Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Minor Musing: Sunday Morning Coming Down

I've always found the Kris Kristofferson lyrics to "Sunday Morning Coming Down" a poignant expression of pain.  The gravelly voices of either Kris Kristofferson or Johnny Cash lent authenticity to poignancy.
On a Sunday morning sidewalk,
I'm wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
'Cause there's something in a Sunday
That makes a body feel alone.
And there's nothing short a' dying
That's half as lonesome as the sound
Of the sleeping city sidewalk
And Sunday morning coming down.

In the park I saw a daddy
With a laughing little girl that he was swinging.
And I stopped beside a Sunday school
And listened to the songs they were singing.
Then I headed down the street,
And somewhere far away a lonely bell was ringing,
And it echoed through the canyon
Like the disappearing dreams of yesterday.
This morning, this essay reminded me that faith needs to be presented authentically.  The author concludes,
Despite all the affected teenage rebellion, I continued to call myself a Christian into my early twenties. When I finally stopped, it wasn’t because being a believer made me uncool or outdated or freakish. It was because being a Christian no longer meant anything. It was a label to slap on my Facebook page, next to my music preferences. The gospel became just another product someone was trying to sell me, and a paltry one at that because the church isn’t Viacom: it doesn’t have a Department of Brand Strategy and Planning. Staying relevant in late consumer capitalism requires highly sophisticated resources and the willingness to tailor your values to whatever your audience wants. In trying to compete in this market, the church has forfeited the one advantage it had in the game to attract disillusioned youth: authenticity. When it comes to intransigent values, the profit-driven world has zilch to offer. If Christian leaders weren’t so ashamed of those unvarnished values, they might have something more attractive than anything on today’s bleak moral market. In the meantime, they’ve lost one more kid to the competition.
While I was reading the essay, I had the misfortune to hear the following on ESPN.


Hearing that "prayer," reminded me of this passage from Luke 18.
9And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
 10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
 11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
 12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
 13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
I wish that the pastor would have remembered that many watching of television or sitting in the stands may be hunting for jobs or have friends or families hunting for jobs.  It might have been good to remind everyone that II Corinthians 12 says,

 9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
 10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
I think I'll be thankful that I can listen to Johnny and Kris.

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