by Randall S. Frederick
Australia’s Hillsong Church remains one of the premiere powerhouses in Neo-Pentecostalism, rivaling if not exceeding media-savvy predecessors like Jimmy Swaggart, Dr. James Dobson, T.D. Jakes, even Billy Graham. Every album produced under the Hillsong label, every church opened under their signage, every former pastor seeking to “branch out” and become an evangelist with a book deal, every sermon by pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston – every. thing. touched by the Hillsong magic turns to gold. Except, of course, when it doesn’t.
With great power comes great responsibility, and with great responsibility comes great criticism. Hillsong, in this, is no different, attracting the attention of any slow-day news source looking for curmudgeon self-prophesied artists with wounded egos expelled for minor or moral offenses still find its way into the headlines and footnotes because – hey. That’s the price of being a big name in big lights.
Tanya Levin’s People in Glass Houses: An Insider’s Story of a Life In and Out of Hillsong (2007) was a major blow to the public’s perception of the church and especially the pastoral leadership. It wasn’t long before more stories and allegations began to surface – humor from sermons taken out of context, gaps in the financial reports, the leadership’s repeated insistence that they lived a modest life with their private real estate holdings were “similar to an Anglican vicarage or a Catholic rectory.” Naturally, even well intentioned explanations went awry and blew up online through bloggers with an ax to grind, seeking to blow out the Houston’s candles to make their own brighter. It was, and remains, very much like Melville’s whaling adventure, an exercise in taking down the Houston family. In response to Levin’s expose, many involved with the megachurch grimaced. It was a familiar story. The closer to God, the more a leader needs a “prayer covering” from devoted followers, followers who will operate as perpetual public relations puppets. One of those supporters was Tanya Riches.
Tanya Riches chose to break away from Hillsong around the time that Levin’s book was released. Since childhood, she had felt called to write songs. Over the years, her singing and songwriting abilities attracted the attention of the Hillsong music machine and she found her star rising at the age of 15. Just before Levin’s book was released, she began traveling under her own name. It was a decision that had nothing to do with the issues raised in the book or dissatisfaction with its senior leadership. In fact, Riches maintains her affection for the Houstons and their children. Still, she decided to study theology – which is how we met – and at the request of her Masters supervisor, published her own academic account of the church. Her Masters thesis, Shout to the Lord! Music and Change at Hillsong: 1996-2007, was the first ethnographic research of its kind as an inside account of the church.
Both women moved on with their lives after Hillsong. Riches continues to publish academic research and in 2012, Levin released a second book. Crimwife detailed the romances that inmates develop with women outside of prison — including Levin’s own five-year relationship with an inmate at a prison she worked for as a social worker. She subsequently lost her position. Meanwhile, Riches moved to America to attend Fuller Theological Seminary for her doctorate and continued her music career, eventually returning as a member of the church. And Hillsong? Hillsong continued to build its music brand, and the church began planting churches in London, then New York, and now Los Angeles. In the intervening years, the humble church had become a recognized name in music, exporting the very hierarchy that Levin had criticized to other regions of the globe.
Having worked with churches for over a decade, many of the issues Riches raised with me concerning her almost three decade relationship with Hillsong sound like the issues any church would have. An occasional hurt ego, the trouble of a growing church, and financial entanglements which made sense once they were explained in detail. Leadership whose aggressive “discipline” could also be seen as a testament to strong cohesion. In my conversations with Riches during this time, I’ve never heard her say a critical word that was not entirely explainable. So what gives? How can Hillsong be both divine and demonic?
Against all odds, the “Two Tanyas” became friends and remain in contact with one another even though their perception of Hillsong remains diametrically opposed. Their friendship, as evidenced online, is brutally honest. I recently interviewed “The Two Tanyas” to discuss their experiences with Hillsong and how their experiences of the same events could be so radically different.
What brought you to Hillsong Church?
Levin: My South African Jewish mother and my English Anglican father converted to Pentecostalism when I was eight. Later, when I was 14, we moved to the area where the Hills Christian Life Center (Hillsong Church’s first incarnation) was the local Pentecostal church.
It was small then, only about 300 people in the congregation. By the time I was 16, I was attending two services on Sundays as well as youth group on Saturday nights, but even though I loved the community, what was being taught just didn’t sit right.
