Posts Tagged 'doubt'

The Bells

“Dad, I broke my promise to you,
if you’re wondering where I’ve been.
I thought I knew what I was doing,
But I was wrong again.
I understand, Son.
I understand, Son.
I understand”.

From “The Bells” by Pedro The Lion.

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My good friend, Andrew, from calamateur tweeted about this refreshingly insightful and honest interview with the wonderful David Bazan that appeared recently in Paste magazine. 

It’s rare for an artist to wrestle so publicly with his inconsistencies, doubts and hopes.  It’s rarer still for a journalist to keep pressing the nub of an issue which has inspired their art when the issue at heart is so personal and not one that shifts magazine sales by and large…go read this link.

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No Cover Up

“No Cover up,
Just so much trouble.
No cover up,
I’m bent in double.
No cover up,
Just wreck and rubble of the person I was.

I am broken and I stand accused.
Is there someone who can let me loose?
If you find the answer make careful note.
I could use your pardon and a lot of hope.
I’m getting to that part at the end of the rope.

No cover up,
I feel the burning.
No cover up,
Nor time for turning.
No cover up,
I hope I’m learning some honesty,
some honesty.”

From “No Cover Up” by Duke Special.

The past few weeks have been draining in ways.  I’ve willingly journeyed with three sets of friends and family through some fairly major events and life decisions.  Part of my thoughts and mind has almost constantly been with them – wondering, thinking, yearning, praying…

It’s been a rollercoaster and the situations are all still unresolved.  The seeming outcome in some of them is different from what those involved might have hoped for.

The whole thing has given me a fresh perspective on family and vulnerability.  People who are not my biological family have become part of a larger extended family through friendship, honesty and the support we offer eachother. Other actual family relationships seem to have been restored to a better state of health because things have been said that needed to be said – hard things during tearful conversations.  Trite advice, passive aggression or defensive dis-interest has been replaced with honesty.  Superficiality has been removed and replaced with something real.  There has been a sharing of angst, pain, doubt and uncertainty. 

Through it all there has been a turning to the Bible and a carrying of one another in prayer.  Verses I have read hundreds of time have jumped out in different ways with the emphasis on different words or nuances.  Other passages have been illuminated and one knocked the wind out of me like a tonne of bricks and has left me somewhat weak kneed ever since.

Actually I think this is a small part of what Eucharist is about – the gift of God – to be broken and poured out.

It has been my experience that in the times when I’ve needed God most, when all of the other props are gone, that I have really let myself be found by Him.  Those are life defining moments in my story.  Maybe through sharing in one another’s stories, each day can have significance?  2Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”. Galatians Ch 6: vs 2.  Or as Romans Chapter 12 declares, 9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited”

The song from which this post derives its title has been in my head on constant repeat these past few days.  I’ve provided a link to its beautiful delivery on Later With Jools Holland below: 

Suffer Little Children

“Oh Manchester, so much to answer for”

from “Suffer Little Children” by The Smiths

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When asked to associate music with Manchester, I suspect most people will make a connection in their minds with the “Madchester” scene of the late 80’s and early 90’s and the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, et all.  Alternatively, they will think of Oasis. 

Mancurian bands on my iPod?  Joy Division, New Order, Badly Drawn Boy and The Smiths amongst others. 

I’ve only been to Manchester a handful of times.  The most significant trip was on 11th August 2001.  My sister had got two tickets to see U2 on the Elevation Tour.  I’d idolised U2 in my younger years and, had they been available, probably would have worn a wristband with W.W.B.D (What Would Bono Do?) on it. 

I’d largely lost interest after “Rattle and Hum”‘s release in 1988 and had only really begun to listen to U2 again when “All You Can’t Leave Behind” was released in 2000.  I hadn’t seen them play live since the Joshua Tree tour in ’87 and was looking forward to the gig, but wasn’t over excited.

When we got to the Manchester Evening News Arena we were ushered down to a standing area right in front of the love heart shaped walkway that protruded from the stage.  We were merely a few feet away from one of the biggest groups in the world. 

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It was amazing to see them in an indoor venue and, after all the razzmatazz of the “Zoo TV” and “Pop Mart” tours, this was a group playing on the strength of their songs and performance.  It was like a stripped back U2 show, where Bono was trying to connect with the crowd every bit as much as he had done back in the early 1980s.

That gig was a revelation.  I realised that whilst I had shunned U2 in favour of more alternative or edgy bands, their back catalogue had been so much a part of the soundtrack of my life.  It dawned on me that their music had almost been omnipresent in my teenage years and into my twenties.  I recognised afresh how much faith, doubt and social justice permeated their lyrics.  I appreciated how honestly Bono often wrote and wrestled almost like the writers of the Psalms.  That resonated with me so much more than the trite cliches and bad theology we often sing in church.  That evening, I saw anew that Bono had often been the voice of one calling into my wilderness in the desert years where I had been attending church, but not walking as close to God as I could or should have been. 

It caused me to look above and beyond the stage and to recognise that there was a still small voice within the noise.  A voice that had guided me through the years and spoken to me and shaped me in the most unexpected ways.  If the church will not speak up, it seemed that God would speak through the rockstars.

As the band wrapped up “Walk On” they went into a refrain of just singing “Hallelujah” over and over again.  To hear 19,000 people singing along was a truely spiritual experience.  It really felt like worship – not of U2 – but, for me, a way of really saying “thank you” to a God who had watched over me when I was short of peers in those teenage years where you try to square confusion, hormones and God. 

 


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"The priest in the booth had a photographic memory for all he had heard. He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called "The State That I'm In"". From "The State I Am In" by Belle and Sebastian
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