A Pepper Grinder Post

Come with me Now

I won’t say there are no drawbacks to living (as my wife and I do) with one pre-teen, two teenagers, and someone in his early twenties, but there are pluses also.  One of the good things is that I get to hear a lot of music that I don’t think I ever would have heard otherwise.  There’s plenty of the music that I don’t like, but from time to time, I hear a song that really grabs me.  Sometimes it’s just the music that does it, but at times, like today, I find myself with tears in my eyes, from the combination of the lyrics and the music.

bushIn the early days of my Christian life, I attended a kind of hippie church called the Love Inn, that met in a refurbished barn.  One of the founders of the church was a man named Scott Ross, who was the DJ on a radio show that played on rock stations across the country. It was called, surprisingly enough, the Scott Ross Show.  Especially in the early days of the show, he played mostly secular rock songs (there just wasn’t much Christian rock around back then).  He used these secular songs as a jumping off point to talk about the Lord.  I can imagine this would sound horrifying to some people.  Using lyrics and music written by drug-using, free-loving rebels to talk about the Lord!  And yet, I think it makes sense.

I believe that all people, whether or not they are following God, have the same fears and desires at the deepest level.  There is plenty of shallow music around (Christian as well as non-Christian), but the best music is that which taps into those deep levels which we all share.  We share those things because we were all created in the image of God.

Is there anything wrong with me singing a song to God that a secular musician wrote to his girlfriend?  Obviously, there are limits to this, but the limits may not be nearly as restrictive as we might think.  Why would God stick an erotic love poem (The Song of Solomon) right in the middle of the Bible, and why have many Christians interpreted this as an allegory of God’s love for us?  Why would God use shockingly graphic imagery when he spoke to his people through the prophets?

pathOffhand, I can’t think of any aspect of humanity that isn’t touched on in the Bible, so why do we need to shun music that touches on things that aren’t “nice”?  I will admit, there are songs that glorify things which are bad, and those I try to avoid, but there are also songs which well express the joys, miseries, and longings of the human condition.

The song that grabbed me today was “Come With Me Now,” by a South African alternative rock band called the Kongos (made up of four brothers).  Personally, I adore this song musically—it has the kind of rocky, blues-y sound that really does it for me.  But listen to some of the words:

(This is the part I picture myself singing about the condition in which I spend so much time.)
Afraid to lose control
And caught up in this world
I've wasted time, I've wasted breath
I think I've thought myself to death

(The next stanza is me expressing my longing for freedom.)
I was born without this fear
Now only this seems clear
I need to move, I need to fight
I need to lose myself tonight

(Finally, this is the Holy Spirit’s invitation to me.)
Whoa, come with me now
I'm gonna take you down
Whoa, come with me now
I'm gonna show you how

Lord,  I am weak and filled with fear, but I DO want to come with you.  I want to go lower and lose myself in you.  Show me how.  Amen.