I don’t think we will see skin color,…and if we do, it won’t be through sin-damaged eyes.  God’s people will gather as a redeemed people,  a holy Nation, Kingdom of Priests, the household of faith.  You had an open call for people to come in the studio; can we just worship God through this awesome song that He put on your heart and gave as a good gift to His people?  Thank you for using the gift that God has given to you to build up the church.   The words of your song expresses my hearts desire to worship the One Who gave His LIFE,…poured out His BLOOD,…gave up his THRONE,…called me from the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of His Beloved Son-HE IS WORTHY!!  May God continue to bless you as you contemplate Christ and express your love for Him through music.

  36. Brenda Branson

    @bren1756

    As a senior citizen watching this video, it was so heart warming to see a large group of young people both onstage and in the audience. They represented hope that the good news of the gospel will continue to be shared when my generation is gone. It is true that the first few rows of the audience appeared to be young and white, but in my imagination the shadows gently concealed all the others who were there in spirit from every race and every age, including those who may have been in wheelchairs in the back.

    I understand and appreciate the need for more diversity and honest conversations. May we be more aware and open as we move forward. The focus of this video and song is Jesus, the only one who is worthy. Well done, AP. You led all of us (those who were on camera, those in the shadows, and all the rest of us) to worship him. Thank you.

  37. Ian Grant

    Well said Andrew – a great heart behind it!

    This is what ‘Southern Christianity’, the 70+% of all Christians alive today who come from from the ‘non-Western’ church have had to face for far too long!  We DON”T all end up ‘latte-coloured’ in heaven, & English isn’t the language we all speak! … but we do all end up overcome by wave after wave of sheer adoration and worship seeing our saviour and master!

  38. Matthew Cyr

    @matthewcyr

     
    I have to say my heart is deeply troubled by this. Not by the video, but the negative comments, and to some extent, the apology.
     
    The world operates on an “us and them” basis in matters of skin color. The reasons for this are multitude and complex, but the overarching reason is that it suits the purposes of the adversary of humanity for us to be cordoned off into segments that are suspicious or resentful of each other. It’s a situation that gives the one who hates all of us, of every color, ample opportunity to hurt us, through us.
     
    This is how the secular world is working in our generation. We, the body of Christ, must not fall into that rhythm. That is a condition that we as individuals have to be healed of, so that we don’t harm the body. Within Christ, we are not “us and them” we are all us. Our diversity is that we are different members of that body, some of us feet, some hands, ears, and so on. This diversity matters because it makes us a functional body instead of an undifferentiated mass, and for that reason we celebrate it.
     
    How can I say tenderly and gently enough, in such an age as this, what I now need to say?
     
    The Spirit of the Lord moved Andrew Peterson’s heart to create a song that praised God beautifully, and invited all people to join him in that praise. Andrew poured his heart into this, motivated by a love for Jesus and for those of us that love Him – and for those who don’t. He and many others worked from the same love on the video, in hopes that the song would be heard by more people, so that more people might be stirred to wonder at Christ’s beauty and glory and goodness. Many of us received that wonder and were thankful.
     
    And for a few people, when they were met by a luminous piece of art about the worthiness of Christ, their uppermost thought was that some of the people in the video were the wrong color. They don’t look enough like me, so they’re the wrong color. I don’t see “us” represented. Never mind that if we belong to Christ, then “we”, the “we” that really matters, is represented. If I am His son, than then every one of His other sons and daughters is one of “us”. At this moment, whether in a church in Swaziland, or a houseful of believers in China, or in a small tribe in New Guinea that a generation or two ago was practicing cannibalism until a foreigner arrived with a story about Christ – in all of these places, I am represented, whether there is anyone who looks like me or not. Wherever we are, “we” are represented. That is part of what the passage in Revelation celebrates, part of what Andrew was inviting all people to celebrate.
     
    Andrew said of his song “God’s intention may be broader and better—his intention may be to use my lack of wisdom and foresight to open the doors for reconciliation, repentance, healing, and mercy.” He seems to have meant by this that maybe God would, through this painful moment, maybe expose something in Andrew that needed correcting, and grow him further into the likeness of Christ. Is it possible that it is for someone else that God is working through this moment to expose the heart? Is there anyone who saw the video and thought some of the people needed to be different colored, that will go to their Father and ask what He thinks of that desire in them? Will any of us, whatever our colors, repent now of looking at Christ’s body for faces that match our shade, and still thinking of the rest as “other”? Will anyone apologize to God and to Andrew, for being pointed lovingly toward Jesus, and responding “Man, that’s a lot of white people in one video”?
     
    There was no exclusion –Andrew and the others who made the video gave an open invitation to God’s people to participate in it, and those who chose to, did. I am afraid when I hear that this experience will be a “loud, clear voice” in Andrew’s head in the future. The voice I want in Andrew’s head is the voice of the Spirit, leading him toward the most truthful way to glorify God and share Him with us needy people. Not the voice of the quota, the counter-upper and the ratio-checker of skin tones. That way of mind is part of the enemy’s ploy, and we the Beloved Bride need to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, and not fall for it.
     
