While Pillar's latest venture, Confessions, was only about half-way through production, Jesusfreakhideout.com's
Amy and John DiBiase sat down with the band's vocalist, Rob Beckley to discuss how the project was coming. In the process,
the topic of sin, confession, and the church developed into an interesting conversation...
This interview took place on: 4/21/09.
Jesus freak Hideout (John DiBiase): So, you guys are working new music, right?
How far along is the process?
We are, yeah. On a scale of 1 to 10, we're probably at like a 5 and a half. The songs are done, but most of them are demo
form, we're just getting into recording right now. Some of the guitar stuff is done, drums I think will be next week,
finish up GMA, we have to fly to Toronto, fly back in, work for like a week, fly back out and do it. It's like -
work for a week and go play shows on the weekends.
JFH (John): Do you have a title yet for the record?
Tentatively. There's still some arguing going on about it, but the one that's kind of rising to the top is "Confessions."
There were some other ones that were possibilities, but we just finished up this "Confession Tour" - and just the whole
vibe of it was really cool. About 2 years ago or so, my church did this thing called "My Secret," where just in our small
groups we were encouraged to share whatever it was that we were trying to cover up, or whatever. And there's were like
6 couples in my small group, and just the things that came out … all the way to a girl that went all the way to
sharing for the first time that she had an abortion, ya know - like, things all the way that deep. Heavy stuff.
And, what it did for our church, and what it did for our small group and all the way up through the whole, ya know,
three thousand of us at the church... It was crazy. And I thought, ya know, that would be a really cool theme to
do for a tour, if you could somehow set up a confession booth out by the merchandise tables, and you could
encourage people to go in and do their confession or whatever.
JFH (John): Who would they confess to?
Rob: Themselves, to God... It was like when you're sitting there in your room - and you know you have a
problem, and you're doing it, and you're trying to hide it from God, or you don't wanna say it out loud, because then
you'd be acknowledging it... So you just kinda think it, and God's like - "Yeah, I know." Ya know, but it's like, "yeah,
I really have this problem with pornography." And God's like, "Yeah, I know." But to physically acknowledge that -
to either speak it or to make a physical acknowledgement by writing it down - you're acknowledging before God.
"This is coming out of me, and it's on paper." And, we were encouraging them to put it in like this treasure chest-like
looking thing, and then we would pray over the box. The confession booth would have like incense and candles, and a little
picture of Jesus. For me, I wanted to do something that could start a process. Now, I'm not naïve and I don't think that
just because we did this confession, and they put a little piece of paper in a box, that they're just healed. And, so
what I was doing, was meeting with the youth leaders before the show. We would make an announcement, y'know, and there would
be like 20 or 30 people come back. We would talk, I would tell them what's going on... "This is like a confession booth,
what we're doing..." I wrote out 1 John 1:9, "Confess your sin..." "And then after the show on your way home,
I'm leaving it in your hands. I'm telling you this, because I leave town - and I can't follow up."
JFH (John): That's a really wise decision.
Rob: So the youth leaders could like follow up with the kids, and say like, "Hey - did any one go in the
confession booth?" Well, because the first step is a physical confession to God. That's why we are trying to get them to
write it out, and some of them are like, "Hey, I didn't get a chance to go the booth." And they send a MySpace message or
whatever. But, then we try to get them to talk to their friends, to their your leaders, to their parents, whoever, and they
were deep, heavy stuff, man. Like, we would read through them at night and just in that crowd of like 500 to 1,000 people,
there would be like 300 cards and every night there were some cutters, there was pornography, there was an affair, and almost
every night there was a girl that said that she was raped, and that she carries the guilt and feels the blame. Now there
were some, that were like way deep, and they would take 5 or 6 cards and somehow they would get them together, fold them
together. One girl was molested by her father at age 6 for 10 years, raped by the age of 16 by her neighbor, like -
just all this crazy stuff! And then at the end, she says, "The only place I know how to find love, is by having sex with
another guy." And, so there's a lot of hurt out there, and there's a lot of stuff to cover up, and I use this example,
because I heard it - and it's probably fairly common. Parents are dumb enough to let their kids have a computer in their room,
behind closed doors. Why? I don't know. If they do, it shouldn't be Internet-accessible, for one, but kids are staying up
all night on-line, either chatting, or looking at pornography and then they're not getting any sleep. So when they (the parents) get them
up for school, and they're tired, and their groggy, and their grumpy... Now you go through a month of that, where you're
trying to carry the guilt of knowing what you're doing, and you're not getting enough sleep... so what are you? You're depressed.
So here's some medication... take this, and you'll feel better. Now, you'll get in to where you can't live without these
pills, and you're still doing the whole no sleep, going through pornography, and you start to get worse. Well now, you're
bipolar because you're happy when you're happy - and you're depressed, and then it's just this huge process,
and you have to hurry home and you got to cover up the history on your computer... You spend so much time consumed by this
JFH (John): And, you know what's scary? I was just thinking that they also have
like iPhones and iPhone Touch... you can get Internet anywhere. So, it's just that that stuff is so accessible now.
It's almost just ridiculous...