Riches: My journey to Hillsong started when I was about five. My parents made a decision to leave their Anglican church when the pastor rejected the spirituality of the charismatic movement during the mid 1980s. As we lived in a pretty “British” area, I’ve always suspected he was resisting the “Americanization” of the Australian church. After a church split, my parents floated out of established services for a while, hosting small gatherings to sing charismatic songs and read the bible together, but eventually felt they wanted to contribute to a more structured faith community. Hillsong’s music was slowly appearing in contemporary Anglican songlists with a new sound, along with reports it represented a genuinely Australian charismatic church. After visiting, my parents believed Brian Houston provided strong leadership focus for the people at Hills CLC but with the freedom of worship they desired.
We turned up at the warehouse in the late eighties, when there were under 1,000 people in attendance. As a small child, I just remember seeing girls in taffeta bubble skirts – the kind that was so in fashion then – and instantly, I made a new friend, who loved my little navy sailor dress, no less! It’s so funny, I realize now it was a Sydney tribal thing – the shiny nouveau riche Hills District meets a North Shore, ABC-watching family – but I still always felt included. While my parents were in the service, I attended children’s church, and when they opened a youth group for teens, my brother and I joined. I was thirteen at the time, he was eleven, and he became the mascot because he was so small. There was no way he would let me go to youth by myself.
I made many great friendships at youth. That’s where I met Levin. She was funny and older. At the time she used a different name, Tanya Proudfoot. We had a mutual friend, Jane, who used to look out for me and make sure I didn’t get squashed in the moshing. The musical worship was high energy and the older boys didn’t always look underneath their feet for smaller kids when dancing. For a while, if no one was “slain in the Spirit” at youth, we were worried. Hillsong quickly adapted to trend, and Toronto Vineyard Fellowship manifestations were followed by expectations of Brownsville Revival type meetings. But eventually the church became less and less interested in third wave charismatic-ism and its worship expressions began to reflect that.
It sounds like you were both encouraged to think for yourselves – which is a really healthy thing, I would think, at an early age. But both of you left the church for a period. What drove you away?
Riches: When I was 15, I wrote a song at the youth camp that was eventually sung by our church. This led to my involvement in the church’s music department. At the time, we had a motto “whatever it takes”. Three of us looked after young musicians in the youth band – Reuben Morgan, Marcus Beaumont and myself. In order to help our band, I ended up doing a lot of administration – photocopying of charts, structuring events, scheduling band members, pastoral followup. I led the the youth choir, which basically meant that each week I’d ring about a hundred young people, to connect and encourage them, helping them pursue their artistic giftings through the church. It was a lot of work. Someone later told me that they had to employ six people to cover what I did! I’m sure it’s not a true story but it made me feel better about my capabilities at the time. Anyway, I did this until I was 23 and then our team decided to “retire”. I guess it was just a natural sense of moving on, becoming a worship pastor at an affiliated church.
Levin: For me, there were many aspects to my leaving the church. Despite wanting more than anything for Christianity to be true, I couldn’t defend the text and the worldview that it demanded. This was at a time when Hills was changing, as well. By the end of my time in high school, they had become focused on fundraising and recruitment and were stepping further and further away from the charity orientation that had been so important to my understanding of Christianity. The break really came when I became aware of some corruption within the church. I wanted very much to continue believing, but it became harder by the day. It wasn’t a simple thing; it really distressed me to the brink of insanity and something had to give. So I stepped away.
Riches: There’s been lots of ups and downs for the church. I think some of the hardest to deal with was the international attention Hillsong received for its music, with people flying to Australia to visit, sort of tourism, if you’d like. The numerical expansion was also difficult. And then the media onslaughts.
Levin: Altogether, it was about 12 years I spent with them. As an idealistic twenty-something, I wanted to live a life free of hypocrisy. I was not prepared to live according to the standards of the church and of the Bible, but I also wasn’t prepared to lie about it. I feared the afterlife and my inevitable punishment, but the truth was, I couldn’t pretend to be someone I just wasn’t. But it wasn’t until Pastor Brian Houston’s defended allegations of his father’s sex offences in 2002 that I was liberated from the control that a church like this can have.
Riches: Well, we disagree on many things. But let’s be clear – Frank Houston, “The Bishop,” was de-credentialled. At the time, this was believed to be the appropriate course of action. He was a beloved and esteemed visiting preacher, but was never a part of the original congregation, Hills Christian Life Centre, which became Hillsong Church.
