Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A song to Sting

Seems like a number of people are commenting on the lyrics of U2 and their subliminal or otherwise Christian message at the moment, in the the lead up to and wake of their tour, and so being something of a Sting fan I thought, just for fun, I'd join in on his behalf. Mercury Falling is one of my all time favourite albums and today at work I was listening to Brand New Day. I like Stings original lyrics and his unpredictable music (and I don't know anything about drumming but I know Vinnie Colaiuta is good - trying to tap my fingers to Prelude to the End of the Game confuses me every time - maybe I'll offer a prize to anyone who can explain that rhythm to me).

I find Sting's music so unpredictable that I can't be confident I am always going to like it. The song "Fill Her Up" I certainly didn't like when I first heard it start playing. It surprised me with it's decidedly country-western sound, but even more did it surprise me when both the music and the words changed tone nearing the end. It morphs into a negro spiritual, and these are the words:
Fill Her Up

Mobil station where I stand
This old gas pump in my hand
My boss don't like me,
got a face like a weasel
Oil on my hands and the smell of diesel
Here come a big shot from the city
V8 engine, she runs so pretty
'Fill her up son, unleaded
I need a full tank a gas where I'm headed'

Up in the front seat a pretty red head
'We're going to Vegas we're gonna get wed'
'So fill her up son, don't be staring
That's a real diamond she be wearing'

I'm gonna take my baby one day
I'm gonna fill her up and head west
I'm going find some money all right

See those tail lights heading west
I got no money to invest
I got no prospects, or education
I was lucky getting a job at this gas station

That old cash box on the top shelf
The boss is sleeping, I'll just help myself
Let's consider this as just a loan
I can sort it out later on the 'phone

I'm gonna pick my girl up tonight
I'm gonna fill her up and head west
I'm gonna show her all the bright lights
We're gonna say we lived 'for we come home

And as I head through the woods on the way back
The evening sun is slanting through the pine trees real pretty
It's like I'm walked into a glade of heaven
And there's music playing
This money is cold in my hand
And a voice somewhere is saying
'Why would you wanna take that stolen thing
And What real happiness can bring?'

You're gonna fill her up with sadness
You're gonna fill her up with shame
You're gonna fill her up with sorrow
Before she even takes your name
You're gonna fill her up with madness
You're gonna fill her up with blame
You're gonna live with no tomorrow
You're gonna fill her up with pain
You're gonna fill her up with darkness
You're gonna fill her up with night

You gotta fill her up with Jesus
You gotta fill her up with light
You gotta fill her up with spirit
You gotta fill her up with grace
You gotta fill her up with heaven
You got the rest of life to face

You gotta fill her up the right way
You gotta fill her up with care
You gotta fill her up with babies
You gotta fill her up and swear
You're gonna love that girl forever
You're gonna fill her up with life
You're gonna be a loving husband
She's gonna be your loving wife
You gotta fill her up with gladness
You gotta fill her up with joy
You gotta fill her up with love
You gotta fill her up with love
Reminds me of those "relationship" talks we had back in youth group, being encouraged to be responsible and godly, to view relationships as a dealing with another person for which we would be held accountable, to think past tomorrow to how we'd like our history to be should we come to getting married ... but I didn't expect to hear it from Sting.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The narrow path 2

Just another picture of the narrow path ...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The narrow path

It's been a while, for a variety of reasons of no interest to the world, but once more to blog. I received an email at work the other week called "The Narrow Path", which conjures up associations for those us who are Christians (see here), when it was actually a series of quite amazing pictures from either China or Japan (if anyone knows please tell me - though I can only figure out how to add one to this blog so far - maybe this will be the start of something).

With those associations in mind I was reminded of the following quote by Pere Didon, whom I think was a French priest I know nothing else about, and a hundred other quotes:
I do not want people who come with me under certain reservations ... The roads are rugged, the precipices are steep, there may be feelings of dizziness on the heights, gusts of wind, peals of thunder, fierce eagles, nights of awful gloom; fear them not! There are also the joys of sunlight, flowers such as are not in the plain, the purest of air, restful nooks, and the stars smile thence like the eyes of God.
I think I have a flare for the dramatic, but I like it. I know it's not God speaking but, playing along with one's own association, it does make one stop and consider with what reservations they come.
I really like the allegory Hinds Feet in High Places by Hannah Hurnard, the "story of how Much-Afraid escaped from her Fearing relatives and went with the Shepherd to the High Places". Much-Afraid is given the companions Sorrow and Suffering to begin the difficult and narrow journey upwards, tempted by many "fears", at the end of which she comes to the grave of her own hopes - where she must offer herself on the altar. Having made the sacrifice she awakes to find that her crippled feet are now those of the hind, and that Sorrow and Suffering have been transformed into Joy and Peace.

Will leave you to your own associations ...

Friday, November 03, 2006


Me thinks I have been blogging without real inspiration of late, and I have decided to put my face back to the wall, but today I am just pleasantly moved by this.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The prevailing conditions

Years ago in the front of my Honours thesis I wrote a quote by Annie Dillard from ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’ about the "great hurrah" of wild animals. It went with the picture of Eucalypt the kangaroo caught on the alert with an overflowing mouthful of grass. I had never read ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’ but stole the quote from another book called ‘Wild Ice’ about Antarctica (I have a dormant love of wild places and wild creatures and a corresponding section in my book collection). Anyway, the other day I came across the recommended book list on the 'Desiring God' website, through meandering google searches, and top of the list under literature was ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’. I didn’t realize that Annie Dillard regarded this work as a "theological treatise" rather than a reflection on nature. It won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction in 1974 and I am now on a mission to obtain this book.

Then, the other day I came across this random quote, curiously also by Annie Dillard:
On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside of the Catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? ... It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping God may wake someday and take offense, or the waking God may draw us out to where we can never return.
I have no real idea of Annie Dillard’s theology – yet - and I don’t know where she gets a sleeping God from (maybe Psalm 44, but see Psalm 121:3) but it does snap one to attention. We had a sermon on Sunday night on 2 Peter 3 about being sufficiently sensible of conditions, and the sort of people we ought to be in response, living holy and godly lives as we wait for Christ’s return.

Annie’s quote reminds me also of Ephesians 1:19-21. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is the power at work in us and for us, to strengthen our faith and help us comprehend the dimensions of God’s love (Ephesians 3:14-19 is one of my all time favourite prayers) ... and if only we did grasp that how differently we would live.