Monday, February 23, 2009

Modern Day Theologians: Death Cab For Cutie

Back in 1999 or 2000 (I can't remember the exact time) Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church, came to Northwestern College (IA) to speak at chapel. My resident director, Michael Wooten, was the one who went and picked him up from the airport which meant that those interested from our dorm would have the opportunity to have a conversation with Mark in our RD's apartment. While theologically I am rather different from Mark Driscoll, one thing that he said continues to stick out in my mind. Driscoll made the claim that today's theologians are in places we would expect he said they were the directors of movies, the musicians, etc. (specifically he mentioned Quentin Tarantino, etc.) It really made me think about how much the Church can miss when it creates its own sub-culture in order to protect it from the "evils of the secular world."

Now I know as a Methodist this isn't as big of an issue as it was in my world of Evangelicalism growing up, but I thought it might be fun to write from time to time about those songs or movies that make me really realize that God moves freely inside and outside the church.

Today, I give you the first installment: Death Cab For Cutie

One song of theirs in particular touched me deeply and got me reflecting. The following are the lyrics to “I Will Possess Your Heart” from their album Narrow Stairs:

How I wish you could see the potential
The potential of you and me
It’s like a book elegantly bound
But in a language that you can’t read just yet

You gotta spend some time, love
You gotta spend some time with me
And I know that you’ll find love
I will possess your heart

You gotta spend…

There are days when outside your window
I see my reflection as I slowly pass
And I long for this mirrored perspective
When we’ll be lovers, lovers at last

You gotta spend…

You gotta spend…

I will possess your heart
I will possess your heart

You reject my advances and desperate pleas
I won’t let you let me down so easily
So easily

You gotta spend…

You gotta spend…

I will possess your heart
I will possess your heart

As I listened to the song I couldn't help but imagine it as a song written by God and sung out to humanity. Perhaps it is because I can identify as the one who is being sung to, but really it seems so fitting. How many of us fail to see the potential of our lives because we fail to see what our lives could be if they were rooted in relationship with God? I can imagine God watching us and seeing God's own reflection in us as God's creation and just longing for us to fully display that image. How many of us have rejected God's advances towards us and fail to hear God's pleas?

I can imagine God calling out to us and saying "I won't let you let me down so easily" and calling for us to spend more time with God. That is what the song is about for me: Spending time with God. It plays out that meta-narrative of God pursuing humanity. God seeing humanity for its limitless potential and never giving up and the counter story of humanity continually ignoring God or failing to understand what life could be if it were possessed by God because we fail to spend time with God.

Let's think about that....

There are 168 hours in a week. If we factor out time spent sleeping (saying we should get around 8 hours of sleep a night) that brings us down to 112 hours of time awake available. Now if we factor out time spent working (in my case that time is often consumed by time spent with God or in service to God) 40-60 hours (working + traveling time, etc.) That leaves us with at least 52 hours of open time and subtracting time eating (1.5 hrs/day) that leaves us with 41.5 hours free total.

So how much of that 41.5 hours do we spend with God? How many of those hours do we spend in communion with fictional characters on T.V. (as a T.V. addict trying to winnow this down I have to admit I spend 20-30 hours watching T.V.....of course I only sleep about 5 hours a day too)? How much time do we spend doing something other than spending it with God? I can only imagine God singing this song out to us just pleading for us to spend more time with God knowing that if we did God would begin to transform our heart and take possession of it.

I wrote about this song in my pastoral letter for our church newsletter and challenged the people of the church to keep the question: How much time do you spend with God? in their heart over this Lenten season and I challenge anyone who happens upon this post to do the same.

I would love to hear anyone else's thoughts on the song, Death Cab For Cutie, or anything else that may be stirred up by this post.

God Bless.

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