Monday, August 18, 2008

Against All Odds We're Living Separate Lives

This story begins in the 80's, as all good stories should.

Once upon a time, there was a young man who loved the music of a band named
Genesis (thanks to Keith for giving me my first Genesis album, Duke) and esp. liked the song stylings of their 2nd lead singer, Phil Collins. In fact, he liked Phil's songs so much that when he & his roommate (hi, Tim!) converted the empty laundry room/closet in their apartment into a place for his keyboards & computer, he posted the name on the door: "Stu-Stu-Studio." (Yes, it's been 20 years & the high cheese factor still permeates the air of the long-since vacated apartment.)

Then the boy grew up & became a pastor & a married guy & a dad of two young boys who have no idea why their father likes to listen to hook-laden synth-pop with gated drum effects sung by one of the least attractive lead singers in rock'n'roll. (The younger son, to his credit, likes to groove on the beat.)

So, earlier this morning while our hero was working in his office, he slapped (ahem, gently placed) his Phil Collins: Hits CD into the boombox and let the tuneage fly. A number of thoughts flew through his head while he listened:
  • Cyndi Lauper did a much better job with "True Colors" than Phil did.
  • Phil's adventures into faux '60's R&B have not held up well - shudder.
  • Wait a minute - a lot of these songs are musical expressions of the stuff he was talking about last night in his message!

Maybe we better stop & explain: our pastor/husband/dad has been preaching & teaching all summer about soul cravings (thank you, Erwin McManus!) and last night did a summary message on how all of this stuff affects telling people about the love & grace of Jesus Christ.

So when he started hearing lyrics like:

Well I held on to let you go

And if you lost your love for me, well you never let it show

There was no way to compromise

So now we’re living

Separate lives

Ooh, it’s so typical, love leads to isolation

So you build that wall (build that wall)

Yes, you build that wall (build that wall)

And you make it stronger


How can you just walk away from me, when all I can do is watch you leave

Cos we've shared the laughter and the pain, and even shared the tears

You're the only one who really knew me at all

So take a look at me now, 'cos there's just an empty space

And there's nothing left here to remind me, just the memory of your face

Take a look at me now, 'cos there's just an empty space

And you coming back to me is against all odds and that's what I've got to face

And suddenly, songs that once simply reminded our hero of watching MTV in his college apartment or silly movies about dancers defecting while doing tap dance & ballet felt like a lighthouse in the fog - if we don't deal with our real soul craving for intimacy in a healthy way, this is where we end up.

There's more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, "The two become one." Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never "become one." There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for "becoming one" with another. Or didn't you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don't you see that you can't live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body. (1 Corinthians 6:16-20, MSG)

And the reality of all that made him very sad... tinged with the hope that someone else might realize that giving away their body and/or their soul to another person will never buy them the community, the love, the care that they long for.

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