Levin: Rather than offer any kind of apology or guarantee safety for the children in his church, Houston described the enormous effect the allegations had had on his own family, and he asked for prayer. As the entire audience stood to applaud and support him, I became thoroughly aware that if there was any kind of hell, it wasn’t me who was bound for it.
Riches: Of course in Australia, we are in the process of a Royal Inquiry and I believe we should leave any commentary on this to the committee. But what I will say is that I personally feel overwhelmed at the thought that Brian Houston would have to face his father’s misdemeanors in a public setting. The day he addressed the congregation, I was in attendance. I think he genuinely thought everyone would leave the church. It was a public announcement, and there have been various initiatives following, such as the SAFE program being implemented. As I see it, there’s no way this event defines our community in my mind, and it shouldn’t define how other people think of the multifaceted transnational organization of Hillsong. If it does, this makes me sad. I’ll admit it, I clapped to show my support as Pastor Brian announced his father’s credentials were removed (the worst punishment at the movement’s disposal), but I would hate for that to be perceived as a lack of compassion for any victims. I felt empathy for Brian and I wanted to say “the sins of the fathers shouldn’t be visited on the sins of the sons.”
It feels to me like your experiences were pretty similar up to a point, and I’m interested in that. How is it that you grow up together, you have the same experiences, but you see it so differently? All of the stories about Hillsong really hinge on this – people just perceive things differently, like there is some kind of misunderstanding. If things seem fine, you stay. If you have questions, you have no other option than to leave.
Levin: There is no misunderstanding. When I first left the church, I assured myself that I was causing no harm because I did not want to interfere with anyone else’s salvation. There were still only about 1,000 people then and –
Riches: No, more like 4,000!
Levin: – I made a promise to myself that while they, Hillsong, kept to themselves, I didn’t have to do anything. If they were to start to infiltrate unsuspecting outside organizations, then I had to act. It was a moral conviction, nothing more. We can’t change the whole world alone, but we each have a responsibility to act on the wrongdoing that we know about.
Wait. What do you mean by that exactly? “Infiltrate”? Are you saying Hillsong is some kind of cult?
Riches: (laughs) She says it’s a cult, so there you go! Unbelievably, the media usually takes her word on what Hillsong is or is not.
Levin: The Hillsongs of this world can only work in resource-heavy environments. Without the lighting and music and sound system, it would not be nearly as appealing, or compelling. That, in itself, speaks volumes to me. This highly polished system is the religion of the rich white man. It is founded on middle class values of self-improvement with some charity thrown in for “the feels.”
The literature and research on how cults operate are very consistent. It is a fairly straightforward process, unfortunately, and quite similar to the dynamics of domestic violence. People don’t usually get involved in extreme religion or abusive relationships unless they are vulnerable, or going through a transitional phase in life. This is why evangelistic churches such as Hillsong target youth so heavily, at a stage in life when people have not formed their abilities to think critically and evaluate clearly.
Riches: Well, in my opinion, which is by no means the official position, Hillsong’s audience does seem polarized at times. A part of that seems to be about proximity to organizational decision-making, and participation in its rituals. There are a few ex-members that seem to have just ‘cooled off’ in their affection for the church but people seem to be either lovers or haters. In the decades of involvement I have had both up close and now attending but a distance, I haven’t personally seen anything that would make me believe there is any corruption. But I wonder if high involvement in the church makes you less aware of what your ordinary atheist neighbors need. Staff are so busy attending the various meetings and things. The pace can be breathtaking. There isn’t always time to stop and try to work out how to engage the media positively. Increasingly, this is happening, but mainly Pentecostals just get on with the business of church.
Levin insists on saying Hillsong is a cult. But I don’t agree that it is. I don’t agree that the lights “make” the community function. She’s depending on a sociological reading that isn’t really equipped to deal with personal religious commitment. By her definition, lots of things are “cults” and the word should maybe even be redefined positively. When we have these types of discussions, it’s pretty technical and based in our different views. I have to admit, I’m not that worried if sociology and social work read a Christian organization that way because there are theological readings too. And anthropological ones. Who has the ultimate finite, or even an “objective” view of any community? I definitely don’t claim to.
