Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Singing to Momma about Satan

"I need another story
Something to get off my chest
My life gets kinda boring
Need something that I can confess

Till all my sleeves are stained red
From all the truth that I've said

. . .

So I'm gonna give all my secrets away"

- "Awake" by One Republic

I'm not much of a poet. Or at least I don't know how poetry works. Who knows? I could be an amazing poet! I might be like Michelangelo if he was never introduced to paints. (Of course I wouldn't paint naked people).

But that's not what I want to write about. I want to focus on the interesting power this songs have over me. Whether it's the type of music I'm listening or the lyrics that strike a chord (blah-ha) in me, music tells a lot about a person and what's going on inside.

For example, I've been on a classic rock kick. I caught "Give me some that old time rock and roll" last night on the radio, and it got me thinking the nostalgia for "old time rock and roll" seems to be just that pure nostalgia. Maybe it's because for me classic rock consists of a lot of 80's music. The 80's were not the epitome of "deep".

In fact my classic rock kick went so far this morning (heading to work/Starbucks) as to have me grooving out to ACDC's "Highway to Hell". I listened as long as I could handle the guilt (when my ears began to tingle) and then switched to the song above. [On ACDC: Why do so many fun songs have to have lyrics like (really screechy voice) "Hey Satan, payed my dues/ Playing in a rocking band/ Hey momma, look at me/ I'm on my way to the promised land/ OWWW/ I'm on the highway to hell/ Highway to hell..." Try singing that at the top of your voice and not feeling a little guilty as a Christian! You're singing to your Momma about Satan for crying out loud! Now that's bad.]

But then I heard these lyrics: "I need another story/ Something I can get off my chest ... Till all my sleeves are stained red/ From all the truth that I've said." First off I want to give One Republic a real hand for its play on "shed" and "said". Good stuff.

But there's something in these lines that spoke into a deeper part of me than I often recognize. Writing can be lying, or at least stretching the truth. Trying to confess something profound, or finding that life is sort of boring so sort of making stuff up. I try not to do this, but I imagine my writings have been tainted with it. I'd be shocked if this wasn't the case.

Then there's also how these lyrics speak about a weight that many of us feel. A weight on our chest begging that if we'd just be honest, really dig into truth "Till all my sleeves are stained red" we'd be relieved.

Here's the problem. It's hard to be honest. I suspect my life is so wrapped up in lies, save from Christ's work in me, that I wouldn't recognize honesty or authenticity if it smacked me ("gently please, David") in the face.

It's not that I think I'm always lying or intentionally dishonest about my life. It's just that I've worked with my fellow humans long enough to hear a lot of my own lies bounce back at me in their talk. I'm grateful for this. I'm grateful that God is ever so gradually waking me up. But it's painful to realize that this whole transformation thing is not a tweak here and a tweak there, but TRANSFORMATION!

But if it wasn't painful we couldn't make really cool word plays like truth being "shed/said." You've got to love it, and there is a whole blog of implications on truth as something that's both shed and said. Gospel undertones...

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