Monday, May 29, 2006

My Empire of Dirt

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Have you heard or seen the video for "Hurt" by Johnny Cash?
Its pretty amazing. I like the lines of the song where he sings, " And you can have it all - my empire of dirt." Whenever I hear it I can't help but think about Paul's admonition to the early church. I have grown to like this song by Johnny Cash, I guess because more than anything I feel like I share his frustration, and sense of disillusionment. It seems to express his hollowness that he now feels is attached to so much of his life and the pursuits that drove him. For me it expresses well how I feel about the modern church.

When did this become so complicated?
When did speculation become discernment?
When did gossip become a prayer request?
When did denial become a fruit of the Holy Spirit?
When did disorder become freedom and structure become legalism?

Maybe I'm just tired. I'm tired of Christians who behave as if the church is their personal platform for superstardom. I'm tired of pastors who fleece their flocks. I'm tired of slander passing for a prophetic word. I'm tired of people being so deep they have gone off the deep end. I'm tired of people being demonized because they had the nerve to speak the truth we didn't want to hear.

If we are going to lose our minds - could we at least take on the mind of Christ?
You know, the one this is supposedly all about in the first place . . .

"But each one should be careful how he builds. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames." I Corinthians 3: 10-15

Hopefully you will be able to click on the linkbelow and access the video.


madcapmum said...

I think that's the way it's always been, Ange. People do well under incredible stress, but once things settle down, they have time for picking and poking at each other again. I'll bet it wasn't any different in 150 AD or 1450 AD or 1950 AD. I think there were no "good old days" in either a religious or social sense, and the more history I read, the more I believe that.

Christopher said...

"If we are going to lose our minds - could we at least take on the mind of Christ?" amen. i often feel the same way, i get weary of the church's and my own hypocrisy. but as long as the holy spirit is still long suffering with the church, i figure i should be as well. my wife just bought that cash cd for me for the upcomming father's day, and i'm trying to persuade her to give it to me early!

voixdange said...

Thanks for your comments MCM and christopher. I appreciate and agree with both of you. Some of Paul's comments to the early church concerning behavior issues such as not being a meddler, gossip, etc make me cringe because of their relevancy to today.

jholder said...

I really enjoy Cash's rendition of this song, it is a cover, though - it is originally by Trent Reznor of "Nine Inch Nails" fame on the "Downward Spiral" album. Cash's version is infinitely better. (I'm ashamed that I know this!)

voixdange said...

Why would you be ashamed? I was vaguely aware of this myself. Is it because listening to Cash and Nine Inch Nails isn't part of our westernized Christian culture we've developed? I'm just curious.

jholder said...

"Is it because listening to Cash and Nine Inch Nails isn't part of our westernized Christian culture we've developed?"

The question is actually kind of funny, as I'm an Eastern Orthodox Christian.

No, it is just that so much of what is in NIИ songs (not EVERY song, mind you) is so psycotic and violent and non-edifying, no matter what part of the compass your background is. However, as an example of the consequences of sinful living, perhaps these are useful after all. Perhaps having listened to them, despite my now regretting it, will help me connect with someone who need to be connected someday. I dunno.

voixdange said...

Yes! Yes! Yes! You are hitting on what I am talking about! When we get so "churched" that we are no longer able to connect with the unchurched I see that as a problem.

jholder said...

You would propbably really like "The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann" - so much of what he writes about is about the dichotomy of the Church (the real Church) and the 'religion of Church', the latter which he (rightly) calls idolatry, and about his frustration with getting people to see the former over the latter.

voixdange said...

I will check it out. Thanks!