Levin: The vast majority of people inherit their spiritual beliefs from their parents, like I did, and don’t know any differently. Most people who are new to the church enter after a significant loss, such as a death or marriage breakdown, or while they are at university, when people are open to changing some of their values. Being surrounded by loving, caring people is appealing and it’s only after the honeymoon phase is over that people find themselves committing to more than they ever anticipated, time wise, financially, socially.
Riches: I don’t know that I see a problem in continuing a family religious commitment, and I would disagree that all members enter at a period of vulnerability. ‘Deprivation’ theories have been significantly challenged in the Pentecostalism literature. And while the media continues to stereotype Hillsong attendees, I’m not convinced there is in fact a “problem.” It’s a church. Hillsong church has a wide appeal and exposure – a large “platform”, I guess. I believe the Houston family is committed to local and organic community building, even as the church is expanding transnationally. Many attendees are successful in their careers. They draw people from the top, middle and bottom of the social spectrum into one worshipping community.
What’s something you agree on?
Riches: Both Levin’s and my heart is aligned in our compassion for the powerless people of the world. But we have different ways of working towards this goal. She thinks the church stands against the powerless, I believe that it is for the powerless. I do think churches can produce transformative growth. So does education (we both also agree on that). But education is a privilege that we both can’t assume everybody has had.
I believe my community changes for the better when I change for the better! And, if I can see something is “wrong”, my community learns when I articulate it, and adapts to create more functional or equal systems.
Beyond all of the analysis is my personal commitment is to follow Jesus. And I’m grateful to the church for helping me in this quest. [Levin] no longer holds faith. It’s not a crime! It’s sad to me personally that she can’t experience this because my faith is so important to me. I can’t imagine not having it. It’s hard to convince someone of the value of faith community who doesn’t share faith. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. In fact, I see Jesus as a character who was friends with everybody. It didn’t make religious people happy, but He was.
I want to focus now on where your lives have taken you. Riches, you went to seminary and are in the process of gaining a doctorate. Levin, you became an author. How have the subsequent years made you into different people? For instance, do you still attend church? Have you converted, become an atheist, or is your faith nuanced?
Levin: I’m still unsure of the concept Riches presents of God – how can he be so benevolent given the explicit depictions of his terrifyingly jealous, murderous, spiteful, and inconsistent nature throughout the very text that Christians use. We’re talking about a god that wanted to wipe out everything he’d ever made by the fifth chapter of the entire book! He realised he’d made a terrible mistake early on, which raises all kinds of questions for what comes after, from rolling dice with Satan over Job to the great fiery lake in Revelation. Those are not very appealing for album sales or church [growth], so they don’t talk about it anymore.
There is minimal reference to sin or hell anymore, which is what the point of Christ’s life was. Nowhere did I read that Jesus was sent to be the boyfriend that holds you through the night or gives you self-esteem. Maybe they should call it something else, because I don’t understand how it’s related to Christianity, when only some parts of the dogma are deemed true.
My best advice would be for people to sleep in on Sundays, save at least 10% and watch wealth creation seminars on YouTube. There are much better motivational speakers out there to help you manage the regular ups and downs of life.
Riches: [Laughs]. Well, I think everyone’s faith nuances over time. As we grow up, we grow, and change on some things. I still have a commitment to the biblical text. But I think I read it now less like an appliance manual, and more like a sacred and ancient map. I’m sure some people I grew up with and who left the church think I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid. But I’m always happy to reconnect and have coffee. We shared our lives. I genuinely love Hillsong, and try to worship there as regularly as I can, to be a part of things. It’s hard while studying an international PhD, and doing music, while my husband works in a full time capacity with street kids. We don’t always feel chirpy! But we are committed to our friends and our faith.
It seems the unlikeliest of friendships. People might ask how the two of you could be friends, or would say it’s not possible for women of different religious persuasions to be friends. What do you say?
Levin: Tanya Riches is one of the most genuine human beings I have met in my life. She sincerely cares about the people in her life deeply, and treats them all as equals. She doesn’t play favorites. And she cares about me. Whatever happens, she does what she can in her power to make a situation the best it can be for everyone concerned. She leaves no one unaccounted for. That’s the kind of Christianity that is so rarely seen embodied.
But mainly, she’s kind to me. And that’s what a real friend is. Overall, she is too kind and it worries me that she doesn’t keep enough for herself. She’s brave, strong, outspoken and open minded. She’s not afraid of being wrong. And those are qualities that inspire me to do the same.
