Brett and Kate McKay are no strangers to the evolution of faith. But they have found that one can have significant moments of decision within one’s faith while keeping it intact. They also believe faith shouldn’t be boring; instead, it’s very possible to stay passionate about the gospel after leaving young adulthood.
In this All In episode, Brett and Kate give their perspective on the concept of there being “two halves” of our lives and letting faith mature through those two halves. They also speak about finding truth within paradox and falling in love with the gospel.
Kate earned her master’s degree in religion from Oklahoma City University while Brett graduated from University of Tulsa, College of Law. They are the founders of the Art of Manliness, the largest independent men’s interest magazine on the web, and have two children.
Read an excerpt from Brett and Kate’s episode about falling in love with the gospel below. You can also listen to the full episode in the player below or on Apple Podcasts. Find a full transcript of the episode at LDS Living.
The following excerpt has been edited for clarity.
Morgan Jones: So I’ve been waiting for this quote the whole interview. My favorite quote from David Brooks … [is], “To me, the best definition of a commitment is falling in love with something and then building a structure or behavior around it for those moments when love falters.”
And I think that this applies in marriage and in family. I think it also applies to our faith. So how do you think that we build a structure or a behavior around our faith for the moments when love falters? Because I feel like that’s where that sense of panic kind of sets in, is when people [who] feel that love start to falter. And so it’s like, What do we do in those moments? Or, What do we do to prepare for those moments before they ever get there so that when that love does seem to falter, we don’t panic?
Kate McKay: So I think I would kind of come at this from a different direction and say that I think that the Church provides that structure and those habits for us really well with the sacrament meeting and service and temple worship.
I think the thing that sometimes we need to work on and maybe [are] lacking is that we haven’t fallen in love with the gospel. I think a lot of times people have taken on the commitment without the falling in love. There’s this really great quote from a professor of preaching named Fred Craddock. And he said, “Many who say, ‘Here we go again,’ have not, in fact, ever gone before.”
And I think that church and the commitment of church can feel like a grind. And it can feel like a burden if you haven’t had the falling in love experience. And then if you do have the falling in love experience, what feels like effort and work, and even like panic can feel like a joy.
I oftentimes think about when you are first dating someone and you’re in the head over heels falling in love phase. You feel like there’s nothing that you wouldn’t do for that person. … And to kind of highlight the contrast, like if an acquaintance that you don’t know that well called you up at midnight and said, “I need a ride from the airport,” you would be like, “Ah, geez,” you know, really begrudgingly, “Okay, fine.”
But if your boyfriend called you up and said, “I need a ride,” you’d be flying out the door, and you can’t wait to get in the car and see him. And that really is the difference in the motivation when you have the falling in love experience versus not having that. And I also think that it resolves the paradox that we find in the scriptures where Christ says that “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I think lots of times we look at that and we think, How could that be true? The Church and the gospel require so much effort. But if you have fallen in love with the gospel … it still feels like work, but it feels like it’s very natural. It’s a natural thing. So I think that a lot of our problems with feeling conflict with the Church or wanting to fall out of it is that yeah, we’ve not had that kind of romance. I know that sounds weird. But I think that there should be a certain romance and enchantment that happens with the gospel.
Brett McKay: I agree with that. And I think anyone who has been on a mission has experienced how your work in the gospel changes whenever you infuse it with love. When I was on my mission [and I] first got there, I was in “first half of life” mode. It’s like, “I’m going to grind this out. I’m a type A, I’ve got to obey the rules exactly. I’ve got to, you know, make sure to give this many discussions.” I was going to make sure that Brett was doing this.
But it didn’t go anywhere. It just felt like a grind. And then halfway through my mission, I just had this epiphany, really, that, look, your work … [is] an important part. But that’s not the thing that converts people. … Christ and His Atonement is what converts people.
And as soon as I realized that, like Katie said, the yoke becomes easy, the burden becomes light. I was still doing the things I was doing before, but it didn’t feel like a grind anymore. In fact, it just felt really good to go out and do this stuff. And so, I’m always trying to recapture that feeling of lightness, of grace, that I experienced on my mission when it comes to not only my own gospel living, but also just life itself.
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