The term, “catechism,” is defined on Dictionary.com as “an elementarybookcontaining a summary of theprinciples of theChristian religion,especially as maintained by a particularchurch, in theform of questionsandanswers.”
So, why would the troubadour that is Kevin Schlereth give his newest release such a title? At its core this album is worship-driven. This release seems to be functioning as Kevin’s personal catechism, though any authority doesn’t come from him. It’s Kevin wrapping his mind around the core tenets of his beliefs—intertwining doctrine with the highs and lows of living out faith day in and day out.
There’s a lot to be picked apart in the songs. I won’t comment on all six songs specifically. But I will dive into the bigger picture of how this album makes me feel; I tend to experience music emotionally first and then dig into the details a bit later.
As I mentioned above, Catechism is worship at its most honest. I immediately recognized album opener, “Tables,” from a recent house show, which was great for a sing-along. The song stands out by taking a scenario in which Jesus praises the faith of a follower and spins it into a plea, “Feed me the scraps of Your Table, oh God!”
Much of this album can come across as a plea, even desperate at times. Even singing out scripture as he does in “Meek,” the final stanza is sung with a hint of—dare I say it—pain. I think the lesson is that we should seek out truth regardless of what we feel. The trials we face, our feelings, and our perceptions do not impact reality. So we should focus on what is unchanging rather than what is fickle.
On a lighter note, my favorite thing about this record is the way it recalls past worship experiences I’ve had. Some of the most profound have been with small groups of people, with zero electronic amplification. “Trinity” in particular is nostalgic for me. It recalls memories of worship outside of my dorm at Wheaton College, around a campfire, or even in the rain beneath the shelter of a patio at a youth conference when I was 15.
Catechism is worth a listen even if you’re not a believer in Kevin’s particular worldview. Check it out on bandcamp. Then give Kevin a follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.