Rob: Yeah, oh yeah! And that's just one example of being consumed by something, and therefore there's no
room for God. Because you spend so much time... like the girl who cuts herself. She wakes up in the morning, and she's got
to spend, y'know, 2 hours the night before thinking about what she's gonna wear, to cover up the scars. Or like, "it's
85 degrees in South Florida in March, but I gotta wear long sleeves." You're just consumed by covering up the secrets.
We have a song called "Secrets and Regrets" and the whole presence of that song is based off of this, and that's why the
confessions thing... there's a song called "Better Off Now." When you let go of the junk, you're better off. When you're in
the presence of God, and you allow that room. We claim that we don't have time, we're such a busy society, we don't have time.
But if you cut out the junk, if you cut out the secrets and the things that you're trying to cover up, there's a lot of time.
And, just take 20 or 30 minutes of that a day, just to be still and be in the presence of God, and to say, "You know what?
There's a peace that's overwhelming, there's a peace that can consume me. I don't need this." Dude, it'd be like -
you don't need the depression medication, you're not gonna reach a point of like chemical imbalance of bipolar disorder
or whatever, because you're gonna have a peace that surpasses all understanding. It's not rocket science, but we make it so
complicated. Like, we don't have the time to be the parent that we're supposed to be. Dude, that's like a whole other story.
But, the whole point of the record is starting people down that confessions path, of just acknowledging before God that
I'm a sinner and this is my sin, and this is what I need You to take from me.
JFH (John): I mean - have you had personal experience - you don't
have to say a specific thing, but - with like overcoming something where it was completely replaced with peace?
Rob: Oh, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Just with me and my wife... like, earlier on, I partnered up with
XXX Church... I knew about it before they started it, before they went public with it, and I was like, "dude, that's awesome!"
cuz those guys have a ministry called Fireproof Ministries, and we had just put out the Fireproof record, and so
we met up and we knew each other, and it was a struggle, and the Internet had become such a fast-growing thing.
And pornography took over the Internet like, immediately. And I had just the same struggles that all these other kids are
going through now. I have a heart for it, because, y'know, cuz I know what it can do to you, especially with going with the
XXX Church guys. People that had let it consume them so much, that is no longer an on-line addiction. Like, Craig Gross
(he is the founder of Triple-X Church), one of his friends took it so far that he got arrested for indecent exposure,
because he was exposing himself to people. It became such a fetish in his life that it consumed him. And, it's not like
he's a bad person. It's just that when you let the darkness consume you, and you don't make room for God, it's like that
old Native American metaphor of like which wolf wins the battle. It's the one that you feed. Y'know, it's like
when they're constantly fighting each other, which one wins? The one with the more strength. Y'know, and if you don't
make time for God, if you don't get it out, if you don't confess it, the secret will consume you. And, that's a tough spot
to be in.
JFH (John): That's true, man. It's interesting, 'cause it seems like a lot more people are talking about this.
A lot more people are getting active about the fact that a lot of Christians are getting up Sunday morning
or going to youth group Wednesday nights, and ya know, and we're playing our part as a Christian, but then going home,
closing the door, and being somebody else. And it's really interesting that more and more people are saying
or must be getting the pressing from God to be like, "Listen, this has to stop." Y'know, it's getting out of hand,
obviously - and it never should have been there in the first place, but it's about time someone - or Christians in general -
step up. Be there for each other instead of always putting on those, well, "We're happy and praise God!" masks and get
involved with each other's lives, instead of shutting everybody out. Cuz you go to church, you're expected to be
happy. You're expected to be perfect, basically. And I know not all churches are like that, but still...
Rob: Yeah, well, in general...
JFH (John): Yeah … and then you're like, "Well, I can't bring this problem forward,
because they're gonna see me as disgusting, and nasty, and horrible" when there's a very good chance that that
same person has a skeleton in their closet, too.
Rob: We have this couple that was at our church... our pastor is like really, just embracing of whoever and we have a pretty radical church, and he just says every week, "Welcome to Life Church, if it's your first time here, you
might find out that this church may not be for you because we play our music loud and some people think that it shouldn't be that loud, and they're instantly turned off." Like, "oh, wow - the worship was too loud." But he's very adamant about being
embracing and letting people in. Like, why do we have this stigma that you're supposed to wear a three-piece suit, and have
the tie all prim and proper to be this is the image of the church. And it's like, "no, it's not that's the image of Wall Street," if you wanna be honest. Y'know, it's not the image of the church. It's like - God never said we had to wear... He
said we had to give our best, and to wear our best, technically-speaking, your suit... it's not the best look for ya.
Y'know what I mean? So this couple came to our church one Sunday, and they were like, "this is an amazing church, we love it
here. This is like the most comfortable we've ever felt in the church, and we're really
wanting to try to get into a church. We're not Christians..." and the guy said, "I'm in pharmaceutical sales," and the
girlfriend said "I'm a dancer." Well, come to find out: she was a stripper and he was a drug dealer. Like, after they
started getting to know them more, and they felt more comfortable, y'know, the next week they met them again, and they felt
comfortable sharing, so he's like, "you know what? Don't feel bad, you guys can't feel bad about who you are or where
you're at right now because you didn't know. And now, let's get you in a place where you can learn and where you can
make your own decision on whether you wanna be a follower of Christ." So, he invited them back, and they said,
"We wanna be a part of this church, but we just don't know - we don't know how to follow Jesus."
