Land of My Sojourn

A Rich Mullins song as timely today as it was when it came out back in 1993.

And the coal trucks come a-runnin’
With their bellies full of coal
And their big wheels a-hummin’
Down this road that lies open like the soul of a woman
Who hid the spies who were lookin’
For the land of the milk and the honey
And this road she is a woman
She was made from a rib
Cut from the sides of these mountains
Oh these great sleeping Adams
Who are lonely even here in paradise
Lonely for somebody to kiss them
And I’ll sing my song and I’ll sing my song
In the land of my sojourn

And the lady in the harbor
She still holds her torch out
To those huddled masses who are
Yearning for a freedom that still eludes them
The immigrant’s children see their brightest dreams shattered
Here on the New Jersey shoreline in the
Greed and the glitter of those high-tech casinos
But some mendicants wander off into a cathedral
And they stoop in the silence
And there their prayers are still whispered
And I’ll sing their song, and I’ll sing their song
In the land of my sojourn

Nobody tells you when you get born here
How much you’ll come to love it
And how you’ll never belong here
So I call you my country
And I’ll be lonely for my home
And I wish that I could take you there with me

And down the brown brick spine of some dirty blind alley
All those drain pipes are drippin’ out the last Sons Of Thunder
While off in the distance the smoke stacks
Were belching back this city’s best answer

And the countryside was pocked
With all of those mail pouch posters
Thrown up on the rotting sideboards of
These rundown stables like the one that Christ was born in
When the old world started dying
And the new world started coming on
And I’ll sing His song, and I’ll sing His song
In the land of my sojourn

A healthier approach to a mid-life crisis…

Andrew Osenga started a new podcast earlier this year called The Pivot. Episode 3 is his discussion with musician, producer, and composer Don Chaffer. Toward the end of the interview, Don talks about how he’s started writing for musical theater, and how it provides an outlet that he needs as a 40-ish father and husband.

…when you have kids in particular you just give and give and give and give. And one day you wake up and you’re like ‘what do I get, what’s my part in this thing? Because I used to do a lot of stuff I liked… sometimes I would go out to eat or watch a movie! That was crazy!’.

I told a monk friend of mine one time, he said ‘tell me everything’. And I said ‘well I feel like between family and work I’ve got nothing left.’ And he said “yeah! and a hundred years ago you’d be dead by now, too.” So, there’s just something about this phase of life, it’s just – he’s like, ‘people died at that point just because they were too pooped to keep living’.

And I feel like – so that’s what a mid-life crisis is. You hit these limitations and you think ‘I’d rather have, you know, a Corvette and a hot blonde with a boob job. And so you do these crazy stupid things, blow up your whole life. And it’s like — one of the jokes I’ve made is that my mid-life crisis was music theater instead of hookers and blow. But it’s true.
I think that it became – one of the things I realized is that you find a healthy outlet to give yourself some space, to do some things you enjoy. Because that’s important. You can’t live on only sacrifice. It ends up being a negation.

While love and sacrificial love are endless, hypothetically, they aren’t for a human, right? They’re only endless because they come from somewhere else. There’s some point you kinda run yourself out and you realize ‘I don’t have infinite capacity here to be a loving husband and father. I’ve gotta do something for myself.’

The other piece of it for a marriage is to try to invite each other into it together. Not necessarily doing the same things, because usually that isn’t going to help – you need space from each other – but invite each other into that headspace of like, ‘do some things for yourself. I’ll do some things for myself. We’ll get a babysitter if we can afford it. Or swap. I’ll take the kids tonight, you take them on Wednesday.’

I resonate with that more than I’d like to admit many days. (I bet my wife does, too.)

Finished reading, part the next

A rundown of recent book completions:

A People’s History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story by Diana Butler Bass

Bass is clearly giving a nod to Zinn’s People’s History of the United States with her title and approach. It’s not a bad effort, but nothing really earth-shattering, either.

The Art of Curating Worship: Reshaping the Role of Worship Leader by Mark Pierson

Pierson is an Australian who was writing from a very strong emergent perspective. While the worship experiences he describes are a long way from what would work in my midwestern US church, his perspective on the intent of and attitude toward leading worship was right on and gave me a lot to think about.

Khrushchev: The Man and His Era by William Taubman

A very readable biography of the Soviet leader. Still hard to get a grasp on how someone can be so human and yet so depraved.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

This was the first I’ve read of Butler. Won’t be the last. A wonderful voice in dystopian fiction.

Abraham Joshua Heschel: Prophetic Witness by Edward Kaplan

The first of two volumes of biography of a fascinating Jewish thinker from the early 20th century. Now I’ve gotta get volume two.

The Switch by Joseph Finder

I was wanting mindless entertainment, and this book overachieved at that. By which I mean it was even more mindless and boring than I was hoping for. Meh.