Riches: I know this will be hard for some Christians to read, but I do love Levin. She makes me laugh. She can be ridiculous, over the top, and her comments can hurt people, but I think a lot of our understanding has to do with our similar upbringing, having similar Pentecostal teen experiences, and maybe, also as women attending the same university. We both know we are privileged and that we have to reach to listen to more voices than only the ones we grew up with in our comfortable Sydney suburbs. We both try to make a difference. She’s a single mum and author. I’m a student and writer. We share a love of written words.
Levin: I know what binds us together the most is the passion for social justice and the deep distress that becomes a part of us when we encounter the unfairness and cruelties of life. We’ve both committed a fair amount of our lives, personally and professionally, to trying to make a difference to inequality. And it’s not like Riches wouldn’t be like this without Jesus. She’s just a great human being.
Riches: Here’s a story to illustrate Levin. She’s often thinking about things going on in the media. She’s highly aware and involved. But one week she was pretty quiet, and I got worried about her. Turns out, she was incredibly upset. She had heard about the relocation of some of the poorest people in our city, as the government housing had been sold. Most were elderly and some had lived in their houses for decades. One of these ladies had escaped Tiananmen Square, was in her eighties, and was suicidal. Levin didn’t see her as a “dole bludger”, she saw her as a beautiful human, and a brave story that needed protecting. Of course, most Australians would say people should be grateful for any housing the government provides. But Levin humanizes people. Her attacks on Hillsong are worst when she perceives it as a machine.
Do you ever talk about Hillsong Church? If so, what do you say?
Levin: The topic seems to come up mostly through Riches’ Facebook posts. Scrolling through my newsfeed, I come across posts [of hers] that celebrate Hillsong and I believe strongly that if you post on Facebook, it’s fair game. I usually regret any response I make though, because I always sound nasty. Then I think, Well, these people are adults, they need to be responsible for their delusional thinking, and the problems it causes. So it’s an ongoing cycle we go through.
I feel that people perceive me as someone who enjoys telling little kids there’s no Santa, which (laughing) yes, I also think is important, but I don’t do it for the tears. I do it because I think truth is important, even if it’s not welcome.
Riches: (laughing) Well, if we do talk about it, I already know what she’ll say! What I say back depends on how I’m feeling. If I’m fragile, I usually say “don’t go there” or I just ask questions until I’ve properly heard her out. I am happy to listen to Levin’s perspective, but that doesn’t invalidate mine or the church’s. What is the truth? We may never know on some things.
Levin: Ha! Riches could make a fabulous atheist one day! She’s almost there, thinking-wise. “The Family” won’t let her go for a while yet – while she’s still useful and pretty. And I worry that they will because they dispose of people easily. Especially the true believers. They’ve let far greater stars crash after ten times the service.
Riches: Oh my gosh. Ridiculous. “The Family”?! I don’t even know why Levin thinks that highly of me! It’s kind of embarrassing. Maybe that’s the issue – it’s not a firm, it’s not a television series. It’s not Bold and the Beautiful. It’s just a congregation.
How did you reconnect as adults?
Levin: Tanya Riches has always been a part of my extended friends’ network. So she had never exactly disappeared. My clearest memory is that she acted as an arbiter in a disagreement I was having with a mutual (Christian) friend of ours. She could tell that we were both distressed about the situation, but for one of the first times in my life, I was not treated as the second class citizen because of my unbelief. My experience until then was that I was expected to defer to the Christians as the good guys, and take up my place in the heathen corner. But Riches is one of those people who treats everyone as equal. I sensed that she was genuine in her concern. You can’t help but respect someone who walks the walk they talk about.
Riches: Well, I don’t even remember that, but just to be clear, my story isn’t completely perfect or rosy. When we handed over the United band and choir I ran as a full-time volunteer, I found it hard. I had given up on university to be involved and found it difficult to sit in the back rows and sometimes not even speak with people I knew because they were serving in the worship team. By the time I got down to the stage, they had disappeared. I was invited to be a worship pastor at a different church that said it needed my help. I honestly believed there was no place for me at Hillsong, so I said yes. I realize now that I was incredibly burned out. I don’t think that’s an unusual story for Christian ministry.