    Thank you, Andrew, for your years of serving the body with the creative spirit God gave you. Thank you for using your gifts once again on this album and song. Thank you for showing the humility that turns the other cheek when struck, and apologizes when others are insensitive to you. Please forgive us when we respond to the holy with the worldly. Father, forgive us, and change our hearts.
     

  39. Gaye Jones

    Andrew, Andrew, this is very distressing.  Anyone who knows you at all should know better than to think you would slight any person or group.  But, alas, diversity has become a sort of idol, which is very dangerous business.  Its worship has and will spawn all manner of bad behavior. Unless it is stopped.  So are we going to be colorblind or not?  If God is not “a respecter of persons” should we be?  I think not.

  40. Sabrina Pena Young

    Thank you for noticing something that most of my Christian friends don’t really care about. I am so used to not being included in any “Christian” portrayal, in fact I am pleasantly surprised when a brown or black person even shows up in a Christian publication, video, article, etc. and isn’t just another plea to give money to the poor (we are very useful for getting sympathy donations, but not good enough for most churches, church leadership, or “Christian” media, it seems). As a composer and a Christian I loved your song, and your video was beautiful. I am glad that you were aware of its lack of diversity. In the US forty percent of Americans are people of color. Our children are majority people of color (more than 50%) and over half of American families speak at least one foreign language at home. Today so many purposefully avoid diversity, acting as if it is sinful to want to be as inclusive as Christ himself was, and that only shows how evil our world has become. When the only folks asking us to be colorblind are the ones benefiting from our broken society’s obsession with race, then there is clearly something that I wish was able to be talked about as articulately as you did here. As for your song, thank you for sharing your gift. It was beautiful. And for the next video, maybe you will be able to see it with different eyes. Blessings. – Award-winning Composer (and Christian Latina) Sabrina Peña Young

  41. angi

    Andrew,

    this song and the video have been a tremendous gift to me these last few days…musically captivaating and lyrically have me on my knees in awe and wonder the the One who can and will open the scroll.  In a mixed race family, we were all captivated and convicted and drawn to worship.  Thank you for this song.  Proclamation of truth.  I am praying that you would know encouragememt and ultimate peace from God who has used this song to minister deeply to my family and church.  Thank you.

    Angi Tuffnell

     

  42. Adam

    Andrew, your song asks the question “Is he worthy”, not “Am I worthy” or “Are we worthy”. The song is simply beautiful – a declaration of worship, that Jesus is worthy of all honour and praise, and that is what I have had reverberating in awesome, tender, inspiring majesty in my mind ever since I first heard it. All our chaff will be burnt away, but our work built on the one true foundation that is Christ will be burnished and shine for eternity (1 Cor 3:10-15). This song shine with the glory of our Saviour. Thank you and thank our Lord for you using your gifts as you do

  43. Azaghal

    Andrew, I’ve been a fan for years. Clearly you have a heart of gold here. You guys just filmed the people who showed up – seems fair enough to me. Maybe there’s an opportunity for some grace to be extended the other way: instead of choosing to be aggrieved, people could choose to just relax and recognize that no harm was intended, and besides, no matter who is in the picture it is always going to be no more than a subset of God’s people.

  44. JoeB

    Honestly if someone listens to the song and watches the video and all they see is “white faces” I think they’re missing the point. I understand the disappointment that it doesn’t represent the diversity described in that Rev. passage. I feel the same way about our church. It’s 100% white… not because we want it that way. I can count on one hand the number of non-whites who have visited our church in the past 20 years. They don’t stay. I wish they would, but they don’t. I don’t think they feel unwelcome, I think it’s just awkward that’s all. I’d feel awkward to be the only or among another 3 or 4 white folks in an all black church.

    Should we, as the church, force ourselves to integrate better? Normally I’d say no because it doesn’t matter. We are free in Christ.. but looking at the problems our country has with race maybe we should. Maybe we need to demonstrate the kingdom a bit better. Not for our sake, but for theirs. I have no clue how but I know someone who does. Perhaps we should ask the Lord to help us do this better, for his glory.

    BTW: I’m REALLY looking forward to hearing you and Pete speak this Thursday at Grove City!

     

  45. Robyn

    As a Christian Black woman, I honestly, did not have any problem with it. I loved the song. I loved the way you addressed the situation even more…Praise God!

  46. Ariaun Loveday

    As one who considers herself a person who tries to be intentional about racial reconciliation, yet watched this video twice last week and didn’t notice the whiteness in the room, I sit here and grieve alongside you.  Andrew, your response to this oversight was so heartfelt and mindfully written that it makes me appreciate you and your music even more.  What a great opportunity you now have to use this situation to humbly and gently talk about the issue of white privilege in the Church; how it’s not (usually) that the Church intentionally excludes people of color, but that we are typically just oblivious to it, and therein lies a huge problem.  This is a conversation that so desperately needs to be had.  I will be praying along with you that “this video will lead the church to good conversations, better understanding, humility and love and forgiveness between everyone affected by it.”  Thank you for being so real.

  47. Patricia Hunter

    @patricia-of-pollywog-creek

    There’s an unexplainable beauty in the light that flows out of brokenness when we lay down our defenses and stop trying to hide the cracks in our veneer. Thank you, Andrew, for modeling this beauty for the rest of us.  To God be the glory!

