My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

17 May 2005

Music - Ben Harper

I listen to Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals quite a bit lately. Their music is simply excellent; Harper's known best for his slide playing on the Weissenborn guitar (a hollow-neck version of a dobro/lap steel), but he's a great regular guitar player, too - and quite a collector of really cool guitars. The music varies from slow folk to blues to some not-so-heavy rock. The band always seems to play the right notes at the right times.

It's also fascinating to listen to the lyrics. If you've ever heard about the "social gospel" idea, you will find it embodied in Harper's songs. Quite often the lyrics veer toward Christianity and religion; in fact, they have done some collaborations now with the Blind Boys of Alabama, a famous black-gospel group.

If the songs portray Harper's religion correctly, we may assume he does hold to the social gospel more than to the gospel of atonement through Christ. And, although parts of the songs would be unpalatable to the "compassionate conservative", much of what he sings about should prick the conscience of many churchgoers.

A great gospel song:

I Want to Be Ready (Ben Harper)

how i am strong
is to know what makes me weak
how i am found
is to know just whom i seek
the gift of a blessing
the burden of a sin
turn to him

i want to be ready
ready to put on
my long white robe

nailed across
from hand to hand
for the sin
of woman and man
all upon his earth
is all within his plan
and i know this shall be
my journey home

i want to be ready
ready to put on
my long white robe

covet no silver
covet no gold
reach your empty
hands for him to hold
up in his kingdom
glory shall be proclaimed
sing the song
and praise his name


An interesting song that, depending on what's behind it, could be social gospel or Biblical Christianity:

Excuse Me, Mr. (Harper/Plunier)

excuse me mr.
do you have the time
or are you so important
that it stands still for you

excuse me mr.
lend me your ear
or are you not only blind
but do you not hear

excuse me mr.
isn't that your oil in the sea
and the pollution in the air mr.
whose could that be

excuse me mr.
but i'm a mister too
and you're givin' mr. a bad name
mr. like you

so i'm taking the mr.
from out in front of your name
cause it's a mr. like you
that puts the rest of us to shame
it's a mr. like you
that puts the rest of us to shame

and i've seen enough to know
that i've seen too much

excuse me mr.
can't you see the children dying
you say that you can't help them
mr. you're not even trying

excuse me mr.
take a look around
mr. just look up
and you will see it's comin' down

excuse me mr.
but i'm a mister too
and you're givin' mr. a bad name
mr. like you

so i'm taking the mr.
from out in front of your name
cause it's a mr. like you
that puts the rest of us to shame
it's a mr. like you
that puts the rest of us to shame

and i've seen enough to know
that i've seen too much

so mr. when you're rattling
on heaven's gate
let me tell you mr.
by then it is too late

cause mr. when you get there
they don't ask how much you saved
all they'll want to know, mr.
is what you gave

excuse me mr.
but i'm a mister too
and you're givin' mr. a bad name
mr. like you

so i'm taking the mr.
from out in front of your name
cause it's a mr. like you
that puts the rest of us to shame
it's a mr. like you
that puts the rest of us to shame

2 comments:

Kurt said...

Arminian relativism? :)

Burn One Down
(Ben Harper)

let us burn one
from end to end
and pass it over
to me my friend
burn it long, we'll burn it slow
to light me up before i go

if you don't like my fire
then don't come around
cause i'm gonna burn one down
yes i'm gonna burn one down

my choice is what i choose to do
and if i'm causing no harm
it shouldn't bother you
your choice is who you choose to be
and if your causin' no harm
then you're alright with me


if you don't like my fire

Jared said...

Sure. Probably less Arminian and just plain old relativism, tolerance-dogma.