Monday, November 7, 2011


Look at all those fancy clothes,
But these could keep us warm just like those.
And what about your soul? Is it cold?
Is it straight from the mold, and ready to be sold?

And cars and phones and diamond rings,
Bling, bling, because those are only removable things.
And what about your mind? Does it shine?
Are there things that concern you, more than your time?

Gone, going.
Gone, everything.
Gone, don’t give a damn.
Gone, be the birds, when they don’t wanna sing.
Gone, people, all awkward with their things,

Look at you, out to make a deal.
You try to be appealing, but you lose your appeal.
And what about those shoes you’re in today?
They’ll do no good, on the bridges you burnt along the way.

And you're willing to sell, anything?
Gone, with your head.
Leave your footprints,
And we’ll shame them with our words.
Gone, people, all careless and consumed, gone

Gone, gone, gone, everything.
Gone, don’t give a damn.
Gone, be the birds, when they don’t wanna sing.
Gone, people, all awkward with their things, Gone.

"Gone" by Jack Johnson

Melissa and I drove down to Orlando from Chattanooga this week, and I was scrambling around for some music I could drive to. And since I'm not really music savvy, I'm old and unhip, Jack Johnson fit the bill nicely. His chill acoustic sound seemed just right for going to Florida, perhaps it's because he's from Hawaii.

I was really taken by his lyrics as well. He speaks very thoughtfully about materialism, environment and media. A little too thoughtfully...

This song was a slap to my ear-lobes. "Gone. Gone, people, all awkward with their things... Gone peope all careless and consumed."

As I approach the materialistic mess that I understand to be Christmas, his message is timely for me. I like the stuffness of stuff. It's shiny. I want to fill up a bath with it and roll around in it. Stuff makes me feel less empty.

Left to my own devices, I consume this stuff, "nothing concerning me more than my time." And, in the end, I get consumed by that which I pursue. I become stuff. My soul grows "cold, straight from the mold and ready to be sold."

It's a sad state to be in. A state of real awkwardness. I can see God arresting me in this careless pursuit: "What are you up to Philip?" "Making a bath full of stuff." "Why?" "Because I like stuff." "Are you really going to get naked and bathe in that?" Awkward silence.

Contentment is a sparse commodity. And Jack Johnson is right to ask the question "How about your mind does it shine?" This drive to consume dehumanizes me. According to Jack Johnson, we're so out of touch with creation when we do this, that even the birds refuse to sing. The birds know better.

In the end all stuff will be gone. The word "Gone" has a haunting ring to it. Stuff that will be gone is not worth investing in.

So I hope this season to be about something bigger than me. While not forgetting the joy of God's gifts, and not forgetting to bathe, I want to give this year.

I want to give so I can hear the birds singing. I know it's sort of selfish. But one step at a time right?

And I guess I want to give so I can better hear the music of God, the real giver.

I'm going to go hug a tree now...

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