About the Agnostic Gospel Blog
[This is a condensed version of my first post]
I was raised in a fundamentalist evangelical church. I was raised to be terrified of the world outside that church. I would eventually leave that church anyway, and — after some worrisome wilderness-wandering — leave all forms of fundamentalism behind with it.
While this choice was freeing and inspiring, there was one aspect of radical religion I was not able to leave behind: shame. Soul-crushing shame. It demanded that I hide myself, my art, and my voice from the world. While I fought this shame with creative tenacity, I knew I needed something more to overcome it.
Then in 2016 – that historically shitty year – I watched as our connecting worlds grew ever more isolated, divided, and angry. I felt the need to rise above my shame, reach out into these warring communities and help hold them together. With no lack of irony, I felt a calling into ministry.
With no church, no religion, and no desire to have either, the art of ministry becomes an absurd endeavor of love. With the undermining openness of faith in faith itself, it becomes a sort of agnostic gospel. And with a heart of hope, I believe it can hold us all together.
Since art shows in ways that no one can tell, I hope to deliver my message with the music and musings curated in this blog. And – if it saves no one else – at least it saved me.
About Genuine Joy Music
Genuine Joy is a moniker of singer/songwriter Joshua Wolak. Through piano, sermon and song, he hopes to steal the spirit of gospel away from the clutches of religion and deliver it into the souls of a spiritually united world.
Genuine Joy follows the vein of classic piano men (Elton John, Tom Waits), folk favorites (Simon & Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen), indie darlings (Conor Oberst, Devendra Banhart), Disney sing-alongs, and – his favorite vocalist – R. Kelly.
Genuine Joy songs will be released incrementally through his blog, The Agnostic Gospel, and eventually be compiled into album format. The blog hopes to highlight the process of creating these songs, as well as their greater spiritual purpose.
About the Author
I live in east Nashville with my wife and our three adorable stuffed animals. I take frequent walks around the neighborhood in order to frequent its bars and coffee shops.
I am a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and musician through and through. But mostly, I just play video games on Xbox under the tag Bill Monroe.