  48. David Mitchel

    Thank you.

    In this matter you had defenses at your disposal. Yet you dispensed with all of them and went directly to apology.

  49. Rebecca Reynolds

    A handful of white people have rushed in to try to correct Andrew’s beautiful and sensitive apology. I’ve been mulling those responses over–wondering why it’s so tempting for certain folks to respond pedantically.

    Probably some feel loyalty and love for Andrew, so they are trying to deflect his embarrassment and regret. It certainly hurts to think of a good man working so hard and then being criticized. But I think it’s also incredibly important to see his openness and humility in a wider frame–as a part of an artistic whole–the epilogue to the creative process–a doxology which completes the video itself.

    A creation is an extension of a creator. When Andrew writes to us noting an oversight, he’s continuing to refine what he began. We receive the whole of his voice when we receive his revisions.

    Friends, we live in an era when politicization of the church threatens its mission. If an online comment triggers our partisan preferences, we are tempted to instantly deflect it by rallying behind party platforms and cliches. We are so worried about the dominoes falling–worried about giving even an inch to ideological platforms we affiliate with oppression and evil.

    But we don’t need to fear or resist a sincere apology made by a good man for an honest oversight.

    We don’t need to be threatened when a fellow believer is willing to acknowledge an unintentional offense.

    This is the sort of move we need to celebrate, not correct.

    God tells us to lay down our own benefit for the sake of others, to be peacemakers, and to build up unity in the body. That process will always be a little awkward, and it will always require a posture of deference and grace. If seeing someone we love and admire do this makes us feel a little nervous or unsettled, maybe that’s because what God has called us to do is so incredibly rare these days. Maybe we are instinctively recoiling from a high and beautiful model of life that casts a new vision for how we should live day-in-day-out.

    Andrew’s apology immediately forces an uncomfortable question to the surface: Would you or I open ourselves up to such an apology?

    Instead, maybe we would slip instantly into a defensive posture, calling complaints against us silly. Maybe we would immediately classify anyone who is wounded by us a “snowflake.” Maybe we would feel more passion about being free to address the world in any way we want than empathy for the souls of those we damage in our wake.

    I just wonder if, instead of rushing to AP’s defense, we need to let the awkwardness of an honest oversight sink into a place of conviction in our own hearts. Because, you know, there’s a really strong possibility that our motives go beyond defending a singer we love. It’s also possible that we are attempting to defend our own tendencies–resisting a call to a similar posture of repentance in our own lives.

  50. Darien

    Thankful for you and your music Andrew. However, I am truly disappointed in your response to the response to your video. It is not necessarily the words of your response, but your action. After your beautifully written response, you still add a link to your music video. This does not seem like true repentance. True repentance is a change of action. I would call you to consider at least removing the link of this video from this response, and even more so to remove the video from all your social media accounts. If you really believe this video is hurtful to black and brown people like myself, then you would make a sacrifice to take the video down. Also, please re-shoot it and put another one up. Your song is powerful and beautiful. Don’t throw the song away, just the video away. I hope I have been helpful to you brother. Once again, I thank you for your ministry and how immensely impactful it has been to me and my spiritual journey. God bless you brother.

  51. Sarah Cooper

    Thank you for sharing your talent, but thank you more for sharing your heart. I’m so grateful for your humility and honesty, and I think that is where healing occurs. I know that my heart needed both this song, and this conversation, and I’m ever so thankful for both.

  52. Ronnie Neill

    I can’t help but be suspicious that the level of response to this was because of the association with TCG more than anything else. Hillsong and Bethel are painfully lacking in diversity yet we lap up their ‘worship hits’ year after year…

  53. Alma Salyer

    Dear Andrew, I’m  olive skin Mexican-american but most and foremost I’m a follower of Jesus. In him there is neither Jew, gentile, slave or free. In him I neither see myself nor others through  the lens of cultural, racial, or ethnicity but through the Biblical truth that every person is an image bearer of God, and those who have believed in Christ and have trusted in him for redemption of sin are God’s children. Those who embrace his love and walking in it should not be so easily  offended and should be quick to forgive unintentional mistakes that cause personal offense. Andrew the song God gave you speaks to the spirit of God’s children and glorifies him, but the enemy of our souls desires to use the ‘unintentional diversity oversight of the video to promote the deceptive and divisive view of the world. Thank you for your humility, but the one of the lessons that can be learned  from this is to have a  visually artistic support crew to over see the details that are not always in the mind of the singer, actor or camera crew. Let the Spirit of reconciliation rule over the Spirit of division. Blessings and encouragement to you

  54. gllen

    I listened to this song this morning at work – so only heard the words and did not watch the video.

    This song has blessed me greatly today – pointed my eyes to our Redeemer and his beauty & grace.

    I myself am in the midst of a season of reconciliation with some folk whom I have hurt with words spoken too quickly.

    Andrew, I appreciate your response, especially the call to listen – just listen – and maybe speak later with humility and gentleness.

    God bless.
    19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

    (Hebrews 10)
     

     

  55. TCobb

    Is He worthy of our praise, even though His well-intentioned, humble servants were not politically correct?

    He is.