So, I enrolled in part-time study and became a worship pastor in a church that asked for help. When I talked to my supervisor, it was clear she wanted me to study Hillsong music. I told her I would think about it, but I was secretly unimpressed. I pitched something about the Emergent church, and she listened kindly but then said “Tanya, you might be the only person who could write on this from an insider’s perspective”. And she assigned me Levin’s text to read.
I kept reading, then looking at the cover, and thinking ‘Did these guys really publish a book about my church?’ At first, her writing made me laugh! But soon enough, I found myself crumpled on the kitchen floor, as the events got more serious, and she described a mutual friend’s death. That’s when I realized I had put all these interactions together into a friendship and was having a dialogue with this person in my head, so I might as well ring her and reconnect. I got her number from a mutual friend, and I rang. I didn’t really have a plan, I just rang to say “I’m sorry it sucked this much for you”. She was totally freaked out. She wanted to know who from the church had sent me. She kept listing names. I could honestly say, nobody. I just didn’t want her to be alone in that moment, and I didn’t want to be alone either.
Levin: Hillsong had contacted me, family members and friends under the guise of ‘catching up’ when they became aware I was writing about them. But given they had shown no interest in catching up for the previous 15 years, and that their questions were about a book, I was cautious about many of those who came out of the woodwork.
Riches: It’s the weirdest thing to attend a church that people are actually interested in reading about. I’m sure the staff and leadership were upset about what Levin wrote. I don’t even pretend to be the official voice of the church, but I figure that we’re all the body of Christ, we all have a responsibility to represent Jesus as best as possible. When I look back on some of the things we did back in the day, sure, it was weeeeird. Pentecostal preachers wore bright blue suits, and yelled about music. We did altar calls for rock music. Ewww… but thankfully things are now a lot different.
What happens when you disagree on an issue? Give me a real example of something the two of you just can.not. agree on.
Riches: Oh my goodness where do I start? most recently she’s flipping out about divergent theological opinions on hell! It’s impossible for her to understand when I say that there are multiplicities of Christian doctrines regarding hell. She only likes to admit the picture of a barbeque presided by a man dressed in red, wearing horns and holding a pichfork. For some Christians, hell is a place where God exerts his wrath for eternity. But I can’t even reconcile this God that tortures people forever with the phrase in John “God is love”. After an hour of facebook chats, we’ve found slight resolution in the concept of Sheol, as a garbage dump. A waste-land, so to speak. But she’s disappointed I’m slipping in my commitment to the biblical text. I find that hilarious, that an ex-member would be disappointed I have thought the bible from multiple angles. I consider hell a mystery, and I leave judgement up to God.
Nah, but we don’t really push it. We often agree to disagree. We know we have differences. It’s nice to find similarities.
Levin: Apparently, you can believe whatever you want in the new Christianity. There’s no hell anymore, hallelujah! Not if you don’t believe in one, amen? that would be fundamentalism, and nobody likes fundamentalists anymore. One of em just told me that there may or may not have been Eden. Go figure.
So, now, according to the ‘Emerging Church’ (who have been emerging for a while now, I hope they make it) there’s not even a set of rules to go by according to the Bible. It’s all how you read it. The context. The Old Testament is never mentioned except for tithing, of course, and the promises of long life and fertility. Not the bits about dashing pregnant women on the rocks. That’s out of context.
Why anyone would lead the nonsensical cheek-turning, self-demeaning lifestyle of a Christian if they weren’t afraid of hell is beyond me.
Riches: Ha! I guess it’s interesting for me, to see God through the eyes of an atheist. I had a bit of a revelation when she posted a comic about how many atheists feel like God is a scary monster under the bed. I realized how vulnerable our beliefs can make others. So, rather than coming at it as “you need to believe what I believe” I decided I needed to understand what it meant to be atheist. When I listen, I learn more than if I try to “correct” and “teach”. It’s actually more fun as well. If it’s true, we can explore it together and it will stand up to the test. I’m unafraid of God being shown up to be “not real”. I’m not here to vindicate Him. I know God to be real, and the most true and perfect love I’ve ever known. If that’s the truth, then what is there to fear?
 Originally published on the Hillsong website (http://hillsong.com/bobbies-and-my-finances-a-letter-brian-houston), the original letter, “Bobbies and My Finances, a Letter from Brian Houston” has since been removed. It can be found on multiple websites, including Signposts 02 (http://signposts02.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/hillsongs-brian-houston-answers-critics/) .