July/August 2012
SONG

“There Must Be More”

by David Ruis

Central Question: Which comes first, belief or the desire to believe?
Year of song’s release: 1994; Word count of song, excluding exact repetitions: sixty-four; Author’s professions, according to the author: songwriter, worship leader, church planter, pastor, communicator; Albums recorded by author: When Justice Shines, The Mystery, The Mystery (Acoustic), Love Has Come (Christmas EP); Books written by author: The Worship God Is Seeking and The Justice God Is Seeking; Percentage of results offering lyrics, guitar chords, and covers on first page of Google search for “There Must Be More, David Ruis”: 100

Gertrude Stein once noted that Hamlet continues to be discussed not because of what is understood about it but because of what is not. David Ruis’s “There Must Be More,” a staple of Christian contemporary music since its release, in 1994, is hardly Hamlet; still, despite its inclusion in a genre of music not known for its complexity—a genre known, if at all, for a simplicity not always distinguishable from vapidity—it remains both baffling and beguiling.

The argument the song’s narrator makes is more or less as follows: I am crying out for something real because I know, deep in my soul, that there must be more. I am tired and weak, but I keep hanging on—“just keep hangin’ on/ ’cause there must be more.” The speaker is in manifestly bad shape—groaning, kneeling, and perhaps in danger of what centuries of Christian thought have designated the worst of sins: despair. But not yet, because each stanza offers an uplift from dejection at the conjunctive pivot. Because.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please purchase a copy of the magazine from The McSweeney’s Store.

—Reese Okyong Kwon

Reese Okyong Kwon’s stories have been published or are forthcoming in the Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, the Southern Review, and elsewhere. She has received scholarships from Yaddo and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

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