    What a beautiful song. What an offering of praise.

  56. Matt

    It’s a great song and we plan on singing it but I totally agree that you should remove the video and re-shoot. It’s not about being politically correct. It’s about furthering the kingdom and reaching out to people of all tribes. You mentioned that you wished you could go back in time and make sure that this video is a true reflection of the Kingdom. You don’t have to go back in time. Just re-shoot the video.

  57. Sandra

    So two years ago I left the same kind of comment on MercyMe’s Flawless video, which was overwhelmingly white with just one POC, implying, “You are flawless to God…as long as you’re white.”  As a minority, I noticed immediately and felt excluded when I watched the video.  Even worse, I got pushback from people who were angry with me for merely suggesting, respectfully, that ethnic diversity was lacking.  They were sanctimonious, judgmental, and dismissive.  And there was not a word from MercyMe. So, thank you, Andrew Peterson.  I’ve left the church since then, but it’s nice to see that things are changing and (some) Christians are willing to consider how their white privilege affects POC.   (You can see the comment I mentioned here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjLlLPZderk&lc=Ugh3pTyX2AJLpngCoAEC)

  58. Sandra

    …and I just went and read some of those comments and responses to them on your video.  Yep.  The rest of the church is still not good about responding.  I’ll continue to stay away.  But thanks, AP.  Hope you reshoot it, especially to make a point to your “supporters” who are trolling people pointing out the lack of diversity.

  59. Jo

    Dear Andrew Peterson,

    This is probably a drop in the flood of comments The Rabbit Room receives on a daily basis, but I hope that there is time for you to read this.

    First off, you and your songs are an encouragement, and have been for a long time. I have been listening since second grade, and when I found out that your daughter Skye was doing her own album I was so happy I jumped. But this song.. was probably your best yet.  And then all the backlash came.

    I have to admit, the mostly “white” was a little off for me, but I was not offended. It was an unintentional happening! So the fact that you made an apology, and explained the open call (which you couldn’t really control) is in a level ahead of everybody else. Thank you, thank you for humbling yourself and apologizing. (And sir, you are not in the darkness. You’re in the light.)

    I don’t think it’s good to completely take away the video just because of this. But maybe you shouldn’t just leave it be. I know this is a long shot, but, maybe you could take the video and add different scenes of Christians- with different amounts of melanin, because there is no black or white- singing along?

    Thank you so much, Mr. Peterson, for your honesty, your apology (which most singers wouldn’t give) and your love for God. God bless you and your family.

  60. Vhh

    Do you know what I noticed? All the women playing strings. And all the women singing. I thought that was intentional, to honor women in a year that is somewhat “ours.”

  61. Rebekah Postupak

    This God-honoring confession, combined with your reaching out and listening to wise brothers and sisters, is beautiful. Please don’t allow anyone to derail or minimize the convicting work God is doing in your heart. I echo those encouraging you to release a second version: yes, it will be hard work and expensive, as fruit demonstrating true repentance (Matt 3:8) sometimes must be–but it will be all the more powerful as a result (cf Zacchaeus). Thank you for sharing.

  62. Tara Owens

    I just watched your video, and, without having seen anything else about it on social media, reacted immediately to the “whiteness” of it. I appreciate your apology and your tears.

    What I’ve learned from Daniel Tiger (and Mr. Rogers by proxy) is encapsulated in this little song: “Saying I’m sorry is the first step. Then, how can I help?”

    I hear the former in your words. And as one who loves and appreciates your music, I would gently invite you to the latter. Ask your friends of color, ask the communities who are hurt, ask all those who have responded with negativity or hurt, how can I help? Because that might just be a glorious, Kingdom way that Jesus moves to redeem in all of this. In all of us.

  63. Tim Bahula

    Thanks, Andrew. This situation reminds us of the song’s lyrics. Thanks for acknowledging your shortcoming, even though unintentional.

    Do you feel the world is broken? (We do)Do you feel the shadows deepen? (We do)

    And I pray that all the dark won’t stop the light from getting through.I wish that I could see it all made new.

  64. Joel Dipert

    As a (white) father of 3 black children, I definitely noticed. I applaud your candor honesty, and accept your sincere apology. It’s a fantastic song and a beautiful video, but you’re right! It doesn’t reflect the passage in Revelation. I’m sure it will be a huge success for your record and more. My best advice to you is to redo it! What a story of gospel reconciliation and redemption that would be.

  65. Bob Myers

    Thank you for recognizing that the very nature of the church must be racially and ethnically diverse if it is going to be able to take up the words “You are Worthy” and express them with the reality that sets the church apart from all the tribes and factions that will pass away.

    Your sin is mitigated by the following:  There is precious little Biblical preaching and leadership on these issues.   You and those who worked around you did not sense anything was wrong because so much of evangelicalism is homogeneous and white.

    It’s still a very fine song.    I personally wish you could re-shoot the video and celebrate the true and gloriously diverse nature of the Redeemed community.

  66. David Powers

    Andrew my brother!

