you ever woken up with a song floating through the fog in your mind? Sometimes
I think that’s just an echo of a dream or a memory, particularly if it’s a song
I’ve heard or sung recently.
about a song from your ancient history in your mind as you woke? I actually pay
more attention to these; there’s less chance that it’s just my subconscious
like to share one of these with you. You may find the process interesting, but
I believe the lesson might apply to several of us.
I woke up with a song from my youth playing in my mind, and trust me, that’s
from a long time ago. The song had
nothing to do with the dream as far as I could tell, and I could only remember
snippets of it – really only one phrase.
that phrase kept replaying in my mind: that caught my attention. And as it
replayed, my memory of the lyrics grew. This also suggested to me that this
might be from God. So I spoke with Father about it, acknowledging that I
thought he might be up to something; I asked for insight, and I paid attention
as the memory of the song replayed and expanded in my mind.
themes began to stand out in the lyrics that kept playing in my memory. One of
them definitely seemed to have the fragrance of my Father about it, so I
meditated on that one. That is, I thought about it; I let it roll around in my
mind to see what might come from it.
my mind began to warm up (you know, I really appreciate the fact that God
invented coffee!), I fired up Google and looked into it a bit more. And I
realized that even after my memory had been playing it back for an hour or two,
I had remembered only one verse out of five; the rest hadn’t come back to me,
though those verses had actually been more important to me when the song was new.
the song: https://youtu.be/MYPJOCxSUFc
It’s called The Boxer
, by Simon &
Garfunkel. It was the last verse alone that spoke to me through the morning
clearing stands a boxer
fighter by his trade
carries the reminders
glove that laid him down
him till he cried out
anger and his shame
leaving, I am leaving”
fighter still remains*
verse had literally never made sense to me, but suddenly, there was a message
in it for me.
speaks to me, but I’d like to share it with you, because I suspect it might
speak to other, too, and maybe that includes you.
confess: I’m a man of fairly strong conviction. I stand up for those
convictions, and it’s not inappropriate to say that I fight to maintain them.
If I believe something to be true, I’ll fight to defend it.
gently pointed out that I, too, carry reminders of those fights, reminders, I
suppose, every glove that laid me down or cut me till I cried out. I’ve paid a price
to defend my convictions. Like the fighter in the song, the price has been paid
in several areas of my life: in my memories, in my body carrying the stress, in
the solitude that comes from having lost relationships.
he drew my attention to the fighter’s vow, and that I’ve made vows like that as
well: “I am leaving, I am leaving” but I don’t leave. I remain. I still defend
my beliefs, my convictions, and I’m still laid down and cut up sometimes. I’m
still wounded from the fights that I am convinced are right and good. And they
still bring the fruits of “anger and shame” into my life, just like they did in
someone say “You shall know them by their fruit”? Hmmm....)
is something that’s come partly from my character (I believe that standing up
for “what is true” is important), partly from my youth (I was taught that truth
is important and should be stood up for).
fight may have been fanned into the biggest flame from my years in Bible-believing
churches. “This is what I believe to be true, so I must defend it at all
costs.” We teach that, we believe that, in many evangelical churches, and while
we defend different truths in denominational churches, we still defend them
about how Christians respond when a movie comes that we don’t like out
(remember Russell Crowe’s Noah?). Consider how Christians
respond to “The Homosexual Agenda” or to political candidates, or to the
taught to fight. And we do fight. Vigorously.
let’s be honest. We don’t win these fights. Hollywood’s marketing now counts on “Christian
outrage” as a publicity tool for their controversial movies, and they’re always
right. Christians have not affected “The Homosexual Agenda” that we’ve stood
against, abortion is still a very big business, and we’ve never once had an
Evangelical believer in the Whitehouse, despite our fights on those issues.
world knows: Christians are fighters. They don’t win, but they sure will fight.
Behold how much they fight.
hasn’t been talking to me at this time about the issues in themselves. He’s
only been using them to illustrate the fight, to illustrate the blows and the
cuts that so many of us have taken in the fights.
he drew my attention to the refrain:
my. It’s right there. I’ve sung this haunting refrain with Paul Simon and Art
Garfunkel, and I never saw it: there’s a lie here, and the refrain rubs my nose
in it. That’s a lie, lie lie!
perhaps some room for discussing what the lie is. The song itself identifies
anger and his shame
leaving, I am leaving”
fighter still remains.”*
I’ve done that. I’ve declared that I’m quitting this fight. But I haven’t
really done it. I’ve lied. I’ve gotten tired of being beaten up, tired of the
anger, tired of the shame, and I’ve tried to quit the fight. And I’ve failed.
Father comforted me in this, I realized that for a fighter, the fight is a
choice. It’s an option, but only one of several options. I don’t actually need to fight.
held me and murmured his love for me, I realized that these are not fights that
have helped me, or have helped the Kingdom, not even a little bit.
occasionally have “won” a fight, but what was the result? Maybe I could say I
won, that I defeated someone who believed differently. So what? Now they’ve
been defeated, now they’re wounded, too. And now they resent me, and worse they
resent my message, and they resent the truth that I fought for.
know, I don’t think anybody’s ever been bullied into receiving the truth, have
they? Oh, sure, we’ve bullied people into acting
like they know the truth, but that’s just equipping them for hypocrisy. That’s
not a win, not really, not for anybody.
myself, I’m going to reflect on this for a while. I’m wondering if I might
actually defend my beliefs better by walking them out than I would by fighting
for them. I don’t know. I’ll think about it.
not need to be a fighter, alone in the clearing. I may not need to be laid
down, cut open. I may not need to subject myself to the anger and shame.
Kingdom is not about any of this, is it?