I had an idea that I thought was great, and now it could get me in trouble. My idea was this: each week, the Apple iTunes music store has a free download of the week. I thought, hey, here’s a chance to listen to what some musicians in our culture are saying, and see if there’s any sign of searching for God. I could download the song, listen to it, and then blog about any reflections I had. I had the idea (honest! cross my heart and hope to die!) BEFORE I went to look and see what the download was for this week.
The song of the week isn’t all that exciting, but down in the bottom right of the front page of the iTunes music store is a box that has 4 free downloads. One is by a group called “Bright Eyes”, and it’s entitled “When the President Talks to God.” Let’s just say, I don’t imagine they will be guests at the White House anytime soon. They reflect strongly the political polarization in our country right now, and the song falls on the anti-Bush side of the fence.
The song is a string of pointed, cynical questions about just what happens when the President talks to God. Do the policies the President makes reflect God’s perspective, if the President talks to God? “I doubt it,” they conclude. Does God even exist beyond some figment of the President’s imagination? “I doubt it,” ends the song.
The President is like any one of us who “goes public” about our faith in Jesus Christ. We open ourselves up to scorn and cynicism, we open ourselves up to accusations like, “If that’s your kind of God, why would I follow him?” It’s scary, very scary to think that our views, beliefs, and actions become the basis by which some accept or reject God. And, amidst the obvious anger of this song, there are some poignant questions for all of us who follow Jesus to consider as we live our lives before others.
When the president talks to God
Is he resolute all down the line?
Is every issue black or white?
Does what God say ever change his mind
When the president talks to God?
“Does what God say ever change his [the President’s] mind?” That speaks loudly to me. Do I give people the impression that I have right and wrong completely figured out? That I don’t even need to talk with God? Does my relationship with God shape and continually re-shape my worldview? Do I demonstrate to others my yieldedness to the mystery of God? Is there room for God to be God in my life, or does God have to fit in around what I already believe?
I’ve written more, but I don’t feel clear to post it. I don’t recommend the song, but if you want to take a listen, you may find as much food for thought as I did.