    Despite the response from the video, this song is UNBELIEVABLE man. What an incredible transitional song from the songs of the Resurrection Letters: Prologue. The way in which “God Rested” ends with anticipation for Sunday Morning, this song picks it up into with the brokenness of Creation. But the statement “But do you know that all the dark won’t stop the light from getting through? (We do)” changes everything! HE IS WORTHY. I know your heart is grieved due to oversight and mistake made in the diversity of the video, but brother HE is working. I love your heart for those people hurt and even more your heart to know that HE will shine through even our own weaknesses and brokenness. Keep your eyes gazed upon Him my friend and keep feeling the compassion for those that hurt, in the same way that Jesus showed the greatest compassion this world has ever seen. But be encouraged that He will work even in the brokenness! Love where your heart is man.

  67. Elia Tyson

    Thank you, Mr. Peterson, for your love, your humility, and for this beautiful song. God has used your music very powerfully in my life, and I pray that He continues to do great things through you.

  68. Eloise Briscoe

    Hello Andrew.

    I was taken with the music and the reflection on the “worthiness” of Jesus when I listened. It is a glorious reflection! Very sadly, I was not struck by the lack of diversity (sadly) as I watched at first.  This really does “catch my heart”  and convict me. I do long for for the beauty that there is in the Full and Diverse Body of Christ. The gift of friendship and honest input that you have with your friends from different cultures is SUCH a RIGHT THING!! I long for that and seek that as I do life and worship.  And YES, it is at the heart of our Father.  Thank you for daring to take this moment of weakness and humility and make it public. It is a moment of teaching for us all. This glorifies God.

  69. Dave Knight

    Thank You for your response to the “Is He Worthy” video. I initially did pick up on issue until I watched and listened to the video several times.

    What you did in your response and apology was the most perfect example of how a believer, follower of Christ should respond. Your humility and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit has left an indelible imprint upon my life. Thank you Andrew!

  70. Marti Ferguson

    Wow, I had no idea about the criticizing remarks on this video. I’m very sad it came out that way. When I first watched this video, I didn’t notice the “white only” part to it, but I understand immediately that it wasn’t intended. I just listened to the beauty of the song – it is so moving.

    Thank you so much, Mr. Peterson, for your humble apology. It almost brought me to tears. The thing that makes me happy is that there are people out there who bring themselves to apologize on this topic, instead of just shrinking into a corner and saying, “I didn’t do it.” I absolutely loved how you brought this into the light. Thank you for doing it: that is the strength of God working.

    I also agree with some of the other comments on here with suggestions about changing the video. Please do not fully redo it! It is beautiful, and so much work can’t just go to waste. I think if you added something, though, like different shoots of people with differing ethnicities, it would make the video better. Just remember: this is all for the glory of God, not for men. Though, of course, we shouldn’t let men miss our point when we try to share God’s love with them.

    Keep going, Mr. Peterson. For the glory of God. 🙂

  71. Claudio Jr

    @chia

    (For what it’s worth, my skin is not white; I am Latino)

    Andrew,

    You are a poet I have known
    Who sees the beauty in the common place
    Sees incarnation in a Baby’s face
    And in a line of song our hearts
    When there is mud and blood and tears
    You sing a song at night that calms our fears
    You make a moment last a thousand years
    You are a poet I have known

    You are a poet I have known
    You build the kingdom with a pen in hand
    You conquer armies with a music band
    You plant the Word in hearts of stone
    You honor God with what is said
    And spend your soul to see the children fed
    You weave your heart in every story played
    Thank God for a poet I have known

    And you keep on singin’
    When the songs all fade
    When hope deserts us
    Your songs, they stay
    To sing the prayers when every prayer’s been prayed
    You are this poet I have known

    You turn your tears into a string of pearls
    You hold your sorrow high to light the world
    When we think we are alone
    In every man you see the boy
    The hidden heart the dark cannot destroy
    Slip past the dragons with a tale of joy
    Thank God for this poet I have known

    ‘Cause you keep on singin’
    When the songs all fade
    When hope deserts us
    Your songs, they stay
    To remind us that there will come a day…
    You are this poet I have known

    You’re walking wounded in this life
    You bleed compassion in the heat of strife
    You stand between our hearts and satan’s knife
    With just the armor of a song
    You are a hero and you’re brave
    And with a slender pen our passions save
    And chisel epitaphs upon the graves
    Of all the hearts the He has sown

    So keep on singin’
    Keep on singin’
    So keep on singin’
    Keep on singin’
    Keep on singin’

  72. Dennis

    If I were not a Christian and I found this page and these comments I think I would consider becoming one.  This is what the body of Christ should look like!  Humble, honest, forgiving yet graciously supportive! 

  73. Tobe Witmer

    Reshooting would be very expensive – but I think it would be a TREMENDOUS opportunity to point out that the very fact this happened shows why we need the Worthy Jesus.  This world is broken, as you said.  Broken because we forget other races, broken because people are troubled because someone would forget them.  We long for Jesus to make the wrongs, right.  Why not re-release the video by “tacking on” another chorus where you have a string of people from every tongue, tribe, and nation coming down the aisle and standing in the front?

