Alex Figgis conducted an in depth interview with KING'S X's vocalist and bassman Doug Pinnick.
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"I don't know if you'll understand," explains Doug, "but my grandmother raised me. She was the daughter of an ex slave... A holy Baptist woman who didn't believe in anything. She taught me fear: you can't dance, you can't play music, and you can't do anything because it's wrong. She made me feel God was always watching me and always picking at me and I was never good enough. So I never learned God loves you... She never basically said 'I love you', she never hugged me or said everything' okay. I became a shame-based person who didn't like himself
"Most people," ponders Doug, "just don't understand that the reason I say and do the things that I do, is because of the battle to find what is real and what is true for me outside the box that I found myself naturally being in."
Nothing is as simple as we would like it to be. To be given the freedom within which to question and wrestle through our doubts and fears is essential. "I basically walked away from the whole concept of God and religion," Doug carefully explains. "Not saying that I denounced faith or anything like that. I've just taken a step back and said, 'OK, I'm gonna go blank here'; and it took me about a year to get it all out of my system. I decided, 'OK, this is me. I'm alone. What do I do? I have no one to depend on; no one to trust in but myself Not as a god or that I'm great or anything," he adds. "I accept myself because that was the most important thing that I had to do.
"A few years back," states Doug, "I got to a place where I thought that I was a vessel created to be destroyed. I had convinced myself that I was such a terrible evil person inside, that God made me to send me to Hell; and when I finally got to the point where that was such a reality to me, I started to have a sort of a panic attack and started crying. I thought, 'I don't understand. Why would somebody make me to send me to Hell to suffer?' So I just looked up and said, 'Stop the madness,' and just walked away and said 'God, if you exist and you care and love me, then meet me. Until then, I will go live my life the best I can,' and so that's what I've done and as a result I am at peace.
"This is weird," Doug reflects. "Most people say when they get saved a release comes. For me, when I did that something lifted; my body lifted, my shoulders came up. It was like something was hanging on to me, and it lifted; and it scared me and I thought, 'What is going on here?' I expected like lightening to come down," laughs Doug, "and then I felt peace, I felt free and I felt that I could go out and be myself; and as a result, I naturally started to do the things and be the things that the basic Christian is: loving, understanding, caring...those things that were natural to me now rather than forced; and then I stopped and I thought, 'isn't that what God wants?' He wants us to freely be this, not do it because he wants us to.' I walked home and from that day on I've been living that way."
"There's another thing too," he adds. "I was so angry from the Christian abuse that I had grown up with that I attacked the Church also in that period of time. Then I stopped and realised, 'No.' If a person comes up and says they have just gotten saved and they believe in God and it's real to them, I go, 'You stay there and you seek God and I'm happy for you.'"
What more can an abused soul do? Many can reel off relevant scripture passages, but when reality hits how many of us can be brutally honest enough to admit our own doubts and fears? How many of us have received another Jesus as a result of, fear and an imposed desire to conform to a particular way of thinking? Christ came that we might have life and life to the full; not bondage to man's self-imposed religion. Sometimes all we can do is lift our hands into the air and cry out, "Stop the madness within." Grace is not dependent upon our feeble attempts at becoming acceptable to God. By its very nature, the lost sheep is at the mercy of the shepherd to come and find it and carry it home. To most, to judge and condemn is all too easy. But to reach out in love, in the knowledge of our own doubts, weaknesses and failings, is all too difficult it seems. Yet reach out we must.
The future? "I just want to continue to make records," states Doug. "I've got a four record deal with Poundhound; and since I own my own studio, I can still continually make records and put them out. I plan to continually record music until I die. For the future of King's X? Well, we'll just keep making the music; we're like brothers and friends and we love to make this music. I've struggled and fought most of my life within myself to come to a place where I could just take a deep breath and go, I'm OK.' I can just go and enjoy my life now and be proud of who I am."
Personally speaking, I have far more of an affinity with Doug than with some who seemingly never struggle; who are caught up in religion and are too afraid to address the doubts and fears within. Our prayer must be that God, in his mercy, delivers us and releases us into true freedom.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
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