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Blue Monday: Steve Earle – Some Dreams

February 23, 2009

Steve Earle is probably my favorite songwriter.  Sure, I have a slavish devotion to Dylan, the Beatles, and more recently, Springsteen.  But there’s just something authentic and inspiring about a guy who rose from the ashes of self-destruction.  He was a genius songwriter before his fall (pick up a compilation like Ain’t Ever Satisfied or the brilliant Live from Austin, TX and you’ll know what I mean).  But he emerged as a different kind of rebel.  Steve rails against the powers of self-destruction, defiantly stares down those who write him off, and confronts the powers that be with the truth as he sees it.  You know, prophet stuff.

This song probably doesn’t qualify as according to Hoyle blues, but Steve frequently quotes his mentor Townes Van Zandt by saying “There’s only two kinds of music: the blues and zip-a-dee doo dah.  And this ain’t no zip-a-dee doo dah.”

This video combines three of my favorite things: Steve Earle, baseball, and a bold proclamation of hope in the face of improbable odds.

I’m sure some of my friends around the ‘sphere are afraid I’ve lost my ever-lovin’ mind.  Maybe I have.  I don’t expect to come out of what I started without some bruises and scrapes.  But, to quote brother Martin, “Here I stand.  I can do no other.”  I’m receiving inspiration from rebels and reformers, prophets unafraid to speak truth to power.  From where I stand, somebody’s gotta do something – might as well be me.

For my own benefit, inspiration and edification I will reprint Leonard Sweet’s Magna Charta of Trust by an Out-of-Control Disciple.

I am part of the Church of the Out-of-Control. I once was a control junkie, but now am an Out-of-Control Disciple. I’ve given up my control to God. I trust and obey the Spirit. I’ve jumped off the fence, I’ve stepped over the line, I’ve pulled out all the stops, I’m holding nothing back. There’s no turning back, looking around, slowing down, backing away, letting up, or shutting up. It’s life Against the Odds, Outside the Box, Over the Wall, the game of life played Without Goal Lines other than “Thy Will Be Done…”

I’m done lapdogging for the topdogs, the wonderdogs, the overdogs, or even the underdogs. I’m done playing According to the Rules, whether it’s Robert’s Rules of Order or Miss Manner’s Rules of Etiquette or Martha Stewart’s Rules of Living or Louis Farrakhan’s Rules of America’s Least Wanted or Merril Lynch’s Money-minding/Bottom-lining/Ladder-climbing Rules of America’s Most Wanted.

I am not here to please the dominant culture or to serve any all-show/no-go bureaucracies. I live to please my Lord and Savior. My spiritual taste-buds have graduated from fizz and froth to Fire and Ice. Sometimes I’m called to sharpen the cutting edge, and sometimes to blunt the cutting edge. Don’t give me that old-time religion. Don’t give me that new-time religion. Give me that all-time religion that’s as hard as rock and as soft as snow.

I’ve stopped trying to make life work, and started trying to make life sing. I’m finished with second-hand sensations, third-rate dreams, low-risk high-rise trades and goose-stepping, flag-waving crusades. I no longer live by and for anything but everything God-breathed, Christ-centered, and Spirit-driven.

I can’t be bought by any personalities or perks, positions or prizes. I won’t give up, though I will give in… to openness of mind, humbleness of heart, and generosity of spirit. When short-handed and hard-pressed, I will never again hang in there. I will stand in there, I will run in there, I will pray in there, I will sacrifice in there, I will endure in there– in fact I will do everything in there but hang. My face is upward, my feet are forward, my eyes are focused, my way is cloudy, my knees are worn, my seat uncreased, my heart burdened, my spirit light, my road narrow, my mission wide.

I won’t be seduced by popularity, traduced by criticism, by hypocrisy, or trivialized by mediocrity. I am organized religion’s best friend, and worst nightmare. I won’t back down, slow down, shut down, or let down until I’m preached out, teached out, healed out or hauled out of God’s mission in the world entrusted to members of the Church of the Out-of-Control… to unbind the confined, whether they’re the downtrodden or the upscale, the overlooked or the underrepresented.

My fundamental identity is as a disciple of Jesus–but even more, as a disciple of Jesus who lives in Christ, who doesn’t walk through history simply “in his steps,” but seeks to travel more deeply IN HIS SPIRIT.

Until he comes again or calls me home, you can find me filling not killing time so that one day he will pick me out in the lineup of the ages as one of his own. And then… it will be worth it all… to hear these words, the most precious words I can ever hear:

“Well done, thou good and faithful… Out-of-Control Disciple.”

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