  74. Keith

    Absolutely beautiful video.  I am saddened that some could not focus on the beauty of your lyrics and God’s worthiness because of the focus on the color of the participants’ skin.  I never noticed the color of any skin in the video because I was worshiping and I can definitively say I wouldn’t have noticed had the entire video been shot with people of another nationality.  I truly appreciate your humbleness and desire to give God the glory in all you do and I feel if you had purposely only chosen people of a particular race it would have been a mistake, but you didn’t so I don’t believe a mistake was made.  Be encouraged, brother.  God used you in a wonderful way with this song.

  75. Le'roy

    First, let me say I’m a mix of all kinds of backgrounds.  Now, lets get to this:  An OPEN casting call was made.  All white people showed up.  You can’t force people of other races there,  nor should you come out and beg for them to be there.  If they want to come, they can come.  I bet the vast majority of Andrew’s music supporters are white, so obviously that is the group that would be more likely to have more people there.  IF this were a video by a black musician and the whole crowd was black, do you think anyone would be saying anything about it?  VERY, very doubtful.  It wouldn’t bother me one bit.  People are people, regardless of skin color.   Racism works in all directions, people.  People have become so ultra sensitive and so PC that it is just sickening.  There is no sin in this video, and the people who have a problem with it should consider the facts: OPEN CASTING CALL.  This was NOT meant to be exclusive.  People don’t want to listen to common sense these days though, many just go around looking to get offended.

    The world would be a lot better place if we could all be as little children and our minds weren’t polluted with all the things the media and others are trying to shove into our hearts and minds.   I noticed Sunday at church how a couple of little African American girls met a little white boy for the first time, in a predominately white church and they took right up with each other.  Do you think they saw color as a dividing fact? NO, they did not.  As I watched them interact I thought about that.  None of them had a chip on their shoulders and none of them were holding any prejudice or trying to catch the other saying something non-PC…..Truly, if we could only be more like children.  Some of you folks are just out of control.  Fixing any problem starts with ourselves.  If you’re truly not racist yet some people with a chip on their should still get offended, it’s really out of your hands.  People will always get offended.  I’m sure some will get offended at this post, yet I know there are people from all races and backgrounds who agree with it too.

     

  76. Donnie Cook

    Your handling of this delicate issue was spot on. Your transparent repentance and yielding heart is a model for us all.

     

    As for the video itself ..

    I am 68. This stirs everything about and within my soul and spirit. A longing for the place I was made for… to return home to a place I’ve never been. For things to be renewed, to be like they were originally intended to be… but sin will never let them be.

    You are not a body with a soul. You are a soul with a body. – C. S. Lewis

    The context from Revelation, the culmination and conclusion of all things, has an added meaning for those of us of an age where the finish line is no longer an abstraction. Where it is understood by experience and observation that “all creation is groaning”. For so are we… and not just physically. Whereas having lived a life merely pondering and responding to the question, “Is He worthy?”, we will be rewarded to speak the answer “He is!” But no longer by mere faith. But by sight and experience in His presence. It is that close.

    Again thanks for the gift emerging from yours.

  77. Teresa B.

    Sandra – if you’re still following this post– don’t give up on Christ’s people. There are churches who care out there. I have an amazing, colorful, welcoming, beautiful church that is open about what it means to be racially and culturally diverse. It is hard, but it is good.  Keep looking, cause God has a church for you somewhere! It will be hard if it is diverse. There will be much patience, forgiveness, listening, teaching, learning, and waiting, but it will be worth it, and God is there in the middle of it.

  78. Teresa B.

    Sandra–  I also wanted to say I’m so sorry to hear that that is your story. That really grieves me to think that you’ve had such a consistently bad experience, and I have seen people neglect, disregard, or get really confused in strange ways with matters of race (and sometimes that person has been me), and this is really sad.  Best wishes in your future and thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  79. theo

    @theo

     
    To: Sandra

    Our household is B/W (and our dog is both ;), so I am certainly sensitive (though not “flawless”ly sensitive) about people who are hurt when church members are insensitive about their observations concerning diversity and feelings of exclusion.  Of course, this has been happening for as long as lines have divided cultures, colors, etc.  But a particularly alarming episode occurred in Luke 9.
     
    Christ’s disciples James & John had just seen Him transfigured and had just been rebuked for disputing about which disciple is the greatest AND for excluding another believer.  The next moment we see a village of Samaritans not receiving Christ, prompting James & John to ask Him permission for the honor to command fire down from heaven–Elijah-style–on those Samaritans, a people for whom the Jews harbored a great disdain due to them not having pure Jewish blood.  They sought to repay the Samaritans’ exclusion of Jesus on a much grander scale!  But in His divine patience, He knew in time they would learn to see men & women of any background or color as He see them: as equally precious souls worthy of His truly pure blood.  Even after Christ’s ascension, the disciples (esp. Peter on one occasion) had moments of folly in this regard, but they grew in His boundless love as they willingly followed the command of Jesus to commence the Great Commission at, “Jerusalem, and in all Judea & Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
     
    And that same John who desired to barbeque the Samaritans, later wrote his gospel which proclaims the universality of God’s salvation from the get-go (see John 1:9 “every,” 1:12 “as many as,” 10:16 “other sheep,” and 20:31 “YOU” -NKJV).  He also penned one of the most amazing pieces of literature about brotherly love: his 1st of 3 “letters” in the NT, where his sentiments include, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another,” without any stated exclusions.  If God could have patience with–let alone enlist as a top diplomat of grace–a prejudiced, insensitive, even vengeful person because He could see his future heart, let us have patience with others, whose heart we cannot see.
     
