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Behind the Song: “No Man is an Island”

There’s something we all tend to do when we feel alienated by life, by people.


Instead of reaching out, we hide within ourselves. Tenth Avenue North specifically released their album Cathedrals a couple years ago addressing that very thing. They were exploring what it means to be in community, what it means to be a safe place.


Mike Donehey, lead singer in Tenth Avenue North talks about it in a band press release: “So many of us live in isolation and we really don’t have to. So the idea is: ‘Hey get in the boat with us, sail by the stars of God’s promises and reach the shore of community.’ We realize that when we start to live together, we become the cathedrals on earth. We are the place where the Spirit resides. It no longer dwells in buildings but in each of us.”


The song was based on John Donne’s memorable quote “No man is an island.” The band’s drummer explains it like this: “This song is about how we are not meant to do life alone. So often we go through life and struggles, trials and difficult times, or even great times, and we try to do it by ourselves. That’s not how we were created. We were created in God’s image, for community. The beautiful thing as believers covered by the blood of Christ is that we are all of a sudden accepted into this incredible family. We have brothers and sisters in Christ all around the world.”


Their song is reaching out and propelling people to be in community with each other.


This isn’t to say that community is easy. The band even talks about how a tour bus can cause some conflict when they’re on tour. They realize that community is never meant to be easy. It’s meant to be real. Instead of isolating in those times of conflict, they push through the grime and the dirt of human nature and do their best to see things from a Birdseye view. The drummer puts it this way: “If we are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, then wherever we go, that place becomes sacred.” It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day pettiness of life, but once we remember that we have the Holy Spirit living in us, every single place we come into communion with others becomes sacred. 


Tenth Avenue North has a new song out that you should check out, or watch the video below for a good reminder.


Author Anne

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