What is the distance between Sunday and Monday mornings? The answer, for Casting Crowns' Mark Hall, became painfully clear during an afternoon of reading through the MySpace pages of the kids in his youth group. Prompted to go there by a student, Mark's heart sank as he read their messages to the world, truths about themselves that didn't gel with the truth they embraced at church. It was in that place of disheartened discovery where The Altar and The Door, the third studio project from GRAMMY-winning band Casting Crowns, began to unfold.
'When we're at the altar, everything makes sense,' Hall says. 'We know what we're supposed to do. We know how we're supposed to live. Everything's black and white. But somewhere between the altar and the door, when we leave and go out into our lives, it all leaks out, and everything gets gray again. The Christian life is the journey between the altar and door, trying to get the things you've got in your head, into your hands, feet, into your life. The Altar and The Door is all about the journey. The realization on the journey, the struggles and the victory of seeing it as possible.'
'In all honesty,' he says, 'It wasn't just about them. The end result in that lyric is my own lament that I could have a greater friendship with God, but I don't'. It's the frustration of my own life. Why in the world do I have to force myself to spend time with God. If I had an everyday friendship with Jesus, I'd be a better encourager, I'd be a better forgiver, and I wouldn't be as selfish as I am. God has blessed me with amazing self-awareness, a firm grasp of the obvious, but I don't always 'get' it.'
It's this kind of honest intentionality that is the core of The Altar and The Door, Casting Crowns' most daring project to date. A collection of songs that dare to mark the distance between Sunday and Monday mornings, between the content of our heads, the content of our hearts and the disconnect between in between.
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