    I implore you, Sandra, give God a chance, because after all, He gave me a chance (and continues giving me chances!) I really don’t deserve.  And we can only give God a fair chance if we look at Him and only Him, joyfully undistracted by those enemy-sown tares.  Then those through whom we once felt excluded may witness God’s divine love working through us to the softening influence on their attitudes & sensitivities.  At the very least we will find an everlasting, sweet fellowship with the Holy Spirit and a mission to be the ones inviting every shade of sheep into His fold.  And leading by example–because we follow our great Example–we can live out Philippians 2:1-18 (PLEASE READ!), wherein we can identify with Paul’s gladness & rejoicing!
     
    From all who love Christ, we love you, Sandra.  If Andrew re-shoots this video, I hope to see you in the congregation.  If not, I hope to see you on the sea of glass, where we will sing the song of the Lamb, which includes the telling lyrics, “For all nations shall come and worship before You.” (Revelation 15:2-4).
     

  80. FaithfullyGay

    How about diversity not only in a racial sense but in an LGBTQ+ inclusive sense. We are part of HIS kingdom, too.

  81. Jonathon

    I am angry that you have to apologize for making something beautiful. In this article you mentioned that you had “open casting”. You cannot control who shows up and who doesn’t show up. I watched the video and thought it was absolutely beautiful. Now that I have read this article, I will no longer be able to watch the video in the same way. I hate how everything has to be politically correct and you can’t even make a beautiful song or video without someone having something negative to say about it. There is nothing to apologize for when you are following your convictions! Especially your convictions in Christ!

    1 Corinthians 1:18

  82. Holly Smith

    I noticed this when I watched the video and I wondered how our brothers and sisters of color would feel. I only felt this because I had to be trained to notice – it wasn’t innately strange to me because I’m white. I sure appreciate your apology and would love to see a 2.0 version! Even so, the video still moved me to tears.

  83. Nick

    Andrew, thank you for a great song! I run a company and we are an  equal opportunity employer. Like your open casting call, there is not a bias on who we hire. Instead it is based on who is interested in working for us. That your video had a self selected group of volunteers (yes, that is purposely redundant) who happened to be one ethnicity is not a function of white privilege or any other buzz word of the day. Instead it was likely a function of the location of the shoot, the medium by which the casting call was communicated and who had the potential of receiving of the casting call via those mediums. Hardly scandalous. Knowing your work and having met you before I am confident that your heart was in the right place and that you did your best with the resources are your disposal. Any call to reshoot is an unnecessary.

  84. Nathan

    @nathan

    Three Prayers: 1st
    Lord, thank you for Andrew’s example.  Help us all to have such a sensitive heart and be quick to realize when we have wounded our brothers or sisters—even if it is totally unintentional. Help us be quick to show love and compassion with boldness, acknowledging the wounds we’ve made, and desiring to see healing and unity.

  85. Nathan

    @nathan

    Three Prayers: 2nd
    There’s nothing to apologize for.”
    Lord,help us to be slow to defend with the cold words of reasoning, intellect and righteousness. These well intended words distract from the deeper truth at hand: that members of the Body were hurt and wounded—even if unintentionally. Help us respond with true compassion and love which seeks to see our wounded brothers and sisters restored by the power of your grace.

  86. Nathan

    @nathan

    Three Prayers: 3rd
    Re-shoot the video!
    Lord, help those of us who are wounded (and those standing up for us) realize that no action of man can un-do the pain, nor bring about the healing and forgiveness which we need. Instead may we always run bleeding and sobbing to our Father and climb up into His lap like the Psalmist, crying, “Abba, Daddy!  It hurts more than I can bear!” May we rest in your arms and receive the true healing, peace and truth that come from you alone.

    Lord could you work such a miracle in us that when we look anew upon our brother’s mistake we are no longer offended, but we see it as a landmark to your healing power and transformation of our hearts? Lord, is your forgiveness strong enough to blind us to the mistake and awaken us to our brother’s heart—even joining with him in raising a song of worship to You?

  87. Paul M Brodersen

    Andrew – so thankful for you & this beautiful song. Do not see this on CCLI yet – are you ok if we credit this to you and worship with this for Easter?

  88. Robert Neville

    @matthewcyr said it perfectly.  When the focus is on how many people of one race or another are in the video, then you’ve missed the point. No one believes there was an intention to exclude anyone.  There is no mistake and I feel sorry for those who somehow feel there was because you are buying into a worldview that is truly racist.

  89. evan bisharat

    Andrew,

    I really don’t think you have anything to apologize for. Your motives were not racial. You cast those who showed up!! I think this whole “controversy” (if you can even call it that,) is ultra sensitive / identity politics. Only serves to distract from the AMAZING song you wrote. No one else is writing songs like these. You are a blessing to the Church! This song really stirred my heart for the Lord and was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you SO much. Keep doing what you’re doing.

    P.s. The Wingfeathers will go down in history the way Lord of the Rings and Narnia have.  God bless you, brother!

