Sunday, April 22, 2007

... new tunes for old songs

so, once upon a time, i bought a double cd that was on special at a Christian bookshop in sydney. it was not a bad entry into the world of Christian music, if i wanted to listen to more than just the latest choruses from one large church or another, and gave me some names to check out to see if there were other cds i'd be interested in buying.

to be honest, i don't think i bought any cds off the back of that purchase. i listened in-store to a bucnh of others cds that didn't really grab me and the (to my mind) slightly unreasonably hefty price tags on those cds also made them hard to buy. now that i'm earning a bit more i can afford such a cd once in a while (i probably buy a brand-new cd every month, on average). it did get me listening to Christian pop music a bit more though.

cut to ten years later and i bought another double cd in the same series. wow hits 2006 brought together a bunch of Christian artists that this time i'd heard a bit more of, having friends who regularly listened to Christian music in their cars and being in a workplace that had Christian radio playing in the background most of the time. listening to the cds for the first time was like a game of "pick the tune you recognise". off the back of this compilation i have (to date) bought seven brand new cds... and counting. it's a bit scary, actually.

there's a word book store in the melbourne cbd (something else to love about melbourne!) and as i was browsing in there one day i noticed a small flyer for one of the bands on the wow cd that i quite liked - barlowgirl. i like their tunes, their harmonies, their great collaboration on a track with big daddy weave called "you're worthy of my praise" (which also features on bdw's cd what i was made for but has barlowgirl less prominently mixed). that they're young and gorgeous is a plus but, for what it's worth, i liked their music before i ever saw a picture of them.

i bought tickets and went to the concert. myself and several hundred adoring fans heard them play an hour-long set about six hours into their jet lag. they were very gracious while signing autographs in the foyer of richmond aog's church building (where i also bought some other cds at richmond aog's book stall) and had only good things to say about fellow studio stablemates superchic[k].

since the concert a little over a fortnight ago i've been listening to little else on my ipod than barlowgirl. they rock a great deal and i love the lyrics to their songs. one song has rung true for me, on my own. i'm posting the lyrics here but you really should check their cds out. (these are availbale from their website too!)

I can't believe that I'm here in this place again
How did I manage to mess up one more time?
This pattern seems to be the story of my life
Should have learned this lesson by the thousandth time.

'Cause I promised myself I wouldn't fall
But here I've fallen
I guess I'm not as strong as I thought
All I can do is cry to you.

Oh God you have to save me
You're my last and only hope
All my right answers fail me
I can't seem to make it on my own.

Always thought that I would be strong enough
What made all of them fall couldn't take me down
Yeah, did I think that I was above it all?
I have learned that pride comes before the fall

I can't promise myself that I won't fall
'Cause here I've fallen
I know I'm not as strong as I thought
All I can do is cry to you.

i don't know how common this is - i imagine it's quite common - but i often feel like i fall down a lot more than i make forward progress in my life. there are the little idols i have in my life, my little dreams that aren't so big, and it occurred to me the other day while i was reading ezekiel in my morning quiet time that these are exactly the kinds of idols that God was condemning israel for having.

the israelites didn't start out by setting up huge statues of dagon in the temple, they rebelled by inches until suddenly without even realising it they were miles away from where they were supposed to be. looking at faithfulness from this perspective makes the parable so much more applicable - "you have been faithful in a few things; i will put you in charge of many things". God gives ezekiel a vision of the city of jerusalem to see all the things the israelites had ended up doing; a nation that had begun with one man travelling from his home to a new unknown land, that had been given every opportunity to be in a more intense, palpable, living, real relationship with their god than any other nation on earth, that had ended up choosing not to make sacrifices from flocks and herds but instead give their first born children to the flames of sacrifical altars of the "god" molech; God shows ezekiel that the israelites left in jerusalem after the first deportation of judah to babylon were surpassing their predecessors in the idolatry that led to their judgement.

this barlowgirl song has been a bellwether for me, reminding me each time i listen to it to ask myself the question, "what am i putting between myself and God?" what are my idols? what are the things i'm letting block my relationship with God? the more i think about it, the more i find myself going back to old things that i keep having to give over and over back to God to take care of. i feel like a child stealing the cookie jar, gobbling down cookies, then feeling guilty and returning the jar, asking for forgiveness, then stealing the jar again. stain, rinse, repeat!

so i guess i'll keep listening to music that's going to keep helping me ask these questions, keep praying, keep reading God's word. ezekiel is amazing and such a blessing to be reading and i think God has totally put it in my way at the moment to give my introspection some depth and some perspective.

so that's me... how are you?

1 comment:

dave said...

College has made me start with the 'beliefs' page when looking at band websites... barlowgirl don't believe in dating because God has a perfect man for each of them... that seems a dangerous mindset to me.

Good to hear you're learning some lessons from Ezekiel. I'm still gathering my thoughts a bit after reading Richard Dawkins. Just as a movie like Shooter can have you barracking for the kind of Mark Wahlberg solution that we see at the end of The Departed, Dawkins works hard to create an environment where you can barrack for atheism.