CMCentral:  What do you hope fans will take away from this record?

Dan:  I hope that they enjoy these songs and find a resonance in the description of real relationships. I hope it gives them a chance to examine their own world and the people they brush up against every day. It is ultimately a story of our need for God, our inability to love people well on our own, and the grace that this condition affords us. I hope that people find freedom in this record.

CMCentral:  Do you have any upcoming touring plans in the works for this record that you can share with fans?

Dan:  We will be touring this record starting late spring [with] a bigger tour starting in the fall. This record is going to be a different kind of experience live. We are looking forward to offering these songs to a live audience. This is by far the most textured and layered record we have made, and with that comes a great opportunity to be creative about how we deliver [these songs] live. There is also a cinematic quality to this record that we will tap into for the live show.

CMCentral:  Can you give us an update on Blood:Water Mission?

Dan:  Blood:Water Mission is nearly 7 years old and seems to find new life and amazing stories every year. This year we are focusing on a community in Kenya called Marsebit. It is a desert community where we have started working with HIV/AIDS groups to do testing and support, as well as helping to provide clean water in places where there is very little to no access. We are hoping to complete the goal of having clean water in 1,000 communities by early 2010. And we are continuing to develop ways to connect people here in the U.S. with people in Africa, so that lives can be transformed on both continents.

CMCentral:  Also, I know you just returned from a recent trip to Africa. Can you briefly talk about your experience there?

Dan:  It was a different experience on a lot of levels. The first difference was that we showed up as Jars of Clay and performed some bigger concerts. It was unusual to us because we normally work in Africa under the radar. Being met by press in the airport and seeing banners up about the band around Nairobi and playing rock ’n’ roll music… It felt a little strange. But it was all for a good purpose. We were kicking off a campaign designed by college students in Nairobi called “Jijue 1 Million.”  “I Choose Life,” a student organization, hopes to get 1 million young people tested for HIV by December 1, 2010. We wanted to show our support and help kick off the campaign. We also see the need for this in the United States, as HIV is on the rise on college campuses here in the States. We also traveled out into the desert. It was the first time I had experienced a real desert and the kind of people that live and survive in such a place. One of the men that picked us up from the airstrip where we landed smiled at us and said, “There is always life in the desert.” He was right. We found the thumbprints of God all over that place.

CMCentral:  Is there anything else about your new record, upcoming plans or your work with Blood:Water Mission that you’d like to add?

Dan:  This is a record for anyone who has wrestled to know whether love is strong enough to prevail. It is a record for us all. I find that these songs more than any other record have spoken things I have not always had words to express. God gave me a window into my own world, and I hope it serves as that for others… Time to get our hands dirty.

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**This interview first published on April 29, 2009.