  90. Dave W

    Hey Guys, This is just a little insane. Using words like “repentance” to describe this situation reveals a mindset which itself needs to be repented of. Andrew is wrong to treat this like sin. It isn’t sin. It would be if he had meant to exclude someone based on color; that wasn’t his intention. It’s okay to have a music video with only white people. It’s okay to have a video with only black people, or whatever other color. We need some serious waking up here.

  91. Luke G.

    Andrew, thank you brother!  Thank you for putting KING JESUS on display in such a glorious and magnificent way.  Thank you for exalting Him over anything in this world, including this cultural obsession with race which seems to be infecting the church and stirring a greater insensitivity toward the matter than actually helping to heal it.  In my mind, this is a non-controversy.  1 Cor. 13 says that “love believes all things” and I believe your intentions were honorable.  You used, to your best ability, the cards you were dealt with, and the result is something you should be proud of, and all those involved.  The only thing that forcing the race issue will do here is detract from the exaltation of our Lord, which is the very heart of your song, and of which your song does in a most excellent, most sincere, and most beautiful way.

  92. Tova Ratzon

    Shalom brother. This is one of the most anointed songs I have ever heard in 55 years. I have to say I didn’t pay close attention to the video as the beauty of the heart of the song took my breath away and I fell on my face before King Yeshua crying KADOSH! KADOSH! KADOSH! YOU ARE WORTHY OF ALL GLORY HONOR AND POWER!! Things happen for a reason, Andrew. I don’t know what the reason is here. I believe YAHOVAH orders our steps….if that is true….and we know that it is…then the people He meant to be there were there. Above all of men’s plans and thoughts and good intentions there is this Truth – – it is not about us….it is about HIM.  Be well, live well. See you in Zion. Shalom alechem.

  93. Terrence D

    @terrence

    If we could peer into the upper room on the last night of Jesus life, we would realize that the gospel was only for first century Palestinian men. Not a African, Asian, European, or New World person should ever feel included because the only representation that night was first century Palestinian men. If we choose the resurrection morning, then the gospel is only meant for first century Palestinian women.

    When I observe a video of MLKjr preaching the gospel at his church, I do not ask myself how in the world can MLKjr be an authentic call to follow christ because no Chinese people are present.

    If you wish to humble yourself, Andrew, by all mean follow the example of Christ that he set before us and love extravagantly; however, Paul writes love is not offended. It is especially not offended when no offense was intended. If Christ wishes to examine our lives and find our fault, we are swinging 40 foot girders and everyone we can find. In short, we are filth. I have that on good authority from Genesis though Zachariah to John to the Apocalypse. But God love the cosmos and all his good creation and sent his son to save the lost and broken. So if you find yourself unable to see the beauty of Christ and his unmatched love for a crazy number of broken feckless people in the art of a person who has consistently produced the finest lyrical content in CCM because he offered God what he had and left very little on the table; well, good luck with that, friends… He promised to merciful to the merciful, and froward to the froward.

    By the way, Andrew; come to Phoenix for a general admission concert, dude. I am dying to see you before I die.

  94. TiggVan

     
    I am sensitive to the racial issues within our culture and the church, but the racial argument against this video has a completely wrong focus. This song was written out of Revelation 5, which begins the culmination of God’s eternal plan through the only one who is worthy, Jesus Christ. The exaltation of Christ is unequivocally central and primary in Rev 5, as in the whole of Scripture. Mankind, from every people group, is gloriously included by God’s grace in God’s redemptive plan, but that is a secondary point in the passage. Isn’t taking this passage and this song, and turning the focus on mankind (the ethnicity of the people involved) actually taking away from the exaltation of Christ? We really don’t want to take any focus away from the exaltation of Christ, do we? God forbid we make the primary emphasis of this glorious passage about us. This passage and song are about Jesus Christ—period.
     

     

  95. Rob Brown

    My dear brothers and sisters…the idea that this song and passage of scripture is “not about us, but about Christ” is so empty, so misguided, and so disheartening to hear so often repeated. I’m grateful that Mr. Peterson understands that, and simultaneously brokenhearted that so many brothers and sisters, in an attempt to come to his defense (or, more likely, to defend themselves and their own convictions which are brought to the fore by his apology), are so eager to deny something that is at the heart of all the scriptures…the incessant and unavoidable truth that the worship of God, our  exaltation of Jesus, is forever and always connected to the love and concern we demonstrate in word and deed for the flesh and blood people with whom God has called us together in community. One without the other is ALWAYS false…a lie. So says Jesus (“Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength AND love your neighbor as yourself”), so says John (“If anyone says they love God, but hates their brother or sister, they are a liar; for the person who does not love their brother or sister who they have seen cannot love God who they have not seen”).  But so many of us seem more than ready to say, with astonishing sincerity, “Please don’t bother me with your concerns about how you feel right now…I’m busy worshipping Jesus.” Seriously? Unbelievable. There’s so much more for us than this. We gain nothing by attempting to justify our lack of concern, our ignorance, our apathy, our privilege. I am grateful that the majority of folks who’ve been moved to comment have been willing to recognize the truth that is hear, and I’m disappointed by those so ready to write this off as being of no account to the Gospel.

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