Thursday, June 23, 2022

Love Song

 

Love Song is not only the name of one of the very first Christian rock bands, but it is also the title of their first album AND the first song on that album. With this month being the 50th anniversary of its release, it is high time this album gets the Truth Is track-by-track treatment.

Love Song Album Cover

The group broke the trail for all the Jesus musicians and Contemporary Christian Music artists that would follow. The song set the standard for artistry and evangelism that the group always kept at the center of their focus.

Lend an ear to a love song
Oooh a love song
Let it take you, let it start

What can you hear in a love song?
If you can feel it
Then you’re feelin’ from the heart

All the emotions, true feelings of life
is what music of love is about
If you are listening with peace in your heart
and no doubt

So listen now to a love song
If you can hear it
We will never be apart
(Chuck Girard - Jesse Johnston)

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Truth is...Take this song on its own, and you could be excused for thinking this is just another romantic attempt at getting a song on Top 40 radio. (In fact, my Beloved and I sang it to each other as part of our wedding vows!) But in the context of the whole album and the band's whole career, it's easy to see that Jesus is the love song they want everyone to hear.



Thursday, June 16, 2022

Joy or Cynicism. You Choose.

 

Whether you're basically happy or generally discontented may very well be a matter of choice.


Allow me, please, a pair of paragraphs from The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri J. M. Nouwen:

I don't have to wait until all is well, but I can celebrate every little hint of the Kingdom that is at hand. This is a real discipline. It requires choosing for the light even when there is much darkness to frighten me, choosing for life even when the forces of death are so visible, and choosing for the truth even when I am surrounded with lies. I am tempted to be so impressed by the obvious sadness of the human condition that I no longer claim the joy manifesting itself in many small but very real ways. The reward of choosing joy is joy itself. Living among people with mental disabilities has convinced me of that. There is so much rejection, pain, and woundedness among us, but once you choose to claim the joy hidden in the midst of all suffering, life becomes celebration. Joy never denies the sadness, but transforms it to a fertile soil for more joy.

For me it is amazing to experience daily the radical difference between cynicism and joy. Cynics seek darkness wherever they go. They point always to approaching dangers, impure motives, and hidden schemes. They call trust naive, care romantic, and forgiveness sentimental. They sneer at enthusiasm, ridicule spiritual fervor, and despise charismatic behavior. They consider themselves realists who see reality for what it truly is and who are not deceived by "escapist emotions." But in belittling God's joy, their darkness only calls forth more darkness.

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Truth is...I hope you consider this a call to "choose you this day" what lens to view the world through. As for me and my house, I'm on Jesus' side when he said "I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!"  - John 15:11 (NLT)


Thursday, June 9, 2022

Jesus as the Prodigal Son

 

I'm almost finished reading Henri J. M. Nouwen's book The Return of the Prodigal Son, which is an extended meditation on Rembrandt's painting by that name and the parable that it's based on.


For the following quote to make more sense, it might be good to remind yourself that the original meaning of prodigal wasn't "wandering wastrel," but more along the lines of "extravagantly generous."

I am touching here the mystery that Jesus himself became the prodigal son for our sake. He left the house of his heavenly Father, came to a foreign country, gave away all that he had, and returned through his cross to his Father's home. All of this he did, not as a rebellious son, but as the obedient son, sent out to bring home all the lost children of God. Jesus, who told the story to those who criticized him for associating with sinners, himself lived the long and painful journey that he describes.

When I began to reflect on the parable and Rembrandt's portrayal of it, I never thought of the exhausted young man with the face of a newborn baby as Jesus. But now, after so many hours of intimate contemplation, I feel blessed by this vision. Isn't the broken young man kneeling before his father the "lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world"? Isn't he the innocent one who became sin for us? Isn't he the one who didn't "cling to his equality with God," but "became as human beings are"? Isn't he the sinless Son of God who cried out on the cross: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus is the prodigal son of the prodigal Father who gave away everything the Father had entrusted to him so that I could become like him and return with him to his Father's home.

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Truth is..."See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (1 John 3:1)


Thursday, June 2, 2022

I Get It...We Don't Like Change

 

No matter how reasonable, some changes will apparently never take place.


From Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, by Jared M. Diamond:

This book, like probably every other typed document you have ever read, was typed with a QWERTY keyboard, named for the left-most six letters in its upper row. Unbelievable as it may now sound, that keyboard layout was designed in 1873 as a feat of anti-engineering. It employs a whole series of perverse tricks designed to force typists to type as slowly as possible, such as scatter­ing the commonest letters over all keyboard rows and concentrating them on the left side (where right-handed people have to use their weaker hand). The reason behind all of those seemingly counterproductive features is that the typewriters of 1873 jammed if adjacent keys were struck in quick suc­cession, so that manufacturers had to slow down typists. When improve­ments in typewriters eliminated the problem of jamming, trials in 1932 with an efficiently laid-out keyboard showed that it would let us double our typing speed and reduce our typing effort by 95 percent. But QWERTY keyboards were solidly entrenched by then. The vested interests of hundreds of millions of QWERTY typists, typing teachers, typewriter and computer salespeople, and manufacturers have crushed all moves toward keyboard efficiency for over [140] years.

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Truth is...I admit that this probably relates to part of the reason it is highly unlikely I will ever change my stance on the veracity of Jesus, but I hope that any non-believers who may read these words will recognize the same in themselves.