Saturday, October 13, 2007

On the Fritz...

He wished to right the wrongs, He sang religious songs
He kept the private He, Under a lock and key

Heat keeps rising in an age of passion, Shakes a conscience to the core
Stopgap, hand-slap, take a tongue-lashing, My pour soul can't take any more

On the fritz, on the fritz, There he sits, on the fritz

He kept his ego there, It was a sad affair, On the fritz
The inner circle knows, And so the story goes. On the fritz

Airborne rumours chip away the image, But you knew the stakes were high
First they get you thinking you're a prophet, Now they've got you living a lie

So the crowds grew, and the praise did too, And a mailing list sent you money
So they love Jerry Lewis in France, Does that make him funny?
It's too late for apologies when trust has been betrayed, Now victims of your double life are naming names

He kept his ego there, It was a sad affair, On the fritz
The public's had enough, They've come to call your bluff, On the fritz

Small talk breeds where kingdom's come crashing, Rumour conquers where it will
No one hears you, go ahead and cash in, If you don't die to yourself, well...pride kills

Written by Steve Taylor © 1985 Birdwing Music/C.A. Music (ASCAP)
Taylor says, "If my songwriting output were mostly autobiographical, I would be a very messed-up cowboy indeed, but I suppose a convincing case could be made for many of these songs, intentionally or not, written partly as a way to mark off boundaries that, by the grace of God, I hope never to cross. Having married above my means and been blessed with an altogether lovely and Godly wife for nine years, I confess to having little tolerance or empathy for those involved in marital infidelity. But I'm afraid I know a lot about the ego that can fuel such sins, and I've yet to satisfactorily figure out how to 'die to self' as Jesus taught us, while living and working center stage in a circus of self-promotion. If it's starting to seem like 'On The Fritz' describes the rule rather than the exception for Christians in the public eye, then I would like to thank exceptional men and women from Dr. Billy Graham and his wife Ruth to my own father and mother for their examples in living a lifetime faithful to one God and one spouse."

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great poem. I always have called it "The Fishbowl Syndrome".

Pam

BrotherKen said...

I see two things being addressed here; the sanctity of marriage and self promotion.

The sanctity of marriage has certainly been eroded. Studies have shown that marital breakups are not much different in Christian circles as they are in secular society.

The teachings of humility and example of Christ's ministry are in conflict to self promotion, yet this is common today.

I am not saying these are black and white issues, but certainly the church should be doing a better job of getting the message across. The message needs to be a strict warning, not an absolute rule.

"On the Fritz" is a good description of the situation one can find themselves in when they stray from core teachings of their belief. We can so easily cause more problems than we fix by seeking after that which helps us in this life rather while disregarding the teachings and warnings in the scriptures.

SocietyVs said...

Oddly enough this was written in 1985 but it a very great critique of the problems we see in Christian leadership up to this day - I also think later on Steve goes on to mention this song with regards to Swaggert and Baker - and all those problems that occured in the late 80's and early 90's (which makes this song rather prophetic?).

What I want to address here is a few of Steve's lines:

"First they get you thinking you're a prophet, Now they've got you living a lie" (Steve Taylor)

This inflated sense of self seems to be a huge problem within our faith system. It's almost as if we have to be someone special in order to have a say within our faith - and I think this follows us all - even when we leave the church system. But in essence - we end up 'living a lie' - of being someone important when in fact we are all equals.

"No one hears you, go ahead and cash in, If you don't die to yourself, well...pride kills" (Steve Taylor)

We see a lot of this stuff in church circles even into this day - this greed and power struggle (and this was written in 85). I think Taylor was way ahead of his time with some of the stuff he wrote - and I am not sure how liked he was for calling things out - namely the problems in the church structure (which he seems to talk about in this song - concerning marriage, money, and power).

One could read these lyrics and think he wrote them about men like Haggard - 22 years later - which makes these lyrics have lasting value on some level. I think in our dialogues that's what we are shooting for - developing something of lasting value - and my fall-out with Timothy hits home for me on that level - since it was one way communicato - we developed nothing of lasting value there - which is problematic. Whereas with many other bloggers on here I have that connection - where they help me to re-define my faith - and challenge some of my ideals I held that may not have done anything special for me. And for me I have to ask - where do I find Jesus in all of this - well oddly enough - in open conversation - and for Timothy to be making the claims he does - I am not finding my faith bolstered (but torn apart) - is this what God actually wants?

BrotherKen said...

"I am not finding my faith bolstered (but torn apart) - is this what God actually wants?"

Jason, I would need you to be more specific. If you mean we should be always willing to change our beliefs I would have to disagree. If you don't hold firm beliefs about the core of our faith you will not be able to stand the ever changing viewpoints you encounter. Yet there are some things that we must continue to look for evaluation on as they are not so easy to understand.

SocietyVs said...

"If you don't hold firm beliefs about the core of our faith you will not be able to stand the ever changing viewpoints you encounter" (ken)

I know what you're saying here - but at the same time some of the beliefs I hold are not as in depth as they could be or need to be outright challenged/changed...thus the need for the dialogue.

I notice in the process of learning that the key is being open to change - not making a solid belief set based on theories that need more testing (ex: what does worshipping God truly mean?). To think I have the answers all figured out would be ludicrous on my part - cause I don't. When someone tells me they have this - I get very suspicious of their faith.

BrotherKen said...

I am not saying that we should be standing firm on everything we believe, but without boundaries around a core set of beliefs we never know where we stand. Maybe this works for you, but I have to set stake on something solid and work from there. You are suspicious of that?

dorsey said...

Christ lived, Christ died, Christ rose. He commands us to love God and each other. These things, I cling to. All else... meh.

SocietyVs said...

"Maybe this works for you, but I have to set stake on something solid and work from there. You are suspicious of that?" (ken)

I am not against the idea of building from a foundational set of beliefs - we all do this - we'd be amiss to think otherwise. What I am suggesting - ot hinting about - is about the process of learning more about we are building from or upon.

My example was the idea of 'worship' - the idea is part of me belief system - but what exactly is all a part of 'worship'? This would be what I am trying to get at.

Timothy and I could not find that common ground - we discussed an issue about the religiousness of holidays - and it was all 'one way' and that was that. I ask - as I always do - what's more important there - what I believe about Halloween - or what I do with my belief system on Halloween? I don't mind Halloween - gives me a chance to 'love my neighbors' - 'oh the holiday is based in some old witchcraft' - who cares (that aspect of the holiday speaks nothing to what Halloween is today in my life). But I can see where Tim is coming from on that - a certain held belief means more than what that we do with our lives...(and similar was the falling out between myself and BB).

I guess this is what I am getting at here - not so much having a set of beliefs to work from - just that set belief is also open to change and questioning (doesn;t mean we will change - but the questions don't hurt).