And he said, "I'll tell you what, here's the first step." And he handed them a stack of the pamphlets. He's like, "I want
you to be our greeter." And so they had them be the greeters at the church. And the girl just straight up said,
"But what if somebody recognizes me?" And he said, "Well, shame on them." He's like, "You're here for the right reasons,
'cuz you wanna get your life into a place that's Godly, and you're doing it genuinely, you're pursuing God and you know
something's going on." And since then, they both have been saved, they both are members of the church.
JFH (John): Wow. That's amazing. That's what Jesus would have done.
Rob: And you know what? Where I grew up? Those people would never have even been let in the door.
In a small town, Methodist church they would have been frowned upon, they would have been like, "You're a drug dealer, you
don't need to be in our church." Y'know, and that's what it's all about - is showing people Jesus, not telling them about
Jesus but showing them first, where they're like, "This is awesome, tell me about it." Y'know, and Jesus never
approached anybody with word - it was always with action first. When He approached the woman at the well, it was to go
and help her. He didn't go and yell from afar, "Hey, you're a prostitute, get away from that well." And then go talk to
her over here.
JFH (John): He showed her love.
Rob: Yeah, He went first and took action, didn't speak. And that's what people want.
They're afraid of action. It's easier just to speak. It's easier to throw a stone than it is to walk up and
say, "Okay, I don't know what to say..." It's nerve-wracking.
JFH (John): It is, man. That's awesome. I'm really encouraged that you're doing that.
JFH (Amy DiBiase): I think the confession box is a great idea, because you are
gonna find a lot of people coming to your shows that are not from that Catholic upbringing. And, once I realized what was
different about my Methodist upbringing versus Catholicism, and once I realized that there was the thing called confession,
I actually often thought to myself that I would like that.
Now, how the heck am I gonna pull that one off? I mean, I was in a Methodist church. But, I often envied the ability for
the Catholic people to have this open door policy where they can go in that little box and they can say anything.
And they don't even really know which priest is on the other side, but they know that they won't be judged, and they
won't be convicted. I didn't really feel like I could talk to anybody.
Rob: You can't say that in a church, because, it's like, God forbid you say, "I had an affair"
on my wife, especially if you're on staff at the church. It's like you gotta cover that stuff up. God forbid that ever gets
found out. And then if it is, if you are of pastoral staff and there's some bad decisions, and there was an affair,
I think it's so wrong that these churches just throw them out on the curb.
JFH (John): I think it is also their heart, though. I mean, if they're not sorry...
Rob: Oh, yeah. Well, they definitely should be removed from the teaching position, but to throw them out
in the cold... They need the church now more than ever and they need you to be the church, and to love them.
JFH (John): To disciple them.
Rob: Yeah, and disciple them. Y'know, we had a guy, and I heard this story - this is a great story,
"the church being the church." The worship pastor at this church ended up living this other lifestyle. He was going to all
these raves at night. And he had gotten married, he was newly married, and he was going out and ended up getting another
woman pregnant. And, there was no covering it up any more. And it was just like, "here it is." Now listen to this:
the senior pastor was absolutely disgusted and walked in and said, "Alright, here's the situation. Do you want to be
forgiven? Or do you want to be restored?" And the guy was like, "I wanna be restored." He's like, "Alright. Don't talk to
me for six months." And then he walked out. Like, the pastor was furious, because there was no integrity in this guy,
and he was doing all this stuff, leading worship and then he was doing all this stuff. So, they gave him a job.
They got him a job at like Home Depot, or something like that and he had a board. Five members of the church that were his
accountability board, and he had to meet with them once a week. And they literally walked him through the restoration process.
Of - get this junk out of your life, this is where you need to be, here's where you are, this is where we got to get to.
His wife that he was married to, they adopted the child, but they still allowed the legal mother to be a part of that child's
life. He has legal custody basically. And now, he has grown up, he is actually now on a pastoral staff at another church
ten years later. And it's like... if the church - now that was a lot of work, and he put a lot of people at an inconvenience.
A child, his wife, this other lady, his pastoral staff, the congregation because it was hard for them to digest.
But, they were all there for him. And, they went through a lot of work to help him be restored and back into the loving
hands of Christ.
JFH (John): Carrying each other's burdens.
Rob: Exactly. And that stuff encourages me so much. Like, it's okay - share your story,
because there are people that want to help you. And to hear stories like that, cuz unfortunately, you hear people get the
boot. Like, "See ya later! Hope you do good … good luck finding Jesus!"
JFH (Amy): The Amish are not the only ones who excommunicate their own.
Rob: Oh, no! No, no, no, not at all. But, yeah, those are encouraging stories though.
JFH (John): Yeah, definitely!
JFH (Amy): Well, thanks so much Rob! It was good talking to you!
JFH (John): Yeah, we appreciate it!
Rob: Yeah! We appreciate you guys!
Pillar's new album, Confessions, is available now wherever music is sold.