Friday, December 30, 2011

Who's that walkin' down the road?

This year at our life group's white elephant exchange, I think I got the best gift of all of 'em, me being the type who loves to both study people, individually and corporate (hello psychology degree!), and subsequently poke fun at the things such study uncovers.

The gift?

This book right here

It's basically very similar to the [now seemingly defunct] Stuff White People Like blog I used to follow, only it lambastes the stereotypes seen within the [primarily protestant] Christian church - a sampling of such is available at the author's website (true story, I didn't see his self-proclaimed connection to SWPL until AFTER I'd written the above)- and despite the bordering-on-irreverent humor, there are wise little nuggets of insight also.

One of my favorite bits in the book is filed under "Secret Christian Bands":
Write songs about your girlfriend and God.  All your lyrics should be interchangeable so that if people in the audience want to pretend you're singing about God, they can.  If they want to pretend you're singing about your girlfriend, they can.
I've noticed this trend for a long time, and Jon Acuff calling it out in his fun, tongue-in-cheek fashion gave me a serious case of the giggles.  (Well, really, the whole book did.)

And, for me, I've also done the inverse with secular music that could be Christian (something Jon also blogged about, and made me laugh out really should go read that one if you'd like a laugh) and found myself waxing theological/philosophical about [please read the disclosure statement that follows before you click] P!nk songs/videos (posting a youtube link on Facebook was NOT the best manner for me to do this in as the title showed in a thumbnail and posted in everyone's newsfeed that was friends with me.  I heard about it.  So, full disclosure: there is visible profanity if you click that link.  I hope you don't let that deter you because the video is Full o' Power and can help others see what life is like in a very fallen and hurting world, lest they've forgotten and/or have suffered only 'acceptable' pains in their lives....still a little gun-shy, I guess).  I've long done this with do-gooder songs like Jewel's Hands, Life Uncommon, etc (she is one of my musical heroines), Jack Johnson's Own Two Hands, almost anything by U2, and many other songs - generally, those songs that speak to my soul don't talk about missing someone's taste, so it's not such a leap for me to hear God talking to me through secular music.  I think.....

Anyway, tonight, it was Daphne Willis' Bluff that had me hearing the Spirit.  I mean, besides the soulful timbre of her voice, the lyrics struck me.  (Now, I know that this song is sorta last year and all, but I only discovered her 6ish months ago on NPR, and promptly downloaded a bunch of her music.)  Tonight was the first time I really heard it.

We're going to do a little lyrical analysis here - song (Holy Spirit?) in black - my thoughts in green

When you figure it out you let me know,
This indecisive nature of yours is really beginning to show,

God, are you reading my blog now?  I've put it out there that I'm indecisive in the taglines.
You got your time to find your voice,
You got your space to make your choice, 
A way to go, 

And you gave me time to sit, 
I'm sorry, I've just left You on the wayside.  Don't know what my problem is thinking I'm on my own in life. Old habits die hard.
And a place to get to, 

Where now I know,

You don't know what you want, 

Isn't that the truth?
But you think that what you've got is not enough, 

I know...yet I have glimpses when I see just how good I DO have it.
And I keep tellin' you that getting things right can be so tough,

True 'dat.
Guess what,  you're not so tough,

But do you really have to tell everyone else?
So I came back here to call your bluff.

That's the amazing thing about You - no matter how defensive or neglectful, or just plain selfish I am, You are always coming back for me - calling my bluffs.
You don't have to let me know a thing cuz I figured you out, 

Well, there is that omnipotent thing
See all this time I thought at least you knew what you were all about, 

I thought I did too...but it changes so quickly. I feel like I'm always just on the verge of knowing and then I'm going a different direction.
And I waited to let you decide what you could do without, 

Just because I haven't pursued You doesn't mean I think I can do this without You...I know that sounds lame, because it is.
And I watched your contemplations expose the shadow of your own self-doubt.
Pay no attention to that [wo]man behind the curtain!  Yeah, I'm just as successful at hiding it as the Wizard of Oz was, huh?

You don't know what you want,
But you think that what you've got is not enough,
And I keep tellin' you that getting things right can be so tough, 
Guess what, you're not so tough, 
So I came back here to call your bluff.

And all of the times you made it,
Like you were the one who waited,

But I never hesitated to call,
Double ouch.  So true.  Forgive me.

And that's not what this should be,
No, it's not - I'll try harder
Just a series of blame between you and me,

It's all on me, God.  I never blamed you, I just....grew distant.
Cuz the bottom line is far above it all.


You don't know what you want,
But you think that what you've got is not enough,
And I keep tellin' you that getting things right can be so tough,
Guess what,  you're not so tough,
So I came back here to call your bluff

If you couldn't tell, I've been in a sort of spiritual slump....for awhile.  It's not that I'm wrestling some Jacobean match with God.  It's not that I've fallen into sin.  It's not that I'm doubting.  It's more about that subtle sneaking up of discontent and wanderlust that has distracted me from what is going well in my life, and from whom all those good things have utterly... freely... and graciously been given.  It's about flying by the seat of my pants and not being intentional with my time and habits.  It's about a life-long bluff I've told myself in order to not reel when loved ones let me down: The only one who will see to it you have what you need is you.

Thank you God for calling my bluff, especially through a lesbian woman's secular song.  

That's Stuff that this Christian likes: Equal opportunity.

I'll leave y'all with this quote from The which my title refers, contrary to its old black spiritual song connotation.
“Does that mean," asked Mack, "that all roads will lead to you?"
"Not at all," smiled Jesus..."Most roads don't lead anywhere. What it does mean is that I will travel any road to find you.” 
― William P. Young, The Shack
How does God speak to you?

1 comment:

  1. I am dying to read that book right now. And I honestly don't know why I find it so funny picturing guys at a concert WITH their girlfriend but singing about God in their head. HILARIOUS.

    I've never been to the stuff white people like website, I'm going to click over there now, if I get lost and